Over the past 10 years or so, Laminate Flooring has really taken over as a beautiful yet economic choice for replacing flooring in all types of homes. First of all it needs very little maintenance, is durable, comes in plenty of colors, sizes and even now textures, is affordable and lasts for many, many years. Besides most do-it-yourselfers can accomplish this project with ease and it takes much less prep that Carpet, tile, and (does anybody use it?) Vinyl Flooring. And now with click together glue-less product, it’s even easier than ever to install.
How to Install Laminate Flooring
What we have done here is try to provide a basic step by step guide on how to install laminate flooring in your home.Don’t get scared yet! Installing laminate-flooring is much easier than installing hardwood floors.
The tools and materials you will need for this project are:
• a rubber mallet
• a Flooring pull bar
• tape measure
• coping saw
• utility knife
• laminate flooring
• underlayment pad (with or without a vapor barrier)
Preparing the Floor
If you've got another type of flooring, this is the time to get rid of it. Pull up your old carpet and padding. Remove all of the tack strips around the room's perimeter. You may need to scrape the floor to get rid of any padding sticking to it. Vacuum it well. If there are any noticeable dips, level them out. On a concrete slab, thinset or another self-leveling compound may be skimmed on it.
Repair plywood subflooring if applicable.
Remove the baseboards. You may be able to save these if you are careful. Now use the coping saw to cut off the bottoms of door jambs, case openings, etc. This will probably be 1/4” to 3/8” dependent on the combined thickness of the material and underlayment pad. It is recommended to buy the thicker pad; it is well worth the added expense.
In order to know how much this type of flooring and underlayment pad to buy you will need the square footage. To get this simply measure the area's footage right to left and then forward and back. Multiply those figures together and that is your square footage. It is prudent to add at least 5% to that figure for scraps.
Install your laminate flooring
The first thing to do is roll out the underlayment pad. Connect the pieces together with wide, clear, plastic tape. How your planks connect depends on the brand you buy but they are all rather simple; most simply snap together. Remember to stagger the joints.
This type of Flooring is really a “floating floor”, meaning that it is all connected to itself but not to the house. With this in mind, leave 1/4” clearance at each wall. On the initial wall where you start, use spacers that you can pull out before installing the baseboards.
As you go along you will need to use your mallet and pull bar to snug things up. A few gentle taps will do.
Things will get tricky as you go through doorways; the manufacturer's instructions most likely will not tell you about this because it impedes sales to DIY'ers. In some circumstances the best solution is to use your utility knife to trim the snapping connections on the adjoining planks so that they can slide together. In this case, use a few drops of wood glue to keep them together.
Finishing up - Install the Baseboards
Once you're done with installing the flooring planks you can get on your baseboards. If you've been careful with the removal you can reuse them. Otherwise, cut and install new baseboards. Miter and caulk all joints. Remember not to nail into the planks – this is a floating floor. If you find you have cut some planks too short and the baseboard doesn't cover adequately, don't fret; just install quarter-round at the floor line.