Laminate Flooring Installation
Laminate flooring is a breeze to install. Easy-to-handle boards are designed to interlock smoothly and lay flat without the need for adhesive or special tools. Using a floating floor method of installation, laminate is laid or “floated” over the existing floor, saving considerable time and installation cost. Weekend warriors can DIY laminate flooring in as little as a day.
Trouble-free laminate installation
Use these laminate installation guidelines to ensure a lasting, trouble-free installation:
- Acclimation – Prior to installation, laminate flooring should be stored for 48 hours in the room in which they will be installed. Stack boxes flat on the floor and allow the heating/air-conditioning system operate as normal. Acclimation allows boards to adapt to the setting’s temperature and relative humidity.
- Expansion gaps – Laminate floors will slightly expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity. To maintain the integrity of a floating floor system, allow expansion gaps around the perimeter of the room as well as other vertical objects, such as columns.
- Locking system – Manufacturers offer a variety of edge joining systems to connect laminate flooring panels together. All basically work by connecting one board to another and folding boards flat into place. It’s important to read and follow the manufacturer’s recommended installation instructions.
- Room size – Laminate floors can be installed in large rooms but manufacturers have specifications on the maximum allowable length and width before additional expansion joints are needed.
- Installation layout – For the most natural looking installation, install planks along the longest wall in the room or perpendicular to main windows. This will minimize the number of board cuts.
- Subfloors – Subfloors need to be as clean and level as possible. A subfloor that is not flat will lead to joints breaking over time and separating. Dips and depressions in the subfloor will cause laminate board to flex over time, also putting additional pressure on the joints.
- Underlayment – Laminate underlayment mostly acts as a moisture barrier and a bridge to fill in minor irregularities in the subfloor. It also helps reduce noise and lend a softness when walking on laminate floors. Check the manufacturers recommendation for the right underlayment for their product.