Laminate flooring wasn’t considered a higher-end option until recently. What changed, you ask? The durable top sheet is coated with a protective sealant, and the look is luxurious at a fraction of the cost. Here we’ll outline the need-to-know steps to install your laminate flooring.
Step 1: Open materials boxes and let the planks breathe in your intended installation room. The planks should acclimate for at least 48 hours before installing because laminate boards, just like hardwood, will expand or contract depending on temperature and humidity changes.
Step 2: Remove baseboards or shoe moulding to prepare your installation area.
Step 3: Plan any necessary cuts ahead of time. Planks shouldn’t be less than two inches wide.
Step 4: Ensure your underlying surface is completely flat and smooth. Self-levelling compounds are not reliable, and you’ll need to manually check with a level to ensure no dips or bumps in the floor.
Step 5: Install underlayment to hold the laminate flooring in place. This will typically be rubber or foam and prevents shifting of boards or sounds when the floor is walked on.
Step 6: If you have a plywood subfloor, screw it firmly to the joists to prevent creaking.
Step 7: The tongue (protruding edge) should face the wall away from you and groove side of the board faces installer. Trim off that tongue edge on the first, wall-facing piece,so the board fits snugly with the wall.
Step 8: As you place the planks side by side, ensure there are adequate gaps left for expansion. The manufacturer will give you a precise recommendation.
Step 9: Carefully add planks and snap them together as you go.
Step 10: When you reach a wall-ending, cut the last piece to fit precisely. Save the cut portion for the row that comes next to maximize the use of all materials.
Step 11: Check for debris that can stick to sides or fall between planks. You’ll need to watch for this continually.
Step 12: When finished the first and second row, a plank can be used as a hammering layer. You use a tapping block in front of it to avoid damaging the extra material.
Step 13: Add the additional planks row by row. Use the tapping block to ensure the tongue and groove connect firmly.
Step 14: Once your floor is covered entirely with your laminate flooring planks, cut door casings where the planks meet them. You can use a jigsaw but be careful to use accurate measurements and cuts so your edge will still click perfectly to adjoining planks.
Step 15: Now you can put baseboards and moulding back in place. Ensure that moulding is attached to the baseboard (wall) not the floorboards. Sweep up and enjoy your new floor.