Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring [12 Mistakes You Need To Know]
During the last decade or two, laminate flooring has been increasingly popular.
Some homeowners prefer it to hardwoods because it simulates the look of exotic woods and patterns while also being more cost-effective than hardwoods.
The ease with which laminate floors may be installed makes them a popular choice among do-it-yourselfers.
In addition, when it comes time to prepare your property for sale, it is an excellent alternative for a quick flooring makeover.
A buyer’s attention can be captured by a brand new laminate floor.
As a real estate agent, I see a lot of people installing laminate floors themselves.
Unfortunately, if you do not learn how to correctly install laminate flooring, difficulties will occur rather fast, if not immediately.
Common laminate flooring installation faults will be discussed in detail since they can cause your new flooring installation to look unkempt and unattractive.
When a house seller advertises recent laminate floors, there is nothing worse than arriving at the property and discovering soft patches, buckling, big gaps, bubbling, or improperly done transitions.
What is Laminate Flooring?
Flooring made of laminate is a synthetic image glued to a wood base with a protective laminate covering applied over the top of the picture.
It is, in essence, a photograph printed on a synthetic substance.
It can be used to replicate many materials such as wood, stone, ceramic, painted tiles, and more…..
The laminate flooring planks are just resting on the subfloor and interlocking with one another.
The majority of the time, they are intended to float on the subfloor and are not attached to it.
12 Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring
Flooring Mistake #1: It is necessary for laminate to float
Laminate flooring needs to be able to float.
Sometimes the installer becomes too comfortable and loses sight of this fundamental rule.
An expansion of 14″ to 3/8″ is necessary at all vertical impediments, including doorframes, as well as at each transition strip, depending on the product being used.
Undercutting doorframes: Before undercutting a doorframe, the installer should check to see if there is enough space for growth.
This may necessitate the removal of some sheetrock. In addition, it is necessary to cut the baseboard back from the casing by approximately one inch to complete the installation. In this way, there will be plenty of area for the floor to grow or contract in any direction.
Transition strips: When an installation utilizes construction adhesive to bind the strip to the subfloor, the transition strip becomes troublesome. If you use too much adhesive, it will leak onto the flooring and permanently fix the entire floor in place. If it is required to use an adhesive to bind the flooring, silicone is an excellent choice because it is strong and flexible at the same time. I recommend that you use the track that is provided. I recommend screwing the track into the subfloor if the subfloor is made of wood. Plastic anchors and screws should be used to secure the track to concrete. I recommend drilling holes in the track with a masonry bit.
Flooring Mistake #2: The flatness of the ground surface
During the installation process, the levelness of the floor may also be an issue.
Installing over an uneven subfloor may result in excessive movement, which may result in gaping and possible fracture of the installation.
Preparation of subfloors is required for all of them.
According to industry requirements, the surface of the flooring must be flat to within 3/16″ of an inch in a 10-foot radius around the perimeter.
The flatness of the floor can be checked by laying a straight edge across it and noting the high and low points.
All high points must be ground down to a smooth surface.
I propose using Portland-based leveling chemicals that have been approved for use in this application to fill low spots in the subfloor.
Allow for complete drying of the patching compound before starting with the installation process.
Consider using a patch that dries on its own.
In addition, never add additional layers of foam underlayment to fill holes in your flooring.
Flooring Mistake #3: Moisture in the Subfloor
Another factor to consider before installing a new floor is the moisture content of the existing subfloor.
The moisture content of the subfloor is just as crucial for laminate floors as it is for hardwood floors when it comes to installation.
Peaked seams in laminate are caused by excessive moisture in the subfloor.
Laminate flooring has a core that is hygroscopic, which means that it collects moisture when exposed to wet.
Laminate floors will expand and contract in the same way that hardwood floors do when the moisture content of the air changes.
Pre-installation testing of all subfloors is vital, and I recommend that these measurements be recorded for future reference.
New concrete must be allowed to cure for at least 60 days before being tested.
All concrete slabs, regardless of grade level, should be covered with a 6-mil polyethylene film that is not made from recycled resin to act as a vapor retarder.
Flooring Mistake #4: Installing laminate flooring in the wrong areas is a bad idea
One thing to keep in mind about laminate flooring is that it is not particularly resistant to dampness. The best way to avoid making some typical laminate floor installation blunders is to choose your installation location carefully. When the underlying wood substrate has absorbed water, bucking and bubbling can occur in a variety of places, including kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways.
While there are some new products on the market that claim to be water-resistant or that may be used to seal laminate floor edges with a sealant, there may be better flooring options available for high moisture regions. While laminate floors appear to be a less expensive alternative at first glance, they will end up costing you more in the long term due to the fact that they will need to be replaced more frequently.
Flooring Mistake #5: Non-Conformity With The Level Of Your Floor
The feeling of walking on a laminate floor that appears to be made of stone or wood and has soft areas is one of my biggest pet peeves.
If you want to avoid soft patches on your subfloor, make sure it is precisely level.
Soft patches can also cause the edges to receive more wear and tear than they should, resulting in a more worn appearance.
Make certain that your floor is level before applying the coating, whether it is concrete, plywood, or composite.
According to rule #4, there should be no more than 1/8 of an inch tolerance.
A combination of grinding, sanding, and the use of a self-leveling compound will ensure that your floor is level enough for the effective installation of your flooring system.
