Laminate flooring is one of the most consumer friendly floors in the marketplace today. Laminate flooring is: easy to install, easy to maintain and cost effective. These reasons combined make laminate flooring desirable to homeowners all around the world. Installing laminate flooring is easier than ever with these 9 steps for successful laminate installation!
Unfortunately, warranty claims against flooring products usually turn out to be caused by wrong floor installation, rather than faulty material. You will have manufacturer warranty coverage as long as you follow manufacture’s instruction. So be sure to read all instruction provided by manufacturer before installing, as different laminate may require different techniques.
STEP 1: Check laminate planks before installation
a. Before stating installation check the flooring materials to ensure they are correct pattern, style and color. Inspect all laminate planks for visible defects. Wipe planks with soft cloth before installation.
b. Packaging of laminate flooring is design to be protected from forklift and other traffic that can damage carton corners. Pay closer attention to laminate that was in the box with visible box damage.
c. Do not install damaged laminate planks! All manufacturers will not pay labor charges or replacement on claims filed for materials installed with obvious visible defects.
d. If you discovered problem after opening 3 boxes of laminate, do not proceed with installation and contact your material provider for assistance.
STEP 2: A little bit of training is good for you
a. Plan everything before you start and have all necessary tools and accessories including proper underlayment, transitions, moldings, glue before you star
b. Be sure to have a thorough understanding of the scope of the project and the expectations of time of completion before starting laminate flooring installation.
c. Use all training resources available. Most of the manufacturers have on their website detailed instructions and/or videos how to install laminate flooring. Use it- it’s FREE.
STEP 3: Subfloor must be checked prior to installation
a. Make sure the subfloor is dry, level and in good repair
b. Clear all loose debris and dirt before laying the foam underlayment
c. Nail or screw loose areas that squeak and replace damaged areas that are loose or have been damaged by moisture.
d. Vapor Barrier underlayment must be used when installing laminate floors over below- or on-grade concrete sub-floor.
STEP 4: Acclimation
a. Store flooring horizontally in the original, unopened package.
b. Floor must be conditioned for at least 48 hours.
c. Do not open boxes until time of installation, atmospheric conditions may permanently alter the product, making it difficult to install. Cross stack the unopened boxes in the room where the floor is to be installed.
d. Maintain temperature and humidity at your job site.
e. Keep temperature of minimum of 65 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity should net exceed 65%. It is important to maintain it 48 hours before and after installation.
STEP 5: Radiant heat
a. Radiant heat must be operating for a minimum of three weeks prior to the installation of laminate flooring.
b. Heating system should be turned off at the time of installation or if in winter should be set at exactly 65 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of 48 hours prior the installation.
c. After floor installation the operating temperature can be increased by a maximum of 5 degrees Fahrenheit in a 24-hour period.
d. Maximum allowable surface temperature for laminate floors is 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
e. Be sure to install vapor underlayment.
STEP 6: Underlayment
a. Laminate flooring requires an underlayment to be installed prior to the floor covering installation.
b. Use regular underlayment when installing your laminate over wood sub-floor.
c. Use vapor underlayment for: wood subfloor over crawl space, in manufactured houses, vinyl installed over concrete, cement subflloor, ceramic tile installed over cement subfloor, radiant floor
d. Be sure to tape together the seams of your underlayment as you are laying it.
e. For impact sound and thermal insulation, please use underlayment such Harmony Silent Underlayment with sound reduction design. This underlayment is good for any type of subfloor.
STEP 7: Expansion joints
a. Laminate flooring is designed to be installed as a “floating floor”– thus it is not nailed or glued to the sub-floor and works as one big “pancake” that expands and contract with temperature/humidity changes.
b. Be sure to leave at least ¼” expansion gap around the perimeter of the floor, and around any stationary objects such as pipes, columns, build in cabinets. Failure to meet this requirement can result in the flooring buckling.
c. Areas grater than 30’ in width or 60 in length (example: one room; two or more rooms with adjoining hallway greater than 4’) must have a T-molding installed across the width of the room to provide additional expansion space.
d. Don’t forget to leave expansion gap when installing your moldings as well.
e. Never fasten your wall base or q-round moldings to the laminate flooring using nails or screws.
f. Nail them to the wall not to your floor! If you have super heavy furniture (grand piano or pool table etc), use custom made “coasters” to evenly distribute the weight over big area.
STEP 8: Take your time to do the final touch!
a. Undercut door jambs and plan how to finish areas around pipes, posts or pillars to have polished look!
b. Do not use calk to hide your mistakes. Take your time to do it right!
c. Use color coordinated transition moldings to give a beautiful finished appearance.
STEP 9: Final advice
a. Never cut your laminate in the room where you install laminate flooring. When small particles of wood dust get stuck in the laminate flooring locking system you may have problem to lock planks together.
b. Most manufacturers have very detailed installation instructions on their web site. Take advantage of it and check it out before installation. It’s FREE.
c. If for some reason in any stage of installation you have doubt in your ability to successfully finish it, hire professional installer who is BBB listed , insured and can give you at least one recommendation. Don’t be shy to call their customer to check quality of his work.
We hope that these 9 steps for successful laminate installation help you with your flooring project! You can never be too prepared.
- Flooring Warranty Guide
- Laminate Flooring Installation: Frequently Asked Questions
- Why Do I Need Underlayment for Laminate Flooring Installation?
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