If you want flooring that looks good but are on a tight budget, laminate flooring might be for you! Laminate is known as one of the more affordable flooring types; plus, it can usually be installed the DIY way. All it takes is a little time and patience and you can save money on flooring installation.
Here are some things to know when it comes to laminate flooring installation:
Laminate Flooring Installation
First of all, you'll need the following materials and equipment:
- Click-lock laminate flooring planks
- Plastic Sheeting
- Tape Measure
- Rubber Mallet
- Tapping Block
- Painting Tape
- Wood Putty
- Painting Tape
- Hand Saw or Circular Saw
It might seem like a lot of materials, but the first three are crucial for ensuring the sturdiness and durability of your laminate flooring, you probably have the middle four somewhere around the house, and the last six can be found at your local home improvement store at reasonable prices.
Step 1: Make sure that the subfloor is clean and flat
A good thing about laminate flooring installation in Allen is that it can be installed over practically any type of subfloor. This includes wood, tile, and concrete subfloors. However, in ensuring that laminate flooring is level, the subfloor must be level, regardless of what type it is.
Before laying the underlayment or the floor planks, make sure to clean the subfloor and check for damages and unevenness. There are ways to fix the unevenness, but you can only fix them if you find them.
Step 2: Place the underlayment
There many different underlayment available to homeowners. However, almost all options will be of foam material. Foam absorbs sound, provides a slight cushion for foot traffic, and provides a barrier to help with insulation. Perhaps most importantly, an underlayment can fix any slight unevenness to the subfloor. All you have to do is place the underlayment over the subfloor and tape it secure by the edges with painters tape. You should also ensure that the underlayment is free of wrinkles.
If the subfloor has significant damage or is significantly un-level then a layer of plywood will probably be needed before underlayment is installed.
Step 3: Preliminary Layout
Before you get started with installation, prepare a layout by putting the laminate planks into the places you expect to install them. This will give you an idea of which planks will need to be cut and how many rows of planks you will need. It will also give you an idea as to what your flooring will look like.
Step 4: Take your time installing the 1st row
The first row of laminate is the most important in terms of installation. It’s best to start off on the right foot, otherwise you might end up having to redo the installation. You’ll have to cut the tongues off the boards that are facing the wall. To clarify, each plank has a tongue and a groove. One side of one plank (the tongue) will click and lock into the other side of the other plank (the groove), like puzzle pieces.
Since the tongues of the planks facing the wall won’t have anything to attach to, you can just cut them. Lay the first row parallel to the longest wall in the room; start from the right and work left (if you're facing the wall). Place spacers about ¼ inch between the wall and the first row of planks. A ¼ inch gap is important because it allows space for possible expanding and contracting of the ground over time.
For securing the ends of the planks, take a rubber mallet and tap one end 2-3 times to make sure the seams are firm, but be careful to not be too aggressive otherwise the ends may split.
Step 5: The following rows
It won’t take long for you to get into a rhythm when it comes to your laminate flooring installation project. Once you finish up the first row, you’ll basically just be repeating the same process for the next rows. The end of each row will probably need some cutting. You'll have to cut the end pieces to make them fit against the wall, or in this case, up against the spacer. The pieces that are left over after cutting can be used to start the next row, and so on and so forth…
Make sure that each laminate plank is staggered to avoid seams from lining up. Seams that lineup will detract from the overall appeal of your flooring.
Step 6: Finish the job
Take out the spacers and install the baseboards to cover the ¼ inch gap. When nailing the baseboards back in, it's best to take wood putty and fill in the hole left from the nail. Then, just paint over it and no one will be able to tell it was ever there.
Those are the basic steps for laminate flooring installation. Your laminate wood packaging should come with more detailed installation instructions. The purpose of our instructions was to show you how easy laminate installation can be. The cutting can be tricky; it’s best that someone who has experience with a saw handles that part. Other than that, it’s similar to putting together a puzzle
What makes laminate, laminate?
Laminate consists of multiple layers that are fused together to create one plank. These layers are, in order:
Melamine Wear layer– withstands the overall wear and tear caused by general foot traffic in a room. This layer is scratch-resistant.
Print Layer– imitates real wood through an advanced high-resolution image. For instance, an image of an oak floor can be taken and turned into a print for a laminate plank. The image looks quite similar to actual wood flooring.
Fiberboard– The thickest layer, also known as the core, is fiberboard and typically 8 mm to 14 mm in width. This layer plays a major role guarding against denting and moisture absorption.
Backing– Added layer meant to support the core layer and provide yet another layer of protection against moisture absorption.
Why is laminate a good flooring choice?
We already discussed what laminate is made of and how easy it is to install. But what else does laminate have to offer?
What draws most people to laminate flooring is it's affordability. Since it's not made of real wood, you won't have to pay the price of real wood. You'll be getting a less expensive floor that imitates hardwood and even triumphs hardwood in terms of durability.
For example, laminate flooring can better withstand moisture than hardwood flooring. Its layered composition makes moisture absorption more difficult. Also, real wood isn't part of laminate flooring, so you won't have to worry about the effect moisture has on wood, such as molding, cupping, or crowning.
In the end, laminate flooring is known more for its functionality than its appearance. It looks quite nice, but its strong point is truly its ability to withstand everyday wear and tear. With laminate being able to prevent moisture damage, it can be installed in rooms of a house that hardwood can't or rooms where it's risky to install wood, like bathrooms, kitchens, basements and laundry rooms.
Laminate typically costs around $4- $5 per square foot. When you think about it, it's much more inexpensive than other popular floor types, including hardwood, stone, porcelain and ceramic. Additionally, the cost of its installation is also much less than other types of flooring. Even if you don’t install your laminate flooring yourself, professional laminate installation services are also quite affordable. Professionals can install laminate flooring quite quickly.
Laminate flooring quite easy to maintain. You won't need much other than a vacuum, a mop and a broom to keep it clean. Dust and dirt can't get stuck into laminate, so these simple cleaning products will effectively keep your laminate flooring clean. Even though laminate isn't waterproof, it doesn't have as much of a problem as real wood flooring - you should be fine as long as you wipe up any spills. When it comes to mopping, just don’t pour the water directly onto the surface. Instead, dip the mop into a bucket of water and then proceed to clean the floor.
Additionally, laminate flooring is hypoallergenic. Since the surface is flat and dirt can't get stuck, you don't have to worry about anyone suffering from allergies caused by dirt collecting. Most flooring types don't affect those who suffer from allergy, the only exception is carpeting. All kinds of allergens get stuck in carpet.
Laminate is more versatile than it may seem. As you know, laminate contains a print layer. The print layer isn't just for hardwood images. Prints of stone flooring and tile can also be used. Whatever type of flooring you want, you can find a laminate version. Moreover, if you can't afford the real material, laminate is - without a doubt - a worthy alternative.
The one downside of laminate flooring…
The lifetime of laminate flooring tends to be shorter than some other flooring types. Eventually, the wear layer will wear away. Once the wear layer weakens, the floor will become more vulnerable to scratching and overall wear and tear.
Wear and tear threaten hardwood as well, but hardwood can be sanded and refinished virtually an endless amount of times. You don't have the same luxury when it comes to laminate flooring.
Most laminate flooring options are backed by a 10-year warranty. Laminate flooring lasts about 10-15 years. If you maintain your flooring well, you might be able to add on a few more years. Ultimately, you’re getting what you paid for. You get a versatile, functional flooring material at an affordable price.
Nadine Floor Company
If you're interested in laminate flooring, give Nadine Floor Company a call! We have plenty of laminate flooring options available, and out experts are always available to answer any of your questions.
Additionally, if you need your laminate flooring installed, Nadine Floor Company can help! We’ll complete an estimate to figure out the dimensions and then we’ll complete the installation in a timely manner.