How to lay laminate flooring

You’ve just landed your dream laminate flooring and now it needs to be fitted. Well, installing quick fit laminate flooring is easier than you think. With this guide, you will be able to lay your laminate flooring in hours. This guide is also packed with important safety tips that will help you during the process. So, read through each step.

A step-by-step guide on laying laminate flooring

Before you begin the installation process, first clear the area you’re working in. Remove the previous flooring and any trims around the perimeter of the room.

Now let’s start.

Duration:

Up to 7 Hours

Difficulty level:

Easy/moderate

What are the tools needed?

  • Handsaw
  • Hacksaw for threshold bar
  • Table saw or jigsaw
  • Utility knife
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Tri-square
  • Spacing blocks
  • Mitre block

What are the Materials needed?

  • Underlay
  • Damp membrane
  • Quick Fit laminate flooring
  • Floor trim
  • Adhesive
  • Threshold bar

Step by step guide

STEP 1: Acclimatise the flooring

For at least 48 hours before installation, let the laminate flooring sit in the room so that it will have enough time to expand or contract in regard to the room’s current temperature and humidity. This will help to keep buckling and other post-installation problems at bay.

STEP 2: Prepare the room

You need to remove existing trims from skirting to allow the laminate to fit up against your skirting boards for a snug fit. You can re-apply any decorative trims after. If you are yet to install skirting you can lay the boards first and then apply the skirting afterwards to cover up the expansion gaps. This could also be the ideal time to update tired looking skirting boards and replace them.

If you are installing your laminate around a door frame you will need to remove the door and adjust the architrave so that the laminate will fit under. Line up some of your laminate and underlay on the floorboard to assess its overall height and use a saw to trim the architrave to allow the laminate to fit under. Use a hammer and chisel to remove the trimmed architrave and ensure you allow room for any expansion when laying this piece.

A hard, smooth surface is the best for installing laminate. You should also ensure its clean and dry before you begin to lay any flooring. Make sure all floorboards are secure and there are no protruding nails.

STEP 3: Start Installing the underlayment

Now it is time to install the underlayment to your laminate floor. Start by clearing any debris such as staples and nails, etc.

Check the manufacturer’s instructions on which underly is most suitable for your floor type. Its recommended that underlay should be laid perpendicular to your laminate.

Roll out the underlayment and any membranes and use the utility knife to cut pieces to what is needed. Make sure you don’t overlap adjoining strips. The function of the foam underlayment is to deaden sound and help the floor feel durable and more resilient.

If you’re laying laminate on a concrete floor you should check for any damp and install a damp proof membrane or an underlay with damp proofing qualities.

Please note – some flooring planks come with already installed underlayment padding. If you are using this flooring type, you don’t need to install the traditional underlayment again.

STEP 4: Plan the layout

You have to decide the direction to lay the planks, but ensure you first consider the longest and straightest wall. A narrow strip against the focal point wall is a no-no.

Laminate flooring should also be laid at a 90-degree angle to any existing floorboards.

The minimum width for planks in the last row should be 2 inches. Set a ¼-inch gap at each wall to account for expansion.

STEP 5: Time to lay the first row

You should use as many full-size planks as possible but it is inevitable that you will need to cut some planks lengthwise. If you are making use of a power saw, cut with the finished side down; but if you are using a handsaw, cut with the finished side up. To make the planks steady as you cut them, make use of clamps or an extra set of hands if you have anyone that can help. Make use of a pencil and tri-square to get straight and accurate cuts.

Depending on the shape of your room its typically easier to start in the corner where the door is. Lay your first piece of laminate with its tongue edge against the wall.

STEP 6: Leave a Gaphow to lay laminate flooring

Laminate flooring kits should come equipped with spacers, if not you will need to purchase some. Wedge the spacer between the wall and the planks so as to leave an expansion gap of 1/4 inch. Once the skirting and trims are attached, it will not be visible again.

STEP 7: Installing the first row

This is the installation stage. Install the planks with the tongue edge directly facing the wall. (Some manufacturers usually recommend cutting off the tongue edge of planks that face walls). Now, start connecting the tongues and grooves. You can snugly connect the planks using your hand until they click in place. Cut the last plank in the row to length. If the scraps are 12 inches or longer, save them.

You can now cut the piece to fit under your architrave. Layout a board and mark the size of the gap underneath the architrave and trim the board accordingly using a jigsaw so that it will slide under. Remember to allow for an expansion gap on each end.

STEP 8: Installing additional rows

Install additional rows to the existing ones. As you snap on new rows, stagger the seams at least 12 inches in adjoining rows, much like you would see on a wood plank wall or brick wall. Often, you can start a new row with the scrap from the plank you initially cut to end the previous row, failing this just cut a new plank in half. Repeat until all rows are complete.

STEP 9: Installing the last row

At this point, you will need to slide the planks into position at an angle and ensure the tongue edge of the board can still fit into the groove of the previous row of boards. If you need to cut a board to make it fit then measure the gap you need to fill allowing a 1/4-inch expansion gap between the last row and the wall and mark it onto the board and cut and lay as normal.

STEP 10: Install the Threshold bar

Ensure you choose a threshold bar that is suitable for your flooring. Carefully measure the width of your doorframe and allow for an expansion gap on either side. Using a hacksaw, cut the threshold bar to size and trim any notches needed to allow it to sit against the door frame. Secure as per manufacturers instructions.

Beware that with the new flooring and threshold bar your door may need to be trimmed before you reattach it.

STEP 11: Install the Trim

Now that the planks are in place, trim any membrane and underlay protruding from under the flooring to just below the laminate height and remove your spacers. If you removed the original skirting or need to install new skiting and it’s thick enough to cover the expansion gap you can do so now.

You can now measure and cut your trim to the lengths you need. Use a Mitre box and hand saw to cut 45-degree cuts at the end of your trims so that they meet in the corners. Finally using adhesive to attach your trim to your skirting to cover the expansion gap but ensure the trim isn’t attached to the floor as this will prevent expansion and may cause a bow in your flooring.

That’s all! Enjoy your newly installed laminate flooring!

Important safety tips and advice

Before you start fitting your laminate flooring, it is recommended to follow these safety tips so as to be on the safe side.

• Anytime you are cutting wood, always wear safety goggles and a face mask.
• Use kneepads for protecting your knees against hard surfaces.
• In order to get accurate measurements and not to make any mistakes, ask someone to help you.
• Be very careful when using adhesives because they can be toxic. Keep them out of reach of children!
• Wear ear defenders when using power tools.
• If you choose to cut boards indoors, make sure the room is well ventilated.

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