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Laminate Flooring Installation Guide
Laminate flooring is a great and budget-friendly alternative to real wood flooring. Thanks to modern-day technologies, nowadays laminate flooring mimics real wood floorboards down to a tee. In addition, laminate flooring is significantly less prone to moisture damage, therefore, laminate installation is often selected for areas of the house where humidity and temperature fluctuations could be an issue for real wood flooring, such as the kitchen, bathroom, basement. You might be interested in laminate flooring installation and fair enough so, it is an attractive, durable and pretty affordable type of flooring that lasts for many years. In case you are already planning a laminate flooring installation or just wondering whether to choose laminate flooring installation or some other type of flooring, here is a comprehensive guide to laminate flooring installation by our experts. We hope with this laminate flooring installation guide we can help you make the right choice.
Laminate Flooring Installation: Necessary Tools
Laminate flooring installation is an easier and faster process when compared to the fitting of real wood flooring. Therefore, laminate flooring installation is often practised as a DIY project. You can get involved in the laminate installation process as far as you feel confident enough you understand how laminate installation works, or you have any previous experience. In case you are considering a DIY laminate flooring installation, or you are simply interested in the topic, let’s discuss and list all the tools you are going to need for proper laminate flooring installation and achieving flawless results:
- Hand saw or electric chop saw
- Measuring tape
- Knee pads
- Moisture metre
- Pull bar
- Spirit level – 2m long
Laminate Flooring Installation: Preparation
Now, you have gathered the whole set of tools for laminate flooring installation. It is time to do the required preparation on-site in order to prepare the room, subfloor and flooring materials for laminate flooring installation and ensure the best results and a lasting floor. First things first, before you start the installation process, make sure to thoroughly inspect the floorboards. In case you spot some defects or issues, do not start with installation but contact the seller and ask for a replacement.
In case there are no defects or major ones that will affect the condition and performance of the floor, you can continue with the laminate flooring installation. Before the installation stage of the process, you want to prepare and ensure the right site conditions. Ensuring the right site conditions is very important as this can determine and affect the floor permanently. In fact, poor site conditions are the number one reason for laminate flooring installation failure. Therefore, you always want to start by inspecting and checking the subfloor, its moisture level, the overall moisture level on-site.
Indeed, laminate flooring is less prone to moisture damage compared to real wood floors, however, it is still affected by moisture, humidity and temperature fluctuations and can get damaged by such. Therefore, make sure the humidity levels in the room during laminate flooring installation are a standard 45% to 65%, subfloor, no matter if concrete or timber, must have a relative moisture content not exceeding 12%MC on a surface prong test, and subfloor levels should not exceed 3mm over a 1m distance in any direction. Overall, you need to make sure the subfloor is dry, clean and levelled before you continue with the laminate flooring installation.
Laminate Flooring Installation: Acclimatisation
Just like real wood flooring, laminate floorboards require an acclimatisation period to be allowed before laminate flooring installation. In order to let the laminate floorboards acclimatise before the installation, you need to store the floorboards out of their packaging on-site for 48 hours. This allows the floorboards to get used to the conditions in the particular room where laminate flooring installation is planned and helps you minimise the risk of potential damages of the boards due to contracting and expanding because of the moisture impact after laminate flooring installation. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions and requirements before laminate flooring installation and always act accordingly in order to ensure the best results, a smooth and stress-free laminate flooring installation and a durable, hard-wearing and long-lasting floor.
Laminate Flooring Installation: Underlay
Installing a layer of underlay before laminate flooring installation is very important, essential for the process and for the durability and functionality of the laminate floor once it is fitted.
Before laminate flooring installation, always make sure you are choosing the right type of underlay according to the specifics of the project and the floor as well as your requirements and needs. There are different types of underlayment that serve different purposes.
In general, the main purposes of most underlays is working as a moisture barrier between the floor and the subfloor, improving the insulation of the floor, working as a sound-proofing barrier, and overall ensuring comfort with a cushioning effect.
Laminate Flooring Installation: The Process
Finally, once you have prepared the site and materials for the upcoming laminate flooring installation, it is time to talk about the laminate flooring installation process itself. Before you continue with the laminate flooring installation, always make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions and follow the recommendations.
During laminate flooring installation, you need to leave an expansion gap between the floorboards and the walls along the perimeter of the room. The expansion gap is a few millimetres of room left for a specific purpose – allowing the laminate floorboards to expand when affected by high moisture levels without getting damaged or breaking. Expansion gaps are not visible as it is covered with skirting boards or other sorts of flooring accessories. Laminate flooring installation is a quick and easy process.
The most popular and common type of laminate flooring installation is a click-system fitting, which means the laminate floorboards come with a specific design and the click-system as part of it, so all boards click together to create the flooring structure. You always start the installation of the laminate floorboards from the furthest from the door entrance corner of the room and you are moving your way towards the door entrance. Generally, thanks to their click-in system, laminate floorboards are pretty easy to install, which makes them a great choice for DIY projects.