A Beginner's Guide For Installing Laminate Flooring

Posted on: 12 March 2015

Laminate floors are beautiful and so easy for a beginner to install. There is no heavy nailing or gluing involved in this project, instead, floors simply click together. Continue reading to learn how to prepare your subfloor, install the underlayment and lay a new laminate floor in any room of your house.

Preparing Your Home for New Laminate Flooring

-Remove Baseboards

The first step is removing your baseboards. If you use your baseboards again after installation, gently pry them from the wall. Mark each piece's precise location on the back of each baseboard.

- Carpet

If you install laminate floor in a room that currently has carpet, remove the carpet and tack strips. Once the carpet is removed, sweep and vacuum floor thoroughly to remove any debris.

-Linoleum

If you install laminate floor in a room that has linoleum, sweep the floor, mop the floor and allow it to thoroughly dry before beginning the project.

-Squeaks

Walk along your floor listening for squeaks. Squeaks occur when the subfloor rubs against the floor joists. To fix a squeak, simply screw a long deck or drywall screw through the subfloor into the joist. Check the floor for flatness using an 8-foot straight edge. Place the straight edge along the floor and mark any depression or high spots. Sand down any high spots with a belt sander or orbital sander. If there are any low spots, fill them with wood putty.

-Trim Door Jambs

The final step in preparing your home for new laminate flooring is trimming your door jambs. Grab a piece of laminate flooring and place it in front of each door jamb in the room. Using a carpenter's pencil, draw a line showing the height of the laminate flooring. Then saw off each door jamb so the laminate can easily slide underneath your door jamb.

The Underlayment

An underlayment is a cushioning pad sold in rolls. Underlayment comes in a variety of thicknesses. Some offer extra vapor barrier protection, protection or soundproofing. No matter the type of underlayment you choose, the installation is the same.

To install the underlayment, begin at one end of the room and unroll the underlayment the length of the room. Allow at least 2 inches to lap up the wall and secure it with masking tape. Butt each new piece of underlayment against the previous one and seal using underlayment seam tape.

Laying the Laminate

Once the underlayment is laid, it is time to lay your laminate flooring. Measure the width of your room and divide by the width of the laminate flooring. If your last row will be less than two inches wide, you will need to cut your first row of laminate narrow to make up the difference.

Begin the installation by snapping each end of the laminate floor together, leaving a 3/8 inch expansion space along the wall. Continue locking the pieces together until you have gone the length of the room. At each end of the row, you will need to cut the laminate to fit into the remaining gap. Measure the remaining gap and cut a piece of laminate to fit into the space.

Once the first row is complete, begin your next row using the remaining piece of laminate that you cut from to fill in your end space. To snap the new row together, place the piece of laminate at an angle to line up the tongue and groove. Then, firmly press down to snap the pieces together. Finally, take a piece of scrap board and lay it against the edge of laminate you just installed. Gently tap the scrap board with a hammer to firm up joints.

Repeat this step until you get to the last row. On the last row, you will need to trim each piece of laminate flooring to fit into the remaining opening. Use a straightedge and leave at least a 3/8 inch expansion space against the wall.

Finishing Your Installation

Once the floor is installed, trim the underlayment with a utility knife. Then, install your baseboards. If you are installing your old baseboards, lay the baseboard sections along the perimeter of the room to ensure the layout is correct before you begin nailing them. The descriptions you wrote on the back of each baseboard will make this a breeze.

Laminate floors mimic the look of real wood floors. Once the floor is assembled, it simply floats on top of your subfloor. A small gap along the perimeter of the floor allows your laminate to expand and contract as the humidity levels change. Laminate floors are the perfect choice for busy families who want the benefits of hardwood floors for a fraction of the cost.

To learn more, contact a company like Lockwoods Carpets with any questions or concerns you have.

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