For homeowners who love the look of hardwood but want a more affordable flooring option, laminate is a no-brainer. Not only is it attractive and easy to maintain, but it’s also one of the easiest flooring materials to install. Built like a puzzle with a tongue-and-groove structure and edges that snap and click together, laminate floors can easily be installed by the average DIYer. So if you’ve got some basic tools and you’re ready to follow directions, scroll down to learn how to install laminate flooring . . .
How to Install Laminate Flooring
PREPARATION. First, measure the room to determine the square footage. To be on the safe side, plan on purchasing about 10% more flooring than is necessary. You should also check your toolbox to see which of the necessary tools you already have on hand and which you need to purchase. You can purchase your materials at a flooring supply store and/or a classic hardware store. You will need:
- Laminate flooring
- Foam underlayment (if the flooring doesn’t already have underlayment attached)
- Pull bar
- Tapping block
- Hand saw (or coping saw)
- Tape measure
After that, you need to prepare the laminate flooring. About a week before installation (or at least 72 hours prior), remove the packaging and lay the laminate in the space where it will be installed. This will help it acclimate, since laminate floors are known to shrink and expand in response to temperature and humidity levels. Next, remove the base moldings, pull up the old flooring, and clear away any debris. Finally, if the laminate doesn’t come with pre-attached underlayment, lay down the foam underlayment you’ve purchased following the manufacturer’s instructions.
INSTALLATION. Ready to install? For best results, install your planks parallel to the longest wall in the room. Measure the wall and cut the planks for your first row. Take your time at the beginning, because the first row is crucial. The plank’s tongue should face the wall and the end of the first plank should be tucked into one of the room’s corners. Place a half-inch or quarter-inch spacer (check the manufacturer’s instructions) between the row and the wall every twelve inches, so that the laminate can expand and contract naturally.
When the first row is finished, move on to the next. Match the tongues and grooves, snap the planks together, and tap gently with a hammer or mallet to ensure a snug fit. Continue on, making sure to stagger the ends of your planks by about 6-12 inches for a more natural look. Use pieces of cut planks to begin new rows.
FINISH. As with the first row, take your time with the last row because its spacing and length might be tricky. Trim the board if necessary and check that the plank is flush. Use a pull bar and hammer to lock the last row into place. After that, you simply need to remove the spacers and re-install the base molding.
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I don’t know about you, but I am floored. How simple was that?
If you’re interested in purchasing laminate flooring, be sure to check out the selection offered at Curran Design Center, a small, family-owned and -operated business located in Nixa, Missouri. With brands like Bella Cera and Shaw, which are easy to install, easy to maintain, and available in a variety of styles, you can be sure that you’ll find the right flooring product to suit your style, home, and budget. To learn more about our laminate flooring options, please give us a call at 417-724-1018 or click here for a free consultation.