Laminate Flooring: How to Install It Yourself (Simple Guide)
Laminate flooring has its pros and cons but offers the same amazing look as hardwood. And it’s (relatively) easy to install.
That said, laminate flooring installation is best left to the professionals if you haven’t done it before. But if you are an expert in handiwork, you can easily install it by yourself.
Laminate flooring is a dry installation which means you won’t need any grout, mortar, or adhesives; the planks simply snap together.
Instructions to Follow for perfect laminate flooring installation
Follow these instructions for perfect laminate flooring installation. If you are not able to contact a reputable installer near you.
1. Prep the Area
Before you begin, ready your subfloor by removing existing flooring, baseboards, and moulding. Then trim around the room, heating resistors, or air return duct covers.
2. Check the Subfloor
Make sure your subfloor is flat, solid, and clean.
If you have a concrete subfloor, patch it up; if it’s wood, replace damaged boards and remove protruding nails. Laminate can be installed successfully over old flooring with a flat and smooth surface but not a soft and cushiony one.
If the subfloor is damaged and uneven, you may need to remove it and lay down an underlayment of thin plywood before putting down foam sheets and installing the laminate.
3. Test the Flooring
Before proceeding, try testing the planks to see how they’ll lay out. It is easy to use the flooring for a small or medium-sized room instead of measuring and calculating. Arrange each plank side by side. You can simply click them together or lock the side joints. (Don’t walk on the planks if they’re not locked together.)
When you arrange the planks lengthwise (end to end), don’t lock them. This will make it impossible to undo them without damaging the edges. Once you get an idea about the layout, pull them up and stack them nearby.
4. Install the Underlayment
All professional laminate flooring installers in Toronto recommend putting in the underlayment first. Underlayment is a thin and dense floor layer that helps absorb sound. It also acts as a thermal barrier and makes it easier to walk on laminate flooring. The underlayment also helps the flooring bridge minor gaps and bumps in the underlying floor. Many wonderful features of laminate flooring derive from perfect underlayment.
If you’re laying laminate flooring over a concrete slab or other similar moisture-prone surface, professionals recommend installing a vapour barrier to protect the floor. Some types of underlayment act as a moisture barrier. Alternatively, you can install thick plastic sheets below the underlayment and seal the seam with tape.
Lay down the edges of the underlayment sheets in such a way that they’re touching but not overlapping. Secure the edges with tape. You can also ask for underlayment that comes with peel-and-stick adhesive edges.
5. Start with the First Row
Begin by trimming the tongues from the board that will edge the wall. Be sure not to trim off the grooves! Lay the first row of planks against the longest wall. Make sure the trimmed edges are against the wall with the groove edges facing out.
Begin from the right and work to the left. Read the instructions carefully and maintain the recommended gaps. Use a hammer or tapping block to lock the pieces together.
6. Complete the First Row
Often, the plank at the end of the very first row will be too long. Measure the length and measure your plank from right to left. (This is to make sure the tongue-end is preserved to be attached to the last plank.) Cut the plank and use the remaining piece as the first plank of the second row.
7. Continue with the Next Rows
Use the cut-off piece from the last row as the first plank for the next. Make sure the seams don’t line up in adjacent rows or have a staggered, sawtooth appearance. Apart from looking unsightly, this will compromise the natural stability of the laminate.
For the second and subsequent rows, hold the planks at 45° and insert the edge with a long tongue into the groove of preceding planks. Then lower the plank to the floor to lock the joint.
8. Complete the Last Row
You’ll need to rip the last row of planks to finish the installation. Mark the last row and allow for a ¼” expansion gap between the flooring and the wall. Cut the final row with a circular saw, jigsaw, or table saw, and install them with the same technique. The last row can be a bit tricky because you will be working tight against the wall or in spaces like beneath a cabinet overhang.
9. Finish Up
Once you have installed all the laminate flooring planks, remove all the spacers. Now install baseboard moulding along the room’s perimeter and make sure the gaps along the walls are entirely hidden.
The planks are easily cut, with the cut edges hidden by baseboards and moulding, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. Make sure you get the best planks you can. Remember that many Toronto flooring providers offer discount flooring so you should be able to find something within your budget.
Make sure you know exactly what you are doing before starting any DIY laminate flooring installation. One mistake can mean buying the planks again. Have questions? Contact an expert in laminate flooring installation.