Which Way Should You Lay Laminate Flooring – We spoke to a flooring expert to get installation tips to help prevent lumps, bumps, gaps and cracks.
When you start figuring out the size of your starting line, you also need to make sure the walls are parallel. You may be installing laminate in a room that is 6-in. narrower at one end than the other. This means that you have to tear off the heavily tapered last row, and it looks ugly. If one side of the room is not permanently covered with furniture, it is better to divide the gap and narrow both the first and last rows so that neither side is so noticeable.
Which Way Should You Lay Laminate Flooring
All seams of the underlay must be taped. It’s tempting to use tape found in a pickup truck, but don’t. Some packing and wrapping slips are too stiff and can cause annoying wrinkling when stepped on. Use the tape recommended by the underlay manufacturer or purchase an underlay with built-in seam tape.
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Our flooring professional recommends installing the underlay perpendicular to the way the boards are installed. The underlay does not “bubble” when the floor covering is installed. He also recommends installing only a few rows of underlayment at a time to prevent it from tearing up with boots.
Laminate flooring systems do not work well on uneven surfaces. Before commencing flooring work, inspect the subfloor. Crawl around in a straight line to find areas that are more than 1/8 inch high or low. Subfloor seams are the usual suspects.
A coarse-grained belt sander will knock down the seams pretty quickly, but you may need to rent a commercial floor sander to sand down serious peaks.
Falling into the floor creates a soft and spongy part of the laminate floor. Most dips can be taken care of with a trowel and vinyl floor cloth. Buy the quick-dry variety if you want to start installing the floor the same day.
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“Avoid self-leveling floor compounds, especially on older homes,” says Jay, our flooring pro. “It can take a truckload of self-leveling compound to level an uneven floor. And oh yeah – it’s time to screw the plywood to the joists wherever there’s creaking.
Cutting laminate with a miter saw gets noisy and dusty pretty quickly, and walking back and forth to the miter saw is not very efficient. Instead, use laminate shears to cut the boards quietly and cleanly right where they are to be installed.
Installing flooring around doorways is one of the most difficult problems you will have to deal with. Simplify it by starting with the wall with the most doorways. Of course, you still have to cut and trim the jamb, but it’s much easier to start at the doorway than to stop there.
It’s tempting to find the longest, straightest wall and start knocking down tables. The problem is that if you reach the opposite wall, you can break the thin floor covering. It does not look good and is difficult to install.
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Plan ahead by snapping together a section of four or five pieces, place it against one wall and make a pencil line on the outside of the joined piece, then slide the section towards the opposite wall, lining it up with the pencil line. Walk around the room like this to determine if you should start with a torn row and how wide it should be. It’s not an exact science, but it’s a quick way to get a good idea of the width of the final row without doing the math.
From time to time it is necessary to tap a plank into place or to compress an uncooperative plank. Yes, you should use a tapping block, but to avoid damaging the brand new floor, attach the victim scrap and tap it to prevent the edge of the new flooring from breaking.
If you actually read the instructions for most laminate flooring, the pieces have to be clicked in sequence. Some flooring (usually the cheap stuff) is almost impossible to install this way without damaging the planks. If you’re having trouble, join the whole row of butt ends together and then attach it as if it were one long piece.
If you are installing flooring that continues through the doorway, it is best to leave a gap (rather than butting the flooring together) so that you have a transition strip between the rows. Place the gap directly under the door so that the transition strip makes sense visually. A transition bar allows you to treat each room as a separate project. This allows for more flexibility in your design and layout.
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It is often impossible to avoid falling into a doorway. When this happens, it’s a bit tricky because you have to slide the floor under both jambs. Here’s how to tackle it if you need a little carpentry:
Plan a seam in the center of the doorway. Notch and cut the first piece to fit, then slide it all the way down the jamb. Notch the second piece so that it is just short of the door jamb when in place. Lift the flooring around the corner and under the cabinet, then secure it.
Once the two pieces are connected, slide them both far enough so that both slats cover the ends of the flooring.
Laminate floors expand and contract with changes in humidity and temperature. So before starting any laminate work, pay attention to the furniture in the room. Heavy furniture, such as a pool table or a fully loaded bookcase, can pinch the laminate, causing it to separate as it expands or contracts. The trouble starts when you have two heavy pieces of furniture directly opposite each other that hold the floor. To avoid problems, you need to either lose one piece of furniture or use a different flooring material. How much weight is stuck on the floor? A good rule of thumb is that a typical laminate floor can still move properly under a fully stocked refrigerator
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The hard shell knee pads you wear for roofing and landscaping are not the knee pads you should wear when installing flooring. There’s no doubt about it: the floor is hard on the knees, and the wrong knee pads will scratch laminate floors. To install the floor covering, you need pads with cloth, foam or soft rubber material at the business end. Gel-filled pillows are the most comfortable because the gel helps distribute the weight.
We no longer support IE (Internet Explorer) as we strive to provide a site experience for browsers that support new web standards and security practices. I install the laminate floor according to the showroom standard every time. It’s really easy if you know how Follow these simple instructions. DIY tips and tricks for the perfect installation of floating click floors, including tips for installing the floor yourself
The two most important things to get right when installing laminate flooring are where you choose to install the first boards and what tools you use to cut the laminate flooring.
Generally, I consider two things before deciding on the first line placement to start the installation. Which wall is the straightest and which is the most difficult spot?
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A little judgment call must be made. Ideally, in a standard square room, I’ll start laying the floor on the longest, straightest wall, if it’s parallel to the direction I want the floor to run (I generally lay the floor so it runs in the same direction as the incoming light). Once you’ve snapped two or three straight lines together, it’s usually plain sailing after that.
This can be an area with four doorways that is much quicker and easier to manage now at the start of the installation if you can slide the floor back and forth a bit more. These areas would be much more difficult to deal with at the end when you have much less room to maneuver (more details on installing laminate in doorways at the bottom of the page).
If you need to know the tools I use to cut and install laminate flooring, check out my laminate flooring tools list and get ready first.
Before installing laminate flooring, you need to acclimatize the boards by leaving them in the room where you are going to store them for at least two days. Check the instructions that come with the tiles as this will help prevent problems from excessive contraction/expansion of the floor after installation.
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When installing laminate flooring over wood, I make sure all screws are countersunk/buried and nail heads are driven below the surface first.
Concrete sub-floors must be level and in the worst case may even require latexing or other leveling compound to make the floor level enough to install a floating floor.
A waterproof membrane must be installed before installation
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