Installing a Laminate Floor

Installing a Laminate Floor

Installing a Laminate Floor

Here are some before and after pictures of a Laminate Floor that we installed in our house back in February.

As you are probably aware, removing your older carpet and replacing it with a new Laminate floor can make quite the difference. I have helped to install many Laminate and hardwood floors, and having recently purchased a house, Im planning on writing a series of articles on Home Improvement.

The Laminate Floor Installation How to.

Tools Required:

Laminate Floor Install Kit. (IKEA has a cheap one that works well. Half the price of Home Depot kit).

A Jigsaw/Sabre Saw is the minimum, a table saw will work well too. You will likely need to rip a few boards to the proper width when you get to the last wall. And you will of course have to cut boards to length when you get to the end of a row. I used a Mitre saw and Jigsaw the most.

A Rafter Square, big enough to go across your planks. You want to make sure that all of your end cuts are square.

A Hammer for the beater block in the Ikea kit. This is used to join the short ends of the planks after the long edge has been clipped in.

A Pencil.

A Tape Measure.

1. First off, measure your room length wise and width wise to get the square footage, now add 5-10 % depending on your comfort level for scrap and screw ups.

2. Now you need to decide what type of Laminate floor you want to buy. The first choice that you will have to make is whether you want to use a glue together or click together. Most home owners opt for the click flooring because of the ease of install. Commercial installations still favour the glue together installs simply for durability.

3. Now you have to pick the pattern of the floor, and there has also been a fairly new addition to the Laminate flooring world, narrow plank flooring that comes in multiple lengths to give you that hard wood floor look. This is what we opted to install in the example above, it came in three different lengths per box (7 pieces each length). It has a top width of 12.3 CM (not including tongue and groove).

Note. Cheaper floors are going to have a more noticeable pattern. ie: Ikea etc. While the flooring is usually a good quality, it might give you that over done look that you see in many laminate flooring installs these days.

4. Underlayment. You will need foam underlay for installation on a sub floor (ie: plywood or osb underneath carpet). If you are installing the floor over concrete, you will need a vapour barrier below the underlay to keep moisture away from the laminate floor. You can get an underlayment+vapour barrier combo for quicker installation.

5. Once you have your flooring its time to move onto the prep work. But first, let your new flooring acclimate in the room that it is to be installed. This will help it to reach the temperature and humidity of the room where it is to be installed. Leave the flooring in its box and shrink wrapped for the manufactures recommended time. Use this time to remove any trim, do it carefully with a flat bar (if you intend on saving it), or goto town if you plan on replacing it.

Note: Since laminate flooring is a floating floor, it requires a gap between it and the walls around the room, this varies by manufacturer, but expect anywhere from 1/8 to 1/2 gaps. This might require thicker baseboards to cover the gap.

Installing a Laminate Floor

6. You want to install the laminate floor parallel to the longest wall in the room, or if it is a square room, perpendicular to where daylight enters the room. This helps to hide the seems and make the floor appear to be look realistic.

7. Depending on brand assemble the first three or four rows away from the starting wall. Once you have the first three or four together, put some spacers against the wall and push the flooring against the wall.

Tip: When you get to the end of the row, you may or may not have to make a cut. Save the cut off piece to start the next row with. This will help to minimize waste, and it will help to offset the the pattern. You do not want to have all of your seams lining up across the floor .

8. Have fun laying down the rest of the floor, it should be flowing like clock work at this point.

9. The end wall, is where you may or may not have to rip down the width of the Laminate planks so that they will fit. The best method in my opinion would be to use a table saw to rip the planks down. This will ensure that you get a nice straight cut. I was able to do this using a Jigsaw with a steady hand.

Tip: When cutting, go slow, this will minimize the chipping. I would take a piece and practice, you are going to have waste anyways, and nothing beats testing it out for your self.

When using a Circular Saw, run the saw along the bottom side (Good side down) of the laminate. With a Table Saw or Chop Saw run the Laminate through face up (Good side up). Jigsaw/Sabre saw cut with the Laminate face up (Good Side up). Cut edges can be quite sharp, so watch out!

That should be about it. Enjoy your new Laminate floor. If you have any specific questions, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer you.

Stay tuned for an article on Installing Laminate floors onto stairs.

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