How to Lay Laminate Wood Flooring [Full-Guide]
Do you like the look of hardwood flooring but are concerned about the upkeep or cost?
Instead, choose laminate wood flooring.
Prefinished plank flooring is less difficult to install and has the same appearance as hardwood flooring.
The “planks” are made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) sandwiched between two layers of plastic laminate.
The top laminate has the appearance of random-grain wood, but it is scratch and stain-resistant due to its plastic composition.
It also allows for choices such as gray laminate wood flooring or dark wood laminate flooring. Precision-milled tongue-and-groove edges make precise installation a breeze.
The floating floor assembly is supported by a thin, closed-cell polyethylene foam pad.
This article will show you how to lay laminate wood flooring, a weekend home repair job.
What You Should Know Before Putting Down Laminate Flooring
With the exception of indoor/outdoor carpeting and other flooring materials with short naps, laminate flooring can be installed directly over the majority of other flooring materials.
This implies that you won’t have to remove any existing surfaces before you start.
However, because your new flooring will elevate the level of your floor somewhat — around 3/8 inch — you will need to be cautious while making transitions between rooms.
The majority of flooring manufacturers include transition thresholds that are designed to accommodate varied floor heights in their products.
Measure your kitchen appliances to ensure that they will fit into their original positions after the new laminate flooring is installed if you are replacing existing flooring in the room.
If you are installing laminate over existing flooring in the room, measure to ensure that the appliances will fit into their original positions.
If this is not the case, you may be required to remove the old flooring before installing the new.
Here’s everything else you need to know about preparing for and installing laminate flooring so that the job goes easily and efficiently.
Prepare The Space in Advance
Taking the base shoe and baseboards from the wall.
Make sure the floor is clean and level before you begin – installing over a non-level floor might result in soft, spongy regions and may cause seams to open and become visible.
Tolerances are typically 1/4 to 3/8 inch over a horizontal distance of 10 horizontal feet.
High places on wood flooring can be sanded down to a more even surface.
Alternatively, pieces of 30-pound felt can be used to “fill” low spots in the carpet.
A leveling compound should be used to fill any low spots in concrete slabs that are present.
Take a Measure of the Space
To calculate the entire square footage of flooring you’ll require, multiply the total square footage by 5 percent to account for waste and mistakes.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to leave a gap of approximately 3/8 inch around the perimeter of the room to allow for the flooring to expand and contract in response to changes in relative humidity.
When you reinstall the baseboards and base shoe, you will be able to see through the gap.
Allow the flooring to Become Acclimated
By bringing all of the flooring packages into the room at the same time.
Open the packages and arrange the loose planks in small stacks around the room, as shown in the photo.
This aids in the stabilization of the flooring to the relative humidity in your space, which takes around 48 hours to complete.
Take advantage of the opportunity to check any planks for damage.
Preparation of the Door Frame
In order for the flooring to go underneath the trim and jamb (rather than having to cut an odd shape to suit the molding), the trim and jamb must be removed.
Make a guide out of a piece of flooring and underlayment, then mark the door trim and jamb where you want to trim them.
Cut the pieces with a jamb saw, which is a specialized handsaw with an offset grip that makes it easy to cut components close to the floor and walls.
Putting the blade of the saw against a piece of flooring will ensure a straight, even cut that is the proper height for your project.
What you’ll require
- bar with a pry blade
- Knife for everyday use
- A tape measure is a tool that is used to measure anything.
- Using a handsaw or a table saw
- Blocks are placed at regular intervals.
- Using the tapping block
- Hammer with a pull bar
What to do
STEP 1: Allow the flooring to become Acclimated
Preparing your laminate wood flooring for installation involves allowing it to sit in the room for at least 48 hours, allowing it to expand and contract in response to changes in the room’s temperature and humidity.
After installation, this prevents buckling and other issues from occurring.
Step 2: Remove the baseboard
Remove the baseboard molding that is currently in place.
Remove the baseboard from the wall using the pry bar, and place the pieces away for reinstallation later on.
A hard, flat surface, such as vinyl, should be laid down before installing floating laminate planks (such as the one used in this project).
If the present flooring has been damaged, it should be removed to show the subfloor.
Step 3: Installing Underlayment
The underlayment for your floating laminate floor should be installed first.
Remove any staples, nails, and other debris from the floor.
The underlayment should be rolled out.
Do not place adjacent strips on top of one another.
The utility knife can be used to cut components as required.
The underlayment, which is made of foam, absorbs sound and makes the floor feel more sturdy and lasting.
Editor’s Note: Some flooring planks are pre-installed with underlayment padding, which saves time and money.
Because this sort of flooring does not require the use of an underlayment, it is not necessary to install one.
