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How to Install Laminate Flooring

Laminiate flooring tools

The beauty of quality and modern laminate flooring is that it can be fitted without the need of a professional tradesman. Even if you have no previous DIY experience whatsoever, it should still be possible to lay your own laminate flooring, plus it feels so much more satisfying after you have done it.

Not sure how to install laminate flooring? Read our handy guide which will tell you everything you need to know!

You Will Need:

  • Laminate Flooring (this helps!)
  • Underlay
  • 12mm Floor Spacers
  • Cork Expansion Strip
  • Edging
  • Fine Tooth Saw
  • Tape Measure
  • Straight Edge
  • Pencil

Before You Start

Leave the unopened packs in the room that you're going to floor for at least 72 hours, sounds daft doesn't it but this allows the boards to acclimatise to that room's natural conditions.

Prepare the Sub-Floor

The sub-floor is whatever you're laying your new floor on top of. Remove any old carpet, linoleum or vinyl sheet from the sub-floor, along with any existing underlay.

Ensure that your sub-floor meets the following conditions before proceeding:

  • Make sure it's dry? (You can use a moisture meter to check this)
  • It should be flat and level.
  • Ensure it's clean and dust-free.
  • Remove any protruding screws, nails etc.

You are able to install the new floor on top of existing vinyl tiles, however ensure that they are stuck down properly. If you are installing on top of floorboards, make sure they're firmly fixed or cover them with plywood sheets (at least 6mm thick), nailing the sheets down at every 300mm in all directions. Alternatively, cover the old floorboards with fibre board underlay.

Underlay

Time to add your underlay, cover the sub-floor completely with damp-proof membrane (or another underlay product with similar qualities, such as our high performance underlay), once that's done, take a metre-wide strip of foam underlay and lay it along the length of the longest wall.

Laying the Floor

Once you've prepared the sub-floor, added the underlay, and given your new floor 72 hours to acclimatise, it's time to start laying the floor. Open the packs and mix the boards up for an assortment of shades and textures (the floor will look more natural this way). Before laying each board, wipe the tongue/groove with a dry cloth to remove any debris.

IMPORTANT! CHECK YOUR FLOORING FOR DAMAGE BEFORE YOU START INSTALLING IT! NO COMPENSATION WILL BE GIVEN FOR BOARDS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN FIXED DOWN!

Start laying your boards in the right-hand corner of the room (lay them with the 'tongue' side facing the wall - the 'tongue' is the overlap, and the 'groove' is the underlap).

Here's a good tip: measure the room against the boards and see how many rows you need ahead of time so that you're not left with thin boards on your last row. If this would be the case, cut your first row to make the last row wider. Laminate floorboards connect using a simple 'express' loc' system that allows the ends of the boards to snap together. You must leave a 12mm expansion gap around all perimeter edges (including fireplaces and doorways). Use your floor spacers to achieve this, allowing your floorboards to expand naturally.

Note: If you are installing the new floor in your bathroom (or another high-humidity area), you will need to seal the floorboards by running a bead of PVA glue along each groove before installing the board into place.

When you reach the other side of the room on your first row, cut the final plank of that row and use the off-cut to start your second row of boards (unless the off-cut is less than 300mm wide). This will create a 'staggered' effect that strengthens the floor and creates a natural appearance.

Finishing Off

Once you've finished laying your new floor, remove the 12mm spacers and replace them with cork expansion strips. Fix your edging/scotia to the wall (DO NOT nail or glue it to the floor) - this will hide your expansion gap.

If you're still unsure about any of these steps, feel free to drop us an email at hello@floordepot.co.uk.