tips and techniques for installing laminate
Install laminate flooring yourself can
be very rewarding once viewing the completed floor.
Installing the laminate flooring planks is the main
part of the job which everyone immediately see's, but
it is all the smaller detailed items that turn a good
floor into a great floor.
Find a room that has been installed with laminate flooring
and cast your eye around the floor. For a professional
looking job you need to see attention to detail :
Are the trims around the edges neatly installed,
and are the joints nice and tight ?
Is there a correct transition bar in the doorway
Is the laminate flooring neatly cut around any pipes
to radiators, leaving the correct expansion gap, and
then covered with a pipe collar ?
Installing laminate flooring correctly
is of the utmost importance if you wish to have a long
lasting floor, and a warranty that is valid. Always
follow the manufacturer's instructions for
installing laminate flooring that you have brought.
Failure to do so could invalidate any warranty.
Any instructions that you read here are to compliment
the manufacturer's instructions which take precedence
over instructions here. Have a read through our laminate
flooring warranties section for more details.
One of the most important things when installing laminate
flooring is to have the correct tools for the job. Trying
to complete a job that will be seen by countless people
without the correct tools will lead to disaster.
Tools required for installing laminate flooring
Craft knife or "Stanley" knife
Handsaw or fine toothed jigsaw/power saw
Drill and selection of drill bits for cutting around
heating pipes, etc.
Manufacturer's installation kit, including: hammer
block, spacers, and pull bar
Mitre block for cutting trims etc.
Sealant gun for applying adhesive's or sealant to
Screwdrivers, masonry drill bits, for fixing down
preparation is the key
All laminate flooring needs to
acclimatize in the area where it is going to be
installed for at least 48 hours, otherwise it will
expand or contract after installation and the floor
will be a mess. Place the unopened packs of laminate
flooring into the middle of the room and leave for
a minimum of 2 days.
The base floor must be clean
and flat before installing laminate flooring on
it. Remove any previous floor coverings and make
good any dips or bumps in a way that is applicable
to the type of base floor that is present.
If installing laminate flooring
over a concrete floor then it is extremely important
that the concrete is sufficiently dry, having a
moisture content less than 2.5% (CM method). If
underfloor heating is involved then the moisture
content should not exceed 1.5% (CM method).
installing laminate flooring planks
When installing laminate flooring over a concrete
floor always use a vapour barrier as recommended
by the manufacturer. Leave the recommended overlap
at any joints. A vapour barrier is not required
when installing laminate flooring on top of a wooden
The minimum specification for underlay is the
standard foam underlay. When joints are required,
edges should be butted together and not overlapped.
It does not matter which way the underlay is laid,
either the same way as the planks or at right angles
to them. Have a look at more laminate
When installing laminate flooring it is better
to lay the planks in the direction the light falls
which would be at right angles to the window. This
makes the joints less visible. However in some situations
it is better to lay the planks in the same direction
as the longest wall, in the end it comes down to
The correct way of installing laminate flooring
is to lay the tongue of the board you are holding,
into the groove of the board that has already been
installed on the floor.
Make sure the first two rows of planks are straight.
Place spacers between the planks and the wall to
give the required expansion gap. This will also
even out any discrepancies in the wall, so in some
places the gap may be larger than what is required
for the expansion gap. This will be covered by the
trim or skirting later.
When cutting the laminate flooring planks, cut
the plank "face up" if using a hand saw
or circular saw. If you are using a jigsaw with
a standard blade then cut the laminate flooring
planks with the face downwards. This will avoid
chipping of the laminate surface.
installing the detail items
Install the correct transition
bar in doorways or where the flooring type changes,
i.e. open plan rooms. The type of bar depends on
what sort of floor covering the laminate flooring
is butting up to; carpet, tile, laminate flooring,
real wood flooring, etc. Fix the bar according to
the manufacturer's instructions and when installing
the laminate flooring, remember to leave the correct
expansion gap against the transition bar. Have a
look at different laminate
flooring transition bars.
When cutting around pipes mark
the center of the hole required, and then drill
a hole the size of the pipe plus the width of the
expansion gap required for each side of the pipe.
Mark a line going from one side of the hole to the
edge of the board at a slight angle outwards, and
repeat for the other side of the hole. Using a fine
toothed hand saw cut along the two lines and remove
the piece of laminate flooring but don't throw it
away. Start installing laminate flooring plank into
its position in the room, around the pipe. Take
the small piece of laminate flooring that was cut
out, and place a small amount of adhesive on the
two edges that where just cut, taking care not to
get any adhesive on the bottom of the small piece.
Carefully position into place around the other side
of the pipe and wipe of any excess adhesive. Then
place a pipe collar
of the same colour as the laminate flooring around
the pipe and slide down onto the laminate flooring
to cover the expansion gap.
Remove all of the spacer blocks
from the laminate flooring and start installing
the trim using either adhesive or small pins. Only
fix the edge that is against the wall and not the
edge that is against the laminate flooring. The
flooring needs to expand and contract through changes
in the temperature and humidity levels. If the trim
is stuck to both wall and floor, this will cause
the flooring to buckle and "open-up".
Pay attention to the corner
joints and make sure they are nice and tight.
This will make the finished job a more professional
installation. This also applies to straight
joints where two lengths of trim meet "end
If using skirting base
board, install the base board clips as per
the manufacturer's instructions. Then just
push the skirting onto the clips. Again, pay
attention to any corner joints or straight
If there are any area's
where trim or skirting boards cannot be installed,
the expansion gap needs to be filled with
a flexible sealant.
Following these points when installing laminate
flooring, and taking your time to get things right,
should produce a professional looking installation.
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