Laminate Flooring Installation Tips

by Nancy

Completing a perfect laminate floor installation may seem challenging, but there are some basics that make the project much easier. These tips make installing a new floor a simpler, more streamlined project from start to finish.

Give It Time

Store laminate flooring inside for at least 72 hours before installing it, and take the materials out of the box during the acclimation period. When stacking the materials, place the planks in several stacks, rather than one large stack, to allow maximum exposure to the indoor climate. This allows the flooring time to acclimate to indoor moisture levels and temperatures, reducing the risk of expansion or contraction after completing the install. This step is especially important when installing flooring with wooden components.

Measure First

The distance between walls can vary, even within the same room in the home. Measure the distance between each opposing wall at various places throughout the room before beginning the install to prevent miscalculations in materials estimates. If uneven walls are an issue, begin alternating ripped, or cut, flooring edges between each affected wall to create a smoother, more even edge.

Prepare The Underlayment

The underlayment is a necessary foundation that helps keep floors even and insulated over time. Choose higher quality underlayment materials, and use a level to detect uneven spots in the subfloor before moving on with the project. Smooth depressions in the subfloor by filling them with patch material, and sand high points until they are even with the surrounding area. Ideally, the subfloor should be installed at a perpendicular angle to the overlying laminate planks.

Use Moisture Barriers

Always use a recommended moisture barrier between the subfloor and flooring. Moisture barriers reduce humidity to slow expansion and contraction of the laminate floor, but also reduces the risk of warping when using products with natural wood.

Check the manufacturer recommendations to choose the right moisture barrier to use with the laminate floor, and only use laminate floor materials when the subfloor is within the recommended humidity ranges. Generally, laminate materials are very versatile and work well with a range of humidity levels.

Choose The Right Materials

Use materials that are specifically designed for laminate installations to prevent problems in the future. For instance, underlayment tape that is specifically recommended by the flooring manufacturer provides a better seal than all-purpose tape. Check the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before beginning the project, and gather the necessary materials needed before beginning the install for a faster finished project.

Get Help

A laminate floor installation professional may be the best option if the installation isn’t going as smoothly as planned. Not only do professionals have the right tools for the hob, they also know the most effective installation method for your home’s subfloor and humidity levels. Although laminate materials are easy to work with and install, a professional installation can create a perfectly smooth finish that lasts for many years to come.