Laminate Installation FAQ

Q: What tools do I need to install this floor?
You will want to have the following tools handy: a hammer; a tapping block and pull-bar; tape measure; masking tape; laminate glue; a drill for installing transition strips; table saw; jigsaw. While these tools are not always necessary, you may run into situations where you will need to use them.

Q: Can laminate flooring be installed in basements?
Yes, laminate flooring can be installed in basement. Follow the appropriate underlayment selection- vapor underlayment is needed for all over cement subfloor installations. Do not install on any floor with a drain and make sure you subfloor is level.

Q: How long do I have to let the floor acclimate?
The recommended time for acclimation is 24 hours. In colder months, you will want to extend this time to 36-48 hours. Be sure that while this process is taking place, you have the room temperature set above 65°F with a relative humidity of 75%.

Q: How can I protect my floor in heavier traffic areas, such as in front of the door or in the kitchen?
Even though most laminates today are glue-less, that does not mean that you can not glue them. Areas such as these can be protected much more effectively using laminate glue in the seams- especially where water damage could be a problem (such as in front of a sink or dishwasher). For foyers and entryways, it is best to lay down a rubber-backed mat to collect dirt and mud from people entering/exiting the area.

Q: Do I have to remove my current floor?
A: Laminate flooring is a floating floor system- meaning it is designed to cover any floor surface without being fixed to it. This makes it possible to cover almost anything- from linoleum to vinyl, ceramic to hardwood, and of course concrete and plywood sub-floors. Carpet is the only exception; while it is possible to install laminate over industrial carpet, any other type must be removed along with the padding underneath.

Q: What is the underlayment- is it necessary?
The foam underlayment is essential to the bow and flex of the laminate. Being a wood product, it will expand and contract with the climate of the room- and the foam allows it to do this without any friction between the laminate and the floor underneath it. The only situation in which you would not need the underlayment is if you are installing the laminate over industrial carpet. For installation over concrete, you must first put down a plastic vapor barrier before laying the foam.

Q: Can laminate flooring be installed in bathrooms and/or laundry room?
Yes, however you have to follow “wet area” installation rules. You need to seal the floor on the perimeter of the room and add a bead of glue to the tongue on the planks to be used in the areas subject to have spills. You should be aware that many warranties that come with laminate flooring do not include areas with a high moisture content- check if your flooring brand is allowed to be installed in wet areas.

Q: Can laminate flooring be installed on steps?
Yes, laminate floor can be installed on steps, but the planks should be glued with regular wood glue. The moldings and transitions need to be nailed down.

Q: Do I have to glue or nail or staple anything?
No. Most laminates are glue-less and click together. Since the laminate is a floating floor that expands and contracts, you do not want it fixed to the floor underneath it- which means that nailing and stapling are absolutely excluded from the installation process.

Q: What should I use to cut the floor?
Any type of saw with a medium-coarse blade works fine for cutting laminate, however the best option is to use a table saw for all of your straight cuts, and a jigsaw where you need to cut around doorjambs and other obstacles. When cutting the laminate, it is very important that the teeth of the blade are cutting INTO the decorative surface of the laminate- this way all chipping takes place on the back side.

Q: I have a heated floor. Can I use laminate?
Absolutely. Floors with radiant heat are no problem- you just want to be sure that the temperature is below 80°F at all times. Turn the heat down to 60°F one week before installation, so that the floor can properly acclimate to the room temperature. As with installing over concrete, a vapor barrier is required underneath your foam underlayment, to protect against humidity.

Q: What should I use to clean may laminate flooring?
A: On daily basis vacuum, use a dust mop or wipe with a damp cloth . The best method is to sweep up the loose dirt, and then give it a once over with a dust mop . Laminates are made to be stain resistant- so cleaning is a breeze. If, however, you do get some stubborn dirt, you can use a DAMP sponge mop, with some dish-soap and hot water. Be sure to avoid over-saturating the mop, as too much water will cause damage to the laminate. Do not use soap based detergents or mop and shine products as they may leave a dull film on your floor. Do not use abrasive cleaners, steel wool or other products that can scratch your floor. Do not use wax or polish your floor! Use products designed to clean laminate flooring. Tough spots can be removed with nail polish remover or acetone.

Q: Can damaged laminate floor be repaired or replaced?
Scratches and mini imperfections can be repaired using Wood Fill Kits. With serious damage replacement is the only option- call professional for help.