March 3, 2020

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How to lay laminate flooring

You don’t have to be a DIY expert or even an enthusiast in order to know how to lay laminate flooring successfully. This popular type of flooring is both practical and hard wearing. Laying laminate flooring can be carried out by anyone as long as some basic guidelines are followed and manufacturer instructions are heeded. A laminate floor will last for years and requires minimal upkeep. The following article offers step-by-step instructions regarding how to lay a laminate floor.

What is laminate flooring?

The name derives from its composition, a layered synthetic material. Including particleboard wood base (that includes melamine resin and fibre board materials) with a photographic appliqué that is protected by a clear finish or protective layer. Laminate wooden flooring includes a real wood top layer. Fitting laminate flooring in the home is recommended for spaces that are not subject to damp or humid conditions. Everywhere except bathrooms and laundry rooms in other words.

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Laying a laminate floor, step by step instructions

#01. What you must know before starting

Temperature, room humidity and the condition of the sub floor are crucial to a successful laminate flooring installation. Make sure the ambient humidity levels are between 45 and 65%, the sub-floor moisture content is also critical. Different flooring materials have different requirements. A concrete floor for example should have a reading of no more than 3% on a moisture metre. Laying a laminate floor requires an even surface, no more than 3mm deflection over a length of 1 meter. The laminate flooring packages should be stored in the room where it is to be installed for a minimum of 48 hours.

#02. How to cut laminate flooring

As with any DIY job it’s important to have the right tools at hand. When it comes to how to cut laminate flooring a jigsaw is ideal however a hand saw should suffice. Remember to have a pencil and measuring tape handy for cutting laminate flooring. Other useful laminate floor tools include a spirit level (2 meters), knee pads and a Moisture Metre.

#03. Laying the laminate floor

Before installing laminate flooring it’s important to start by reading the manufacturers instructions. There are subtle differences between type of laminate and the sub-floor and the supplier will not accept liability for problems if the basic site conditions are not satisfied. A floating type floor over an underlay is the most common type of laminate floor.

#04. Where do you start when laying laminate flooring?

Begin with the longest section of wall, preferably a straight one. A 10mm gap will be required between the wall or the skirting (if it has not been removed). Use a spacer. Cut half a length and continue till the end of the row. The next row should start with a full length plank and any subsequent joints should not be less than 300mm. This ensures better performance over the lifetime of the laminate product. The planks normally click into place when connected.

#05. Does it matter which direction you lay laminate flooring?

Yes. Generally speaking the laminate flooring should run along the longer axis of the room. If laid perpendicular to the main light source this also helps to highlight colour and texture. It’s also important to make sure that the laminate runs in the same direction in all rooms if used over several rooms on the same floor level.

#06. How to fit laminate flooring in a hallway

A 10mm gap around the perimeter of the room where the laminate floor is to be laid is required. This includes door openings, stairs and radiator pipes. A Scotia trim can be used to cover the gap subsequently.

#07. Laying laminate flooring around door frames  

A door saddle is normally part of the laminate installation when used between connecting rooms. This helps cover the 10mm gap required around door frames and should be matched with the laminate floor.

A DIY guide to laying different flooring options and home tiling

Remember that the choice of floor and wall finish in the home depends on the room’s specific conditions. Whether it is subject to damp or humidity, how much wear and tear there is, if the finish is simply decorative. A professional is always recommended when installing a floor finish or carrying out tiling. But a DIY enthusiast can do the job. Follow these links for how to lay vinyl flooring or how to lay parquet flooring. For wall tiling follow this link how to lay subway tiles.


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