Installing laminate flooring

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Laminate floors are reasonably easy for a DIY homeowner to install. Laminate flooring is packaged as a number of tongue and groove planks, which can can be clicked into one another. Sometimes a glue backing is provided for ease of installation. Installed laminate floors typically "float" over the sub-floor on top of a foam/film underlayment,[4] which provides moisture- and sound-reducing properties. A small (1–10 millimetres (0.039–0.394 in)) gap is required between the flooring and any immovable object such as walls, this allows the flooring to expand without being obstructed. Baseboards (skirting boards) can be removed and then reinstalled after laying of the flooring is complete for a neater finish, or small beading trims can be fitted to the baseboards. Saw cuts on the planks are usually required at edges and around cupboard and door entrances.

Level of difficulty: Hard
Estimated time taken: 1-2 days
Tools required:

  • New laminate flooring
  • Moisture protector
  • Underlayment
  • Moisture tester
  • Level
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Spacers
  • Hammer
  • Jigsaw

Step 1: Prepare the area

  1. The temperature of the area should be between 60 and 80 degrees F.
  2. The humidity should be 35% to 65%
  3. Test the moisture of the subfloor with a surface concrete moisture encounter
  4. Moisture levels should not be above 3%

Step 2: Ensure the floor is level

  1. Use a level to ensure it is flat
  2. If you do not have a level, you can use your longest laminate plank.
  3. You do not want variation of height more than 1/8th on an inch.

Step 3: Install moisture barrier

  1. This is a plastic that will protect your floor from any moisture in the subfloor
  2. Cut to length and cover your entire floor

Step 4: Install underlayment

  1. Underlayments prevent moisture and bacteria buildup and help
  2. Cut to length and install over entire floor leaving a 1/2 inch gap on the edges
  3. This allows room for air to circulate around the perimeter and evaporate

Step 4: Install laminate

  1. Start with the longer grooved side facing away from the wall
  2. Create a chalk line to ensure the first row of laminate is straight
  3. Put spacers against any walls the laminate may touch
  4. Start in a corner by your chalk line and install the first row, attaching any planks according to the instructions
  5. Move onto your next row after you have completed most of your first row. Don't worry about cutting it to fit yet
  6. Continue installing plants, working backward, in a random pattern so seems do not match up

Step 5: Use a jigsaw to cut floor to fit

  1. Make any markings on any obstructions that will need to be cut away
  2. Cut the final pieces to fit

Step 6: Attach transition pieces and baseboard

Example Video: