Most people know that if they are looking to put in a wood floor, they also have the option of using laminate flooring that very accurately mimics the look, feel and durability of real wood. What they may not know is that there is also laminate flooring out there that mimics the look, feel and durability of a ceramic floor, so renovations you may have been putting off for cost reasons may now be affordable. Getting the job done is cost effective and not overly labor intensive, so even the novice can readily improve the look of a room very readily.
First you will need to purchase your supplies. Make sure to measure the room accurately before going to the hardware or flooring store. The following items are all you need to properly install your new ceramic-look laminate flooring.
Drill and Drill Bits
Laminate Flooring (be sure to purchase a bit in excess to allow for uneven spaces)
Seam Tape for Underlayment
Heavy Duty Glue for Flooring
Scrap Pieces of Wood (to be used as spacers)
Caulk and Caulk Gun
Transition track (if needed)
Now to get started you want to prepare your room for the work that is going to be done. This means taking off existing baseboards and cleaning and completely drying the floor surface you will be working on. You can put laminate tile on top of most floors, just be sure to read the manufacturer’s directions before proceeding. In most cases, the only type of flooring it can not be placed on is carpet; for obvious reasons.
Once the baseboards have been carefully removed, and the floor cleaned and dried, you need to cut your underlayment to fit, using your scissors. You can do the whole floor at once, or do it one strip at a time. The latter is preferable if you do not wish to take excess care in preventing tearing as you go.
Do not allow foam to overlap because that will create an end result of an uneven floor. Tape seams together to help prevent this. Do not skip the step of underlayment, as some people might tell you is possible. The finished flooring just is not the same without it. You can choose moisture barrier (recommended for kitchens or baths), noise reducers, or a combination of the two (I recommend this type for any room, including kitchen and baths).
Measure your room and divide the width of each laminate plank by the entire width of the room you are covering. Make sure to do the same for length prior to beginning. You want to make sure the end pieces are equal in length and so you are going to need to cut them accordingly (remember to don your safety glasses when cutting). Also allow for the room necessary for expansion (you will put the homemade wood spacers in place as you work to ensure there is the necessary gap).
Start at one side of your room and work towards the other. Snap the pieces together as you go, remembering to put your wood spacers in place about every ten inches or so. If the manufacturer recommends it, use glue to secure them in place. Make sure that you are staggering your joints as you go. Staggering the joints requires that you cut the pieces as you go. Make sure to allow room for pipes, heater vents, etc. that you will encompass along the way. Create a pattern from pencil and paper to create a proper cutting line for these. If you have a cylinder to cut around, such as a pipe, you may want to cut half a circle on one piece and then on the fitting piece for an easier and more accurate fit. Use your tapping block to ensure each piece is properly snapped into the one next to it. Use your pry bar to get the last row of planks to fit in place properly.
If you need a transition track now is the time to put it in place, just inside of your door opening. Cut it to size and use your drill to fasten it in place. Use your tapping block to get a snug fit.
Reinstall your baseboard with finishing nails (or put in new ones if you see fit).
Put your base trim and/or molding in place to cover where your expansion gaps are. Cut the edges with your miter box. You can use a hammer and nails to attach it to the baseboard or wall.
Fill any holes you have with caulk and allow to dry. Sand smooth by hand with sandpaper. You now have a floor that is every bit as attractive and functional as ceramic, at a fraction of the cost.