How to Install Laminate Flooring

Installing laminate flooring is a typical home improvement project that requires very little advanced skill. As long as you have a good sub floor, installation requires very little preparation and can be completed in a short time. If you do not regularly use tools or are concerned about the quality of your sub floor, call a professional contractor for installation. Otherwise, follow these tips.

A good sub floor has a smooth and even surface and is normally made of wood. If you have existing laminate floor, take the time to remove it to extend the life of your new flooring. Also make sure that there is no debris on the floor and the sub floor is clean. Do not attempt to install laminate over tile or masonry floors.

Remove the stove, refrigerator, and any other large appliance on the floor. There is nothing worse than replacing a refrigerator just to find that the new flooring has not been installed underneath the appliance, resulting in a gap that must be fixed. Take this time to clean around your appliances and remove them to install the flooring.

Measure the room where you are installing the laminate flooring and make a diagram. Make sure to take as accurate measurements as possible and label any irregularities in the room. These irregularities include protruding cabinets or islands.

Once you have a clear diagram with accurate measurements, unroll the flooring you have purchased and draw out your floor plan full sized on top of it. Cut out the necessary flooring by adding a three inch allowance on all sides. This excess flooring will be trimmed during the last steps.

In the room where the flooring is to be installed, remove any baseboards or molding that affect the floor. If your flooring requires adhesive, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how it should be applied. It is often easier to apply the adhesive in stages, as you apply the laminate flooring.

Always start applying the flooring beginning with the longest wall. Allow the three inch allowance to roll up onto the cabinet kick plate, it will be trimmed later. Slowly roll the flooring from one end to the other, applying adhesive underneath the flooring as you go. Make sure that you are affixing the flooring into the adhesive. Then working from the center, roll out any air bubbles underneath the flooring. If you are installing laminate in a small area, you can use a rolling pin for this step. Otherwise, rent a floor roller.

Next you must address any corners in the flooring. If it is an outside corner, slit the flooring excess until it meet the actual floor. If it is an interior corner, cut off the corner of the excess flooring on the diagonal. Shave enough off so the diagonal meets the corner of the floor.

Now you can trim the flooring around the perimeter of the room. Be sure to leave a 1/8 inch gap between the walls and the flooring to allow for expansion. Trim the flooring using a sharp utility knife and a straight edge. Baseboard should be used to cover this gap. It is important to have a gap, however, to prevent the flooring from buckling in the future.

Clean your flooring of any excess adhesive following the manufacturer’s instructions. Then you should be able to install any baseboards as needed. After the flooring adhesive is fully dry, you can replace any large appliances. Be careful while replacing the appliances so you do not accidentally scratch your new floor.

Installing laminate flooring can be an easy way to cover an existing, undesirable floor. If you can do the labor yourself, it can be an inexpensive update for your kitchen that can be done over the weekend. If you prefer to relax during the weekend or don’t think home improvement projects are for you, call a professional.

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