Wondering how to install laminate flooring in your home? Laminate is a popular option for high-traffic areas because of its significant durability. Laminate floors are more than just beautiful and durable; they're also easy to install. And being budget-friendly, laminate wood flooring is a great choice for a DIY flooring project. Even if you've never installed a floor before, it's easy to put new floors in your home in less time with just a few simple tools.
You can install a floating laminate floor in just about any room, including kitchens, especially if you choose water-resistant or waterproof laminate flooring, but you'll need to be careful about wiping up any spills immediately. If you like this idea, check out our selection of beautiful kitchen laminate flooring and choose from different colors and styles to get the ideal match for your kitchen.
Installing Laminate Flooring: Planning and Preparation
Preparation is one of the most important parts of installing laminate flooring, and the effort you put in at this stage will help ensure a long-lasting finish. First, you need to get the room ready by removing the baseboards around the perimeter of the room. Then, you should thoroughly sweep the entire floor or vacuum it.
Laminate flooring can go directly over most other flooring materials, but you should ensure that the subfloor or old flooring surface is flat, smooth, and clean. If the old floor surface is uneven or damaged, you will need to remove it and lay down a rigid underlayment of thin plywood instead.
Next, you need to put down underlayment – thin foam sheets help absorb sound, provide a thermal barrier, and make it easier to walk on the laminate. And if you are laying laminate over concrete, you should also install some vapor barrier to protect the flooring from moisture.
How to Lay Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring needs to be laid with an expansion gap of between 10–12mm around the edges to allow the flooring to expand and contract with changes in humidity. You should also ensure that the final row of boards is at least 60mm wide. To achieve this, you should plan ahead and reduce the width of the first row if required.
So how to lay laminate flooring? It's best to start at the left-hand corner of the wall where the door is. First, trim off the tongues (not the grooves) from the boards that will edge the first wall. You can do it with a sharp utility knife or use a table saw or circular saw.
Begin laying the first row with the trimmed edges of the planks against the wall. You should start on the right side and work to the left. Insert the end tongue into the end groove and rotate downward to assemble. Keep planks aligned and joints closed. Place spacers of scrap wood between the flooring and the wall to maintain the gap for expansion.
When you reach the left end of the first row, the last plank will likely be too long, so you'll need to cut it with a circular saw or jigsaw. The cut-off end will form the first plank in the second row. The rows of laminate planks should have a staggered, sawtooth appearance to ensure that seams never line up in adjacent rows because it would compromise the structural stability of the flooring.
Install the planks for the second and subsequent rows. Insert the tongue of the second-row plank into the groove of the first-row plank at a slight angle until the laminate edges meet. Then lower the piece flat to the floor to lock the joint. After that, you should tap the plank into its neighbor in the same row with the hammer and tapping block or pull bar.
Cut the planks of the last row and install them using the same tongue-and-groove fitting technique. Complete the installation by removing all spacers, and then install baseboard molding along the room's perimeter to hide all the gaps along the walls.
Laminate Flooring on Stairs
Installing laminate flooring on stairs is an excellent idea, and it's a popular choice for homeowners. The main reasons are that laminate is easy to clean, durable, and one of the easiest floors to install on stairs, especially for people who have experience with DIY flooring installations. Next, we'll go over how to install laminate flooring on stairs so that you can match your stairs to the rest of your floor.
How to Install Laminate Flooring on Stairs
You'll need to glue a couple of pieces of your flooring together tongue to groove to keep them secure for fitting. And once it's dry, you can cut that piece to fit your tread and the riser.
Leave your tread slightly short, so you can fit your stair nosing piece onto the front. Install the tread first, then the nosing, and the riser after. Glue it all to the subfloor with construction adhesive. Don't use glue alone; we also recommend drilling pilot holes and using screws. After that, you should use filler to hide the screws. You can also use a nail gun.
You should always use wood flush stair nose pieces to complete the look of your stairs – it will give laminate flooring a rounded edge. At Stone and Tile, you can find a large selection of flush stair nose moldings and other wood moulding trim pieces available in various styles and shapes.
Laying Laminate Flooring: Final Word
Laminate flooring is moderately easy to install yourself if you've got the time and the right tools. You don't need any grout, mortar, or adhesive because laminate simply snaps together and lies in place. Laying laminate flooring will take no more than one day for almost any room and looks like putting together a large puzzle. But you should bear in mind that different laminate designs may have different fitting methods, so it's essential to check the manufacturer's instructions.