How to Fit Laminate Flooring
When laying laminate flooring preparation is essential. It's important to use the correct tools and prepare your floor first making sure its clean dry and level. By following this simple guide you can lay your flooring to a professional looking finish.
Laminate flooring is hardwearing and low maintenance so it will suit almost any style of home. However we do not recommend it is used in bathrooms or kitchens as it will almost certainly swell if it absorbs water.
If you have an old concrete floor you can use a self levelling compound (sometimes called latex screed) to smooth out any lumps and bumps. This will be particulary neccessary if using a thin but effective polyfoam underlay.
Nail down or pull out any nail heads and remove all carpet gripper and carpet underlay.
You should remember to store (aclimatise) the laminate flooring boards at room tempratue for 2-3 days before fitting them, so the wood laminate can adjust to the environment of your home. This will prevent more movement once the laminate boards are installed.
Take a small piece of your laminate flooring underlay and a plank of your laminate, and place them next to all doors to the room/area you are laying your flooring in. Mark the bottom of your doors with a line. These doors will need to be removed and planed to this level for a smooth opening once your laminate flooring is fitted.
Finally vacuum the room to remove any loose dirt or grit from your floor. Lay out your underlay starting in one corner ensuring all edges are flush to each other. On concrete floors we recommend the use of a vapourstop underlay remember to tape the edges together to create a fully moisture resistant barrier.
Laying Laminate Flooring
Most people tend to lay the flooring along the longest straight edged wall. If you have a square room then lay the boards facing an incoming light source.
Again, starting in the corner, lay the first laminate board with the tongue pointing towards the wall. Join at the short edges all the way along the first row. Place spacers between every board and the wall to ensure a straight line and a 10mm gap between the first row and the wall. Use a hammer and knocking block to gently push the boards together.
Once you reach the end of the first row you may find the last board needs cutting. To do this simply turn the board 180 degrees and place under the existing row groove to groove. Then mark off with a pencil where you need to cut.
If you are using a hand saw then cut laminated side up. If you are using a jigsaw or other circular saw then cut laminated side down. This minimises any splintering of your laminate plank. Use a pull iron to get the last board fitted tightlyinto the short end.
To start your second row you can use the off cut from the previous row. This reduces your wastage and helps stagger the joints. If you didnt need to cut your final laminate board in the previous row simply take a new one and cut into two pieces about 1/3 along the plank and use the smaller piece.
To fit the second row simply place the tongue of the board into the groove at an angle of about 45 degrees. Gently fit the laminate board down. Dont push to hard this will damage the laminate floor. If you have trouble locking the laminate board into place simply remove it check the grooves and remove any dirt or debris and try again. Then repeat the procedure of row one to fit row two and so on.
To start row three simply continue in the same manner as row two and follow this guideline for all remaining rows.
If the last row of laminate flooring boards are too wide and need to be cut then measure the gap between the existing row and the wall. Deduct 10mm for spacers and cut the final row of boards lengthways. Install as normal, although you may need the pull iron to help with fittting this final row.
Fitting Around Pipes
The hardest part of laying your laminate will be when you reach any radiator pipes. First lay the laminate plank beside any pipes and then mark the positions of the pipes on your board.
Drill the planks at these points using a hole saw and making the hole about 10mm bigger than the actual pipe.
Finally saw across the board to the drilled hole with 2 small cuts shaped in a v and fit the plank and joint tightly using the pull iron, the place the small piece cut out behind the pipe.
You can use a radiator pipe collar to hide the gaps left around your pipe.
Finishing Touches & Aftercare
Remove all your spacers and fit skirting board or decorative scotia around the edges of your room to cover the expansion gaps. Fit laminate threshold plates at your doorways and rehang your doors.
Remember to clean your floor regulary using appropriate cleaning products. Never wash or wet mop your floor and clean up any spillages immediately.
You can protect your laminate flooring from furniture scratches by fitting pads to the bottom of table legs etc.