Laminate flooring is a cheap, simple alternative to genuine wood or tile flooring. Many homeowners have chosen to install a laminate floor because of its durability and simple installation. Whether you or a professional home repair contractor is doing this job, the process will follow approximately the same guidelines provided below.
Installing Laminate Flooring
In addition to basic household tools, you will need the following:
- Pull bar
- Rubber mallet
- Coping saw
- Laminate flooring
- Underlayment pad
- Utility knife
- Tape measure
Prepare the Floor
The first step is to prep the floor that will get the replacement. If you have carpet, it needs to be completely ripped up. Lay down masking tape where the carpet will be divided and cut along this line using a utility knife. It is a good idea to cut more lines along the floor so you will only be ripping up strips of carpet.
Once the carpet has been removed and set aside, remove the pad and tack strips. The pad can be rolled up, but you will most likely need to pry up the tack strips. Be sure to use caution when removing the tack strips.
If you are not removing carpet, you will need to take out the wood or tile that is already in place. For tile, break up each tile and discard. Removing wood flooring may require professional assistance depending on the type of floor. Nevertheless, you will need to take out the baseboards and leave just the concrete slab before installing the laminate floor.
If your new flooring will be adjoining another type of floor that remains the same, you will need to install a trim track to divide the two. Use a masonry bit that is carbide-tipped to drill holes into the track and concrete floor. If too much dust accumulates in the hole (a common problem with drilling into concrete), simply blow it out with an air hose. Plastic anchors can now be inserted into the holes and attached with screws. Do not tap it down completely since flooring will be laid underneath.
It is necessary with any vinyl flooring to lay down an underlayment pad for insulation and noise reduction. It also protects the underside of the floor from water damage.
Lay out the underlayment pads over the whole surface and attach the pieces together with duct tape. The edges need to be pressed firmly together, but be sure that they do not overlap. Excess can be cut away using a utility knife.
Do a Test Layout
Lay down the laminate planks over the floor surface without glue to make sure that all pieces will cover the floor. Since not all walls are perfectly straight, you may need to cut some planks down to size along the wall edges. Do this by creating a template with paper and pencil. Fit the paper into the empty space between the other planks and the wall, and use it as a stencil to cut the other planks. Remember that it is very important to leave a ¼ inch gap between the wall and the planks to allow for expansion. Spacers can help accomplish this. They will be removed after the floor has been completed. Skipping this step will cause the flooring to be damaged or puckered overtime.
Install the Floor
A long band of glue should be applied to the edge of the plank. Lay it on the floor and press another plank to this edge, hard enough so that the glue is squeezed out of the seam. Proceed to attach the other planks in this manner, always making sure that they are firmly pressed together. After you have laid down the first three rows of planks, hold them together with a band clamp. In about one hour, the glue will have dried and you can continue with the remainder of the floor.
Since there will be glue that has squeezed from the seams of the planks, gently scrape it away from the surface of the floor. Reinstall the baseboards to hide the gap at each wall. Tap down the trim track, if applicable.
This should complete your home improvement project and allow you to enjoy a fresh new look in your home.