Laminate flooring is becoming an increasingly popular option when it comes to furnishing rooms, but many people are at a loss when it comes to installing laminate flooring.
It’s a very attractive material to line your floors with and, at a first glance, it looks relatively straightforward to install. However, the truth is that you’re going to need a decent level of skill and understanding to fit it correctly and leave it looking fantastic.
Let’s go through the steps required to install laminate flooring and make sure you don’t make any beginners mistakes along the way.
Laying a laminate flooring requires a certain number of tools to complete the job properly, so let’s take a look at the main ones required:
- Laminate flooring tool kit – Hardware stores sell a variety of these kits, but all contain roughly the same equipment e.g. A pull bar, tapping block, glue and spacers required for expansion gaps.
- A jigsaw – A straightforward piece of cutting kit, a jigsaw is simple to use and it’s lightness allows it to be carried round all day. It’s a good idea to invest in some specialist laminate jigsaw blades as it’s not the easiest material to deal with.
Once you’ve got these tools in place, it’s time to decide where your first row of laminate is going to go. As long as you’re working in a square room then the best place to start is along the straightest, longest wall.
If, however, it’s an unusually shaped room then it pays to start in the more difficult areas first of all. This ensures that there’s plenty of room to move the laminate boards around and get them securely in place.
Prepping the Install Area
You need a clean and level area for installing laminate flooring, so make sure the area is prepped early on. Make sure that there are no nails or screws sticking out and ensure that you sweep the area free of any grit, so that the risk of scratching your laminate is firmly reduced.
Fitting the Underlay
Fitting an underlay makes a huge difference to your laminate flooring. Without an underlay, your floor will fail to yield to any pressure and will not be enjoyable to walk across. Therefore, it’s crucial that you install an underlay to provide that little bit of luxury.
Underlay is usually provided in either a roll or individual tiles, but either one is more than capable of doing the job. A spray adhesive should be enough to secure the underlay, but remember that it needs to be fitted tightly with no lumps or bumps present.
Laying the Laminate
You’ll want to start in a corner and begin laying the boards from left to right with their tongue facing the nearest wall. You can then push the first boards together and hear that satisfying click noise as they slot into each other. Don’t forget to use your spacers to allow an expansion gap around the edge as laminate acts as a ‘floating floor’ and should not touch door frames etc.
All things going well, you should find that you can get to the last board in the row fairly quickly. However the final board is a little bit different as it needs to be at least 100mm wide. If you need to make room then you can cut the boards to size with your jigsaw.
Follow this approach with your rows, but try to stagger the joints from row to row to provide a more secure fit. To work out the width of the last board, lay a plank over the previous row before laying a third plank against the wall (tongue first) and then draw a line to indicate the desired width. You can then use a hammer and pull bar to pull the final board into place.
And, before you know it, you’ll have covered your entire floor. If the expansion gap bothers you then you can create a thin wooden trim, which matches the color of the laminate, to run around the edge and produce the seamless look you’re after.
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