STEP 4: Construct a Floor Plan
In order to determine the direction to lay the laminate wood floorboards, first determine which wall is the longest and straightest in your home. Avoid placing a thin strip against the wall that serves as the main point.
The planks in the last row should be at least 2 inches broad to ensure a solid foundation.
Consider leaving a 1/4-inch gap between each wall. If the last row will be less than 2 inches wide, multiply the width of the last row by the width of a complete board and divide by two to get the final width.
Planks in the first and last rows should be cut to this length.
STEP 5: Make the first cut in the row
In some cases, ripping or cutting the initial row of planks lengthwise may be necessary depending on your configuration.
Use a power saw to cut with the finished side down; if you’re using a handsaw, use it to cut with the finished side upward.
Clamps can be used to keep the floor planks in place as you cut them.
STEP 6: Use Spacers to Create a Gap in Your Work
Space chips are included in the purchase of laminate wood flooring kits.
Place these between the wall and the boards, leaving a 1/4-inch expansion gap between the two surfaces.
Once the baseboard is installed, it will no longer be visible.
Step 7: Attach the First Row of Stairs
Install the laminate floorboards such that the tongue side of the planks is facing the wall and vice versa (some manufacturers recommend you cut off the tongue edge of planks that face walls).
The tongues and grooves of one plank are connected to the tongues and grooves of another.
You may be able to connect the planks tightly by the hand, or you may need to use a pull bar from the installation kit and a hammer to draw them together, or you may need to use a tapping block to tap the joints together with a hammer.
Cut the last plank in the row to the desired length (keep the scraps if they’re at least 12 inches in length, else discard them).
STEP 8: Add Additional Rows to the Table
Install more rows of laminate wood flooring to complete the project.
Keep the seams in adjoining rows at least 12 inches apart as you snap on new rows, just like you would on a wood plank wall or a brick wall, to make it look more natural.
It is common to be able to start a new row with a scrap from the plank that was cut to finish the preceding row.
Step 9: Install the Final Row
After sliding the planks for the final row of flooring into position at an angle, carefully prying them into place with the pry bar will be required.
Always leave a 1/4-inch expansion gap between the last row and the wall as you are finishing a row.
STEP 10: Trim the Casings to Size
Make a cut around the door casings.
You should avoid attempting to cut planks to fit around door casings.
Instead, use the jamb saw to cut the door casing about 1/16 inch higher than the height of the flooring, allowing the planks to glide under the casing without getting caught.
Put down a piece of flooring with underlayment on the floor, placing one edge of the flooring up against the casing. Place the jamb saw on top of the casing and cut it to the required height using it.
STEP 11: Reinstall the trimming
Remove the trim and reinstall it.
After the planks are in place, reattach the baseboard molding using a hammer and finishing nails to complete the project.
In the following step, you will apply shoe molding to cover the expansion joints, and you will use transition strips to link the laminate to neighboring surfaces like tile or carpet.
Nailing should not be done through the floor, but rather through the trim and the wall.
Professional Installation vs. Do It Yourself Installation
There are numerous advantages and disadvantages to both do-it-yourself flooring installation and employing professional flooring installers.
Your decision should be dependent on your financial situation as well as your familiarity with common power equipment.
Despite the fact that laminate flooring installation has a moderate amount of difficulty, it is a task that most homeowners can complete with relative ease.
Laminate flooring installation is a simple task that takes only a few hours, but it necessitates the use of the appropriate equipment to achieve a firm and secure installation.
It is a dry installation, which means that you will not be required to use grout or mortar when installing the flooring.
When it comes to home improvement projects, working with a professional contractor may be advantageous if you have never finished one before or if you do not already have most of the essential equipment.
They will be equipped with all of the supplies and tools necessary to execute the project.
Our Final Thoughts
Learn how to lay laminate flooring with snap-together wood by watching this video.
It’s so simple to install that you can lay a beautiful, long-lasting hardwood floor on a weekend with no messy glue or heavy hammering.
It’s also prefinished, so there’s no need for dusty sanding or time-consuming finish work.
Frequently Ask Questions
What is the proper method of installing 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.
This, however, is only one of the many options available for installing laminate flooring.
Is it possible for a novice to install laminate flooring?
Installing laminate flooring is a simple process, and after you’ve done it once, you’ll wonder why anyone would hire a professional installer to do it for them in the first place.
In contrast to ceramic tile, laminate flooring is installed without the need for grout, cement, or adhesives that are set up while you’re working on the floor.
Is there a specific pattern to follow while putting laminate flooring?
It’s important to remember that there are no hard and fast laws when it comes to staggering laminate flooring, but it’s essential to be aware that you should attempt to lay your floor in an uneven pattern with your stagger length being in the range of 6-12 inches.