Installing Laminate Flooring - A guide
Laminate Flooring Installation tips
Installing laminate flooring can be easy or slightly challenging depending on the individual's previous DIY experience. The key is to plan, prepare and be patient. Laminate flooring is typically installed on top of the existing surface without being glued completely down. The floor is thus said to be "floating."
Most people opt to sound proof the new surface by placing down a layer of insulator (cork/foam) along the sub-floor. It is now possible to find laminate floor collections that are already insulated.
Laminate flooring installation can follow one of the following routes:
* Standard planks which need to be stuck together - using any glue or other specified adhesive.
* Pre-glued panels that just need a quick run-over with some water to trigger the glue before they are maneuvered into position.
* Non-glued planks that rely on carefully crafted joints to secure them to each other.
Which ever option you decide to go for the panels / planks will need to be stored in the room that is to be re-worked for up to 48 hours so they can acclimatize. This will reduce any chance of the laminate contracting or expanding. Remember to keep them away from heating units.
The existing surface needs to be thoroughly cleaned and leveled out. It is also sometimes a good idea to temporarily remove any skirting boards to ensure the snuggest fit. Depending on the laminate thickness you also might find that doors will stick due to the increased height of the surface. Gentle sanding of the bottom of the door will sort this out.
Ready, Set, Go!
Generally the first three rows are said to be the most difficult to install since they have no weight behind them to keep them down. Make sure to wipe the joint areas with a damp rag to remove dust and any little bits that could hinder the pieces fitting snuggly together.
When you are tapping the pieces into place - be gentle, as too much force can damage the joints and hinder the installation. Keep your eye on the seam (gap between the two pieces) and stop tapping as soon as it closes. And whatever you do keep the "tongue" towards you and do not tap on the "groove."
This next point is important and regards your warranty. The seams of the laminate flooring need to overlap by between 16 to 18 inches - failure to do this will discredit some warranties and you will not be able to put in a claim.
First row: Best thing to do is to start from the left and slip the small side of an alternate plank with the first one - this connects the two. Continue doing this until you are about to approach the wall. You will then need to put a spacer between the wall and the panel. From here you will be able to "measure to fit" the last board that will complete the row. To get that last board in you will probably have use what is known as a pull bar. Put the head / tongue of the bar amid the wall and panel and then very gently tap the top to literally "pull" the piece in.
When installing laminate flooring with glue - remember a little goes a long way. All you need is a bead along the joining areas. An added benefit of this is that it waterproofs the seams. You know when you have used enough if a little oozes out when the pieces come together. Wipe this away with a damp rag.