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What Are the Best Questions to Ask Before Buying Laminate Flooring

Dear Bob and Betsy,
I’m excited about getting new floors in my living room! I’ve narrowed down my choices and I’m just about ready to buy. What are the best questions to ask before buying laminate flooring?
– Mark W.

Dear Mark,

Buying new flooring is both exciting and a little bit scary. You want to make the best choice for your home, budget, and long-term comfort, but how?

Asking smart questions before you buy your laminate flooring is the best way to know that the purchase you’re about to make is the right one for your home. Here are some of the questions we recommend asking before you buy any new type of flooring.

How much will I need to do to prepare my subfloor?

Preparing a subfloor doesn’t have to be labor intensive or costly.

Before you install your flooring, make sure your subfloor is level. Look for any cracks, bumps, or swelling in the floor. If you see any, make sure they’re fixed before you start the installation.

When the foundation is ready, all you need to do is sweep away debris and dry the floors of any moisture. Because laminate can be installed on concrete or wood, you don’t have to worry about ripping out old materials or paying for demolition.

How soon can I install my flooring?

It’s understandable that you’re excited about installing your new flooring, however we encourage you to wait at least 48 hours. That’s how long it takes for your new floors to become acclimated to the humidity in your home. During this time they’ll stretch, expand, or shrink. It’s better to have that happen while the flooring is still in the box rather than after it’s installed.

Do I need to allow extra room for my flooring to expand after I install it?

The manufacturer of your flooring will suggest an expansion space. This is the space that you should leave to allow extra room for your flooring to move after installation. Follow this advice to avoid your floors buckling or cracking. To hide the unsightly expansion space, use floor boards.

Do I need underlayment?

Yes! Underlayment works to protect your flooring from damage and moisture. If you get 3-in-1 underlayment, you’ll also have a noise barrier that protects against the hollow sound that can sometimes resonate while you’re walking.

Laminate flooring is one of the easiest types of flooring to install on your own. Still, it requires some skill and the right tools. Ask yourself or our flooring experts these questions before installing your floors for the best results.

About Bob and Betsy

Bob and Betsy are the dynamic duo that have all the answers for your flooring related questions! Don't hesitate to submit a question to them at support@bestlaminate.com!

8 comments

  1. Hi Anne, There are many laminates and vinyls that you would be able to use for a second story. We would recommend using a laminate with an AC rating of 3 or higher. Browse and Chat here!

  2. What is the best laminate flooring for a second story home and stairs?

  3. Hi LP, thanks for your question. You shouldn’t worry about vertical expansion gap, as the flooring will expand more width wise verses height wise. Moldings are instructed to sit right above the flooring.

  4. Hi,
    I was wondering if someone might be able to answer a question for me?

    My question is related to undercutting door jambs for a laminate floor install. I understand the need to do so for the clean look while still maintaining the required expansion gap under the frame for potential horizontal expansion. My question is whether there is also a need to leave a vertical expansion gap as well? I see that most people use a spare piece of underlayment and a spare piece of laminate floor as a guide to draw the jamb and casing cut line. Using that method, the end results look nice and the casings and jamb are basically on top of the laminate when done. That is what I did as well and it everything looks fine. However, now I am wondering if I really should have to cut it at a higher point in the jamb to allow for a (3/8) expansion gap above the finished laminate at the jamb? If you go by the Pergo instructions they do mention this, but I don’t see anyone doing it. Plus, it would not look great doing so.

    I guess, my question is….do I have to also worry about vertical expansion and the need for an expansion gap at the bottom of a door jamb and casing? If so, it would look pretty bad.

    Thanks in advance if you can answer my question.

    Regards,
    LP

  5. Hi Jerry, check out this article for more info on this installation: https://www.bestlaminate.com/blog/can-i-install-laminate-flooring-under-a-bathroom-toilet-and-sink/ If you still have questions, let us know!

  6. I am considering putting water resistant laminate in my bathroom. All the laminates I see are fairly smooth and slick. Once the toilet is replaced on Laminate, what is to keep it from moving/sliding around?

  7. Hi Sally, great question! As long as you correctly install the laminate and have a proper subfloor, it should be fine under a small trampoline with 6 legs. If you have any additional questions, let us know!

  8. Will a classen 8mm laminate floor tolerate use of a mini trampoline. The trampoline has 6 sturdy legs with rubber soles and I weigh ~ 135 pounds.
    Thank you for your response

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