The Education Centre: How to install Laminate Flooring?
Thanks to a click together joint that requires no gluing or dimensional stability, laminate makes a great option for anyone looking to install their own floor. Suitable for most room refurbishment projects; laminate can be installed by anyone who has a little D.I.Y experience.
With that mind, there are certain things you still need to take on board when it comes to installing your new laminate flooring. To properly ensure it remains durable and meets your needs, just follow our guide below to learn the basis of installing your laminate floor.
Top tip: order up to 10% more flooring than you need to allow for wastage
How to acclimatise laminate flooring
This is the first and one of the most important steps to take. For at least 48 hours before your laminate floor is laid and kept in the room where it is going to be installed. Lay the flooring at an ambient temperature of at least 18°C, a floor temperature of at least 15°C and relative humidity between 50% and 60%.
A constant temperature must be maintained before, during and three days after the installation takes place. This process helps to stabilise moisture levels as naturally as possible because laminate flooring can expand and contract slightly with changing temperature and humidity. If this is allowed to happen then gaps or peaks can appear, ruining the look of your floor. Check out our How to Acclimatise Your Floor guide.
How to prepare to fit laminate flooring
Laminate flooring can be laid on most types of subfloor that are clean, dry and level. Common types of subfloor include sand and cements screeds, timber floorboards, plywood or chipboard. On ground floors a sand or cement screed subfloor is most likely, and these require special attention to make sure they are ready for your new laminate floor.
No matter what subfloor you have, it should provide a level and smooth surface for your new floor. Minor subfloor irregularities can be accommodated by specialist underlays. Our recommended guidelines are that your subfloor shouldn’t deviate more then 5mm in any plane over a 3m length.
Top tip: If you’re installing onto floorboards or plywood, ensure it’s solid and free from any movement. Any screws or nails should be flush to ensure a flat and even surface ready for your laminate floor.
How to install your underlay
This step depends on which type of subfloor you have:
- If you’re installing over a concrete slab you will need to use and underlay which has a built-in damp-proof membrane. Tape the underlay down using packaging tape to make sure it extends up the wall at least 5 cm.
- If it’s a wooden subfloor, you will not have to use an underlay with a damp-proof membrane, tape the underlay together, or run it up the wall.
- For installation over underfloor heating ensure you have an underlay that distributes heat evenly across its surface.
How to cut laminate around objects
- Mark your laminate – pencil or chalk will do
- Pick your tool – chop saws are good for repetitive cuts, especially on the short end of laminate boards
- Time to get cutting – depending on your tool will depend on the direction you cut
- Notch the planks – you should use a jigsaw to do this, leave a ¼ inch expansion space so that there is room for the pipe
- Circular saws are good for cutting long straight lines
- Jigsaws are good for cutting laminate to put around things like pipes, or other curved objects
How to fit and lay laminate flooring
Our laminate floors fit together simply thanks to their click-system. You should start laying from the parameters of the room. Make sure that the groove side of the boards face the wall. The first board on the first row should be a full board, and the second row should start with a 2/3 board. The first board on the third row should be a 1/3 board, and the fourth row starts with a full board again. This pattern will go on until the entire floor is covered with laminate boards. The end joints of one row should be about 8 inches away from the end joints of the next row.
Even after acclimatisation, laminate flooring will still go through normal expansion and contraction as humidity and temperature levels vary. This means that there should be a small gap of 10mm between the edge of the room and the laminate to allow for this.Even after acclimatisation, laminate flooring will still go through normal expansion and contraction as humidity and temperature levels vary. This means that there should be a small gap of 10mm between the edge of the room and the laminate to allow for this.
To maintain this gap during installation, you’ll need spacers, these are available in our Easy Installation kits. After you have installed the floor you can cover this expansion gap with scotia/beading or new skirting boards. The 10mm expansion gap also needs to be left in doorways where the floor follows through from one room to another; we have a full range of door profiles available to match your floor.
How to fit and lay laminate flooring
For this and all areas of installation, please follow the specific manufacturer’s step-by-step instructions for your flooring – these can be found on the individual product detail page, listed as ‘Installation guide’ you may also find our ‘Maintenance guide’ helpful too to ensure your floor stays looking as good as the day you fitted it.