Flooring is one of the key features of any home which is why choosing the perfect one may not always be an easy task. Every well-designed home should have floors that will provide comfort, durability and aesthetic appeal. Luckily, there are many flooring types you can choose from, but one that has become increasingly popular among homeowners is laminate flooring.
There are many advantages of having laminate flooring in your home. Firstly, the laminate flooring installation costs aren’t as high as opposed to others. Secondly, this type of flooring is very durable and scratch-resistant because of the tough exterior layer and resin coating. In addition to all this, it simulates the authentic look of hardwood which allows you to match the laminate flooring with the rest of your interior decor.
So, if you have decided to install laminate flooring in your home, here are five things you should consider before engaging in this new project.
1. Plan and Prepare
Proper planning for a laminate flooring installation is the best way to make the job go as smoothly as possible. The first thing you must decide is whether you want to install it in the whole house or in specific rooms. This is a very important factor because it will further determine the overall budget you will need to plan beforehand.
Once you have made this decision, it is time to prepare the area where the laminate will be installed. This means completely emptying the room and removing all your furniture, appliances and other objects.
Next, make sure you measure the area which will be covered with laminate correctly and add about 5% to this number in case of any waste materials or accidents. Once you have taken all the measurements, make sure that the subfloor is completely smooth and dry. Preparing for installation this way will certainly result in a trouble-free experience.
2. Gather All Necessary Tools
If you decide to take on this project by yourself, it is very important to have all the necessary tools in order to complete the installation properly. Some tools you may need are clamps, circular saws, tape measure, safety goggles, underlayment, finishing nails and laminate trim.
Besides having suitable equipment for the floor installation, it is important that you possess enough patience and pay attention to details. This means that if you aren’t patient enough, you won’t achieve the desired results. Therefore, hiring a professional is the best way to go about it if you aren’t confident in your skills.
However, if you decide to install it yourself, you can opt for the floating or glueless method. This method is considered less complicated and there can be a reduced chance of failure. It basically consists of locking flooring panels together on the underlay which makes the installation process go faster than the traditional method.
3. Choose the Right Type of Laminate Flooring
There are two main laminate flooring styles and these are engineered laminate and plastic laminate. Even though they share many similarities, both styles differ in some features like their composition, thickness, costs and installation process. For example, the engineered laminate is made from high-quality plywood making it more expensive than the plastic one. Even though it may be more prone to scratches, when it is maintained properly, it can last for a longer period of time.
On the other hand, plastic laminate is a cheaper option and it is ideal for areas that often get wet. Just like the other laminate flooring style, it can last even up to 20 years if it is maintained accordingly. Generally speaking, the thicker the laminate is the more durable it will be. This characteristic is one of the important factors when you are picking out your laminate flooring.
4. Fit the Underlay
Underlayment refers to the material that goes between the subfloor and the laminate flooring to provide cushioning, sound absorption and insulation. Therefore, fitting the underlay boards correctly is the most important step before you install your laminate flooring. Some laminate flooring types usually come with a built-in underlayment, but if your type doesn’t have it then you may need to buy it separately.
These are the steps you need to take for fitting the underlay:
• Ensure that the subfloor is completely dry, you can lay the underlay along the length of the area.
• While doing so, make sure you leave a gap around any pipes.
• Cut off any extra pieces using a knife and secure the seams of the underlay with a good underlay tape if you have a wooden subfloor or a vapour tape if you have a concrete subfloor.
After completing these steps, you can finally install your laminate flooring on top.
5. Install Your Laminate Flooring
When you are installing your laminate flooring planks, it is recommended that you do it with their length parallel to incoming sunlight. You can begin by layering the first row on the longest wall starting from the right side and work your way to the left. Keep in mind that walls are not always straight so you may need to adjust the rows towards the wall or away from it. Also, it is advised that you mix the planks in order to create a nice visual effect.
As you are installing the planks, lock each piece using a hammer and a tapping block. Usually, the last plank will be too long so you may have to cut it and use it to start the next row of planks. Repeat the same technique for the subsequent rows and make adjustments to the planks as you go. Once you are finished, install the baseboard molding around the room’s perimeter to fill in the gaps along the walls.
All in all, laminate flooring is easy to install especially if you are following the instructions correctly. It is a durable alternative and a less expensive option than solid hardwood flooring. Its design can faithfully reproduce the look of wood and other natural materials with fewer defects that may appear in real hardwood. So, when you decide to change your base and give your home a fresher and more natural look, use this guide to help you install laminate flooring easily and successfully.