How to: Install New Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is a great investment in your home. It is affordable, functional and an excellent choice fore the DIY consumer. Today we will be getting down to the only thing you may be dreading about your purchase, the DIY installation. Even though you may be scared of this adventure, there is no reason why you can’t get the job done right without paying big bucks to an installer. So grab a cup of coffee and lets begin.
But before we get into it, it is important to note that this guide will go in conjunction with your manufacturer’s installation guidelines. It is important that you read through these very carefully. This article will provide the steps, and your manufacturer will provide the specific details of the steps. Think of it as a personal guide through a laminate installation journey.
Before you start:
Acclimating your Laminate Flooring
Your laminate flooring will need to be acclimated before the installation process starts. This is a very important step and it cannot be ignored. Acclimating your laminate will allow it to get adjusted to your home’s environment. It needs to adjust because most flooring products are in storage before they get to your home, and depending on the season they could have a bad reaction to the weather in your home or area of the country. Properly acclimating your laminate will allow it to adjust to these different environments before installation so that if they swell or shrink in the weather, they will have already done it, preventing buckling and bowing after installation.
To Acclimate your laminate flooring, simply open up the boxes or remove the materials entirely, and let it sit in the room that it is going to be installed in, or a room similar to that environment, for a few days after it arrives at your home.
Although many suggest that it only takes a day, I think you are much better off with a “better safe than sorry” mentality in any DIY situation.
Prepping your Sub-flooring
This is where it could get a little messy and fun. Depending on the type of sub-flooring that you have it will either need to be prepped or pulled up. It will probably just be the prep, as laminate flooring is a dream when it comes to going over existing flooring. This is thanks to how forgiving a floating floor installation really is. Basically all you need to do is a moisture test if you have concrete flooring and to make sure that any floor you may have is level. The moisture test is important and your manufacturer’s guidelines will give you the appropriate moisture level.
Any holes or gouges will need to be repaired on the sub-flooring as well. This will prevent any drafts for moisture from seeping in below your laminate floor. Use wood putties and/or patching to get this done.
Remove all of the baseboards, quarter round and any obstacle that may be in your way during installation. You will re-install these after you finish the flooring proper a little later, so make sure if you are planning on using what you already have, to be very careful when removing them so that they are not damaged in the process.
Time for the Fun:
Preparing for Moisture
Because laminate flooring it not water-proof, it is still very important to block as much moisture as possible from finding its way in. If your laminate did not come with a moisture barrier padding already installed, it is highly recommended, and is typically a warranty extender, to use a moisture block padding during installation. This is a separate expense and is as simple as rolling it out on the floor before you begin installation.
Laying the flooring
During this step you must consult your manufacturer’s requirements carefully. However, depending on whether you choose to lay your laminate boards horizontally or vertically, your room will have dramatically different outcomes. For example, when installing laminate flooring in the hallway you could either elongate the hallway or give it a lot defining centered look per direction of the layout.
There is no wrong or right way to go, you can even install at angles, although I wouldn’t recommend this type of installation if it is your first time. Just make sure that you follow the manufacture guidelines first and foremost, then you can add your own thoughts into the mix.
Other than that follow the installation direction carefully, and lay your flooring. Whether your laminate has a floating or glue down installation, it is fairly simple.
While you are laying your flooring, make sure during cuts to take the proper saw safety precautions when doing so.
- Where Safety Goggles
- Form Fitting Clothes
- No long sleeves
- Unplug equipment anytime it isn’t being used.
- Closed Toed Shoes, preferably work boots
Once your flooring has been successfully installed and allowed it to sit for the proper amount of time depending on if you used an adhesive. It is time to re-install or install the new baseboards and quarter-rounds. This process is very simple and can be done with a nail gun. Finish it up with the recommended cleaning and maintenance per your manufacturer and Congratulations, your DIY Royalty!