Whether you're renovating your existing home or building a new one, laminate flooring can significantly enhance the aesthetics of your living space. This guide will walk you through the process of installing laminate flooring in your home, ensuring you're well-prepared for each step of the way.
Preparing the Subfloor
The first step to installing laminate flooring is preparing the subfloor. This is the underlying surface on which the laminate flooring will be installed. For optimal results, the subfloor must be level, clean, and dry before you begin laying the laminate planks.
- Remove existing flooring: Start by removing any existing flooring, such as carpet or vinyl.
- Inspect the subfloor: If you have a concrete subfloor, check for cracks, holes, or uneven spots. Fill any imperfections with a self-levelling compound and allow it to dry completely before proceeding. For wooden subfloors, inspect for loose or damaged floorboards, replacing them as needed.
Laying the Underlayment
Underlayment is a thin layer of material installed over the subfloor before laying the laminate planks. It serves multiple purposes, including providing a smooth surface for installation, absorbing sound, and reducing moisture.
- Measure the area: Determine the area you wish to cover with laminate flooring and purchase enough underlayment to cover the entire space.
- Cut the underlayment: The underlayment comes in rolls and should be cut to size using a utility knife.
- Install the underlayment: Roll out the underlayment over the entire subfloor, leaving a 1/4 inch gap between the edge of the underlayment and the wall to allow for expansion and contraction. Secure the underlayment to the subfloor using duct tape, ensuring it is flat and free of wrinkles or bumps.
Cutting and Fitting the Laminate Planks
With the underlayment in place, you're ready to lay the laminate planks. Laminate flooring is available in various styles and colours, allowing you to choose one that complements your home's decor.
- Measure the room: Calculate the length and width of the room to determine the number of planks required. Also, measure the length of each wall to establish the size of the planks you need to cut.
- Cut the planks: Leave a 12mm gap between the edge of the plank and the wall for expansion and contraction. Use a saw or laminate cutter to cut the planks to the appropriate size.
- Install the planks: Begin by laying the first row of planks along the room's longest wall, with the tongue side facing the wall. Stagger the seams between the planks, ensuring they don't line up with the seams in the first row. Click the tongue of one plank into the groove of the previous plank, using a tapping block and hammer to lock the planks tightly together. Continue this process row by row until you reach the opposite wall.
Cutting the Last Row
Cut the planks to fit the remaining space when you reach the last row.
- Measure the remaining space: Subtract 12mm from the length of the remaining space to account for the expansion gap. Measure the width of the space to determine the size of the plank you need to cut.
- Cut and install the final planks: Cut the planks to size and click them into place, using a pry bar and tapping block to lock them together tightly.
Finishing the Edges
Once all the planks are installed, finish the edges to complete the look.
- Choose trim pieces: Select trim pieces, such as skirting or quarter rounds, to cover the gap between the edge of the flooring and the wall.
- Measure and cut the trim: Measure the length of each wall and cut the trim pieces to size. Use a mitre saw to cut the trim pieces at a 45-degree angle, so they fit snugly against each other in the corners.
- Install the trim: Attach the trim pieces to the wall and floor using a nail gun or adhesive, ensuring they are securely fastened.
Maintenance and Care
Proper maintenance and care are essential to prolonging the life of your laminate flooring. Here are some tips to help you maintain your laminate flooring:
- Sweep or vacuum regularly: Remove dirt and debris from the floor regularly to prevent scratches and damage.
- Clean spills immediately: Wipe up spills as soon as they occur to prevent damage or staining.
- Use a damp mop: Clean the floor with a damp mop, avoiding excessive amounts of water, which can cause damage.
- Avoid harsh chemicals: Refrain from using abrasive cleaners or chemicals, as they can damage the surface of the flooring.
- Protect the floor: Place felt pads on furniture legs to prevent scratches and dents.
- Use area rugs or mats: Position rugs or mats in high-traffic areas to protect the floor from wear and tear.
Installing laminate flooring in your home is an excellent way to enhance the appearance of your living space. You can easily install laminate flooring with the right tools, materials, and knowledge. Ensure you prepare the subfloor, lay the underlayment, cut and fit the laminate planks, and finish the edges for a seamless look.