How To Install Laminate Flooring
Installing laminate flooring is a great way to improve the value of your home. Laminate flooring is an alternative to more expensive hardwood, and is more of a DIY project. Installing laminate flooring in a 12' x 12' room will take approximately one day to complete and one person can do this project but a helping hand will sure help.
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- laminate flooring install kit
- jig saw
- tape measure
- electric miter saw
- small table saw (circular saw will do)
Installing Laminate Flooring
To start the job of installing new laminate flooring, you must first clear the room of all furniture and existing carpet and baseboards. Then check the subfloor for squeaks and/or loose areas. If you find either of these conditions, secure the subfloor with either ring nails or deck screws driven through subflooring into the floor joists below as required. Now you can vacuum or sweep floor to remove any debris.
Before starting to lay the laminate flooring you need to determine which direction you will lay it. Generally speaking most people will lay it running with the longest dimension of the room, but this is not a rule that must be followed it is up to your liking. Once you have figured out which way to run the flooring measure the distance from wall to wall then subtract 1/4" from each end to allow for expansion and contraction of the flooring.
TIP: Laminate flooring is a "floating" floor and will not be nailed down so it must be allowed 1/4" clearance around openings, walls and other obstructions.
Roll out and cut of a piece of foam under lay and place it against the wall that you have decided to start against. You can secure it to the subfloor with a couple of staples if you want but make sure that they are well sunk and will not rub on the back of your new flooring. Now click together some flooring pieces end to end and determine what measurement to cut the last piece to. Cut this piece with your electric miter saw and click it onto your first row. Place some 1/4" spacers along the wall you are starting at, approximately 2' apart. Now slide your first row of flooring up against those spacers. They will give you the space you need for expansion and also give temporary support to your flooring as you click in more rows.
Now that you have one row, continue by adding more rows until you complete the room. You must stagger the end joints of each piece in each row by at least 12" from the last row you completed.
TIP: I like to start with my first piece in my first row being uncut then the first piece of my 2nd row being 12" shorter then it, followed by the first piece of the 3rd row being 12" shorter then the first piece of the 2nd row. Then on the fourth row start with a full piece again and so on. Just be sure when doing this that the very last piece in every row will be at least 8" long, if it will not then just adjust the length of your first piece in every row to make it work out.
It will be necessary as you go along to use the tapping block and pry bar found in the laminate floor installing kit to help click the pieces together. Once you have about 4-5 rows all put together it will make your flooring slab much more solid and easier to work with. Remember to add more strips of foam under lay as you go.
TIP: Lay the strips butted together not over lapping.
When you get to the final row you will likely have to cut the width down to fit along the wall, remember to allow 1/4" expansion space. After the flooring is all clicked together remove any spacers you had along the walls and reinstall the baseboards. Anywhere that the new flooring meets another flooring surface you will need to install a floor transition trim piece. These usually have a metal channel that gets attached to the subfloor and then the trim piece has a spline that fits into the channel.