Laminate flooring is becoming increasingly popular, this is due to its durable nature, it’s also an economical option when it comes to new flooring and is also known for being easy to install.
Take a look at our handy guide on how to install laminate flooring
- Should you have any flooring down before your new laminate installation, it’s important to remove this. For most people this tends to be carpet, so it’s important to pull it up. Carpet on padding is the most common type and is usually held down by perimeter tack strips, so it’s important to gently pull the carpet up at the doorway and up and away from the wall. Once the carpet starts to come off the tack strips will be easy to remove.
- If you’re removing an original carpet, then once the tack strips have become loose, they’ll be easy to remove with either a small pry bar or a hammer. If you’re dealing with concrete slabs, then start by removing wood portions of the tack strips so you can remove the hardened nails without chipping the concrete too much.
- You can either keep your original baseboards or completely replace them, if you wish to install new ones then to remove the old ones you will need to score the joint between them and the wall and trim with a utility knife. Next pull the baseboard away from the wall with a metal putty knife to prevent damaging the wall surface, or tearing the drywall paper, then use a pray bar anywhere the baseboard is nailed.
- Because a floating floor is not attached to a sub floor, it’s important to make sure that your sub floor is perfectly level, then scrape up any remnant flue or paint with a metal putty knife.
- Next you’ll need to check for levelness, use a 6″ level to check for variations in the sub floor, you can consult the manufacturer’s specifications for the maximum variation allowed. Usually the accepted numbers are in the 1/4″ to 3/16″ range over 10″. In some cases using a string line will be easier than using a shorter level or for odd shaped rooms. Installing a floating floor over a poor sub floor can lead to noise and product failures. The one complaint of floating floors is that they tend to feel ‘spongy’ in areas which is likely to be caused by underlying variations. If your sub floor isn’t as even as you’d like then level it out by sanding the high spots or using a levelling compound.
- Next, allow the flooring to acclimatise to the room where it’s being installed, follow the manufacturers directions but usually floating floors are more stable than wood, so the acceptable time frame should be 2-4 days.
- Before installing your new laminate flooring, check the width of the room and install the planks parallel to the main view of the room, this will also make the room appear larger, so it’s also important to check the perpendicular to this angle. Next measure the finished face of one plank, divide the room width by the plan width, this will not only tell you the number of rows but also the last row cut width. Try to keep minimum cut pieces to 2″ to 3″ in width.
- Next, it’s important to consider the door frames, you can undercut door frames and any area where mouldings can’t be used. Flip over a spare piece of flooring on two pieces of underpayment and use a saw to remove the lower portions of the door frames.
- Install the underlay according to the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure that you tape the seams.
- Lay out the first row and check to see how long the last piece will be, it should be around 12″ on the first row. Trim the first piece in the row if needed to make the last piece longer, floating floors expand and contract so use a spare piece of flooring vertically against the wall to create a gap.
- To make a cut, turn the last board over and use a spare marker to show it as even, then mark on which side is the drop so you don’t cut on the drop side of the line. Use a small circular jigsaw to make the cross cut on the drop side of the line, a speed square may also help you to cut it straighter than just free hand. If the dropped piece is large enough, save it for the next row.
- When you have all of the pieces for the first row, assemble them by rocking the end and the groove joints together, make sure to use firm pressure when pushing them together and avoid off angle conditions because these will weaken the joint and alignment issues on the next row.
- When you get to a doorway, make sure that you measure the length of the board that needs to go underneath the trim, you can use a pencil to make the top of the board in the area of the cut. Next, notch the board using a table saw or jigsaw, if the doorway is close to your stater row then join the boards out from under the trim. Next slide the assembly back under the door.
- When joining the next full piece make sure the long edge is tight but the short edge isn’t overlapping.
- Rock the board down whilst tapping a rubber mallet against a spare piece of flooring, depending on the thickness of the flooring, you may need to repeat this along the length of the board.
- Close the gap at the small edge by tapping the opposite end again with a spare piece of flooring to prevent damaging the end and groove edge.
- Continue to install the rows in a pyramid pattern, this will help to keep the installation nice and straight.
- When laying the laminate near a wall, use a pull bar to close up the short gap, this will allow you to strike with the mallet away from the wall whilst transferring the force into the board. A makeshift pull bar can also be made from a pry bar and a piece of wood. When measuring boards which will be close to the wall, be sure to take into account the gap needed at the wall. Since we’re installing the baseboard, having a too large gap is less critical, if you’re laying the laminate against the existing baseboard then make sure you keep the gap smaller than 1/2″ so that the mould covers it completely.
- The next tricky spot will be leading edge of a doorway, since you can’t slide a board under the door with a u-shaped notch, break the section with two different boards. For complicated cuts make a drawing with dimensions so you can prevent cutting the piece backwards which is a very common mistake. Then an L-shaped board can be cut to slide in from the other side. Tap this piece into place and then slide it under the door trim by tapping it in until it joins to the previous piece.
- If you are installing new baseboards then use a stud finder to mark the locations of all studs around the perimeter of the room, install the baseboard level so that the corners line up all the way around the room, the shoe moulding will hide any small gaps. Use a two 2″ 15 gauge finish nails at each stud, shoot the top nail first to ensure that baseboard is as tight at the top possible.
- Moulding can cover the small gap between the baseboards and the flooring, install it with the short side down. Use one 1-1/2″ brad nail every 16″ to fasten the moulding to the baseboard. Finish up by caulking and painting the base and moulding.
That’s it, you should have beautifully laid new laminate flooring! Should you have any further queries or questions, simply get in touch with our team today!