Flooring Mistake #6: Not Using Underlayment
Because laminate flooring is so thin, it has little structural strength and is prone to bending and flexing when it is used.
Underlayment is a thin layer of foam that acts as a shock absorber for any minor variations in the subfloor beneath it.
As a result, it will eliminate any dips or high areas in the 1/8-inch tolerance we discussed in problem #5.
Selecting the proper underlayment for your laminate floor installation is crucial, and you should take into consideration the placement of the floor as well as the subfloor.
Flooring Mistake #7: Failure To Use a Vapor Barrier When It Is Necessary
A moisture barrier is required whenever there is a possibility of moisture escaping from beneath the surface.
Consequently, it should go without saying that the concrete floors of your basement family room will require the installation of a moisture-resistant vapor barrier.
Consider vapor barriers that can also serve as an underlayment for your flooring.
The vapor barrier can be skipped when installing laminate flooring over wood subfloors on the first or second floor because wood is a natural product that should be allowed to breathe.
Flooring Mistake #8: Failing To Make Room For Edge Expansion
As previously stated, a laminate floor is intended to float, interlock, and move as a single piece of flooring.
You should avoid cutting your laminate floors too close to baseboards or a wall.
For the majority of laminate floor installations, you will need to leave a 3/8-inch gap between the boards.
This is the most frequently encountered reason for buckling!
Nailing your quarter round into the floor via the laminate rather than the baseboard is another issue that is distinct from this one but falls under this category as well.
It doesn’t allow your floor to expand and shrink as it should.
Flooring Mistake #9: Products at a Low Price
People are more attracted to purchasing things that are at rock bottom prices.
But let’s bring you out of your delusion for a moment.
The things that are available at the lowest prices are not always the best.
When compared to hardwood, laminates are more ‘cheap.’
You may achieve the appearance of hardwood on a shoestring budget without having to spend any money on real hardwood.
There are numerous distinctions between inexpensive and affordable products.
Products that are inexpensive have a short shelf life.
And it needs to be repaired on a regular basis.
The cost of fixing a cheap laminate product over and over again may eventually bring the price of a good laminate product into line with the cost of purchasing a good laminate product.
Try to keep a safe gap between yourself and low-cost things.
Flooring Mistake #10: Durability
The AC (Abrasion Class) grade of a laminate floor is used to describe the durability of the floor.
The scale of ac rating is from 1 to 5.
Laminate floors with an AC rating of 3 or higher are often more durable.
The price increases in direct proportion to the AC rating.
As a result, do not purchase laminates with an AC rating lower than 3 simply because they are inexpensive.
If you do this, your laminate floor will get deteriorated in a shorter period of time than expected.
Before making a purchase, double-check that you are purchasing the correct product with the appropriate AC rating.
Then you’ll be able to take pleasure in the scenery for a long time.
Flooring Mistake #11: Quality
Obtaining the highest-quality product is essential.
The installation of new floors is a costly endeavor.
When you look at a product, you can see the difference between a high-quality good and a low-quality product very quickly.
Is it, nonetheless, that simple to comprehend? Yes, it is correct.
High-quality products have a greater variety of photo prints to choose from.
Once it is installed, it will ensure that similar patterns are not repeated.
As a result, you will receive a natural essence.
Flooring Mistake #12: Due to a lack of thermal acclimation
When this basic step is neglected, you can expect a large “bump” in the middle of your room and will be compelled to reinstall your floor from the ground upward.
Laminate flooring, like any other wood floor, expands and contracts in response to changes in temperature and humidity.
For example, moving cold laminate into a warm room and installing it immediately will not be enough to prevent buckling, even if you leave the appropriate expansion gap.
It is critical that the temperature and humidity levels at your job site remain stable.
Minimum temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit and maximum humidity of 65 percent should be maintained at all times.
It is critical to keep it in good condition for 48 hours before and after installation.
Our Final Thoughts
It is undoubtedly doable for a beginner to intermediate DIY’er to install a laminate floor in their home as a home upgrade.
It is important, though, to read the directions carefully because there is a little more to it than simply laying down laminate floors.
Also, don’t believe that laminate floors will ever be able to replace or match the value of real hardwood flooring.
Hardwoods are the preferred flooring choice for the majority of rooms in the house.
Think carefully about your investment and how it will affect the selling of your property before embarking on any home improvement project around the house.
When it comes to updating an outdated floor, a laminate floor may surely make a difference. However, an incorrectly fitted laminate floor can be extremely costly.
Homebuyers are not interested in footing the bill for badly performed renovation work that will need to be finished…or worse…completely redone.
Frequently Ask Questions
When laying the laminate flooring, do you begin at the middle or at the ends?
Starting with the most prominent and obvious wall in the space, hardwood flooring should always be installed.
Start laying the laminate away from the wall because the wall may not be perfectly straight, and this will help to maintain the floor straight and square.
Is there a proper way to install laminate flooring and an incorrect way to install laminate flooring?
In most circumstances, you should install your laminate flooring such that it runs parallel to the longest wall of the room or the longest wall of your home.
A more natural flow will result, and the length of the space will be more prominently highlighted as a result.
What is causing my laminate floor to get disjointed?
Some of the most common reasons why laminate components will not snap together are as follows:
A piece of laminate that is deformed or has flaws. A subfloor that has heaved or is uneven.
A piece of debris that has become trapped under the flooring or underlayment, or in the grooves of the flooring.