Before installing a laminated floor you should consider the following:
- What type of project is this? (new building, replacing existing floor, covering existing floor)
- What quality of laminate flooring are you looking for? (Grade31 or 32/ AC3 or AC4)
- What kind of laminate flooring are you looking for?
- What type of flooring or subfloor do you currently have?
- Where would you like to install your new flooring? (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, stairs, etc)
- Are there problems on the current floor or subfloor? (cracked concrete, flaking, moisture)
- It is important to assess your flooring needs before engaging in any kind of flooring remodel,and this assessment should include the amount of foot traffic the intended area will incur.
- Preparation of Subfloor
Consider what subfloor you intend to use. The beauty of a floating floor is in its adaptability. A floating floor can be placed over nearly any subfloor, including concrete, wood subfloor, or existing flooring. The floating panels can mask some irregularities in the substrate, such as embossing in vinyl flooring, but any major dips, dents, or lumps should be eliminated before installing the panels. If concrete is to be used, verify the dryness year round, and if unsure, apply a concrete sealer prior to the installation.
To test for humidity if you don’t have a moisture meter available, tape a 10cm x 10cm section of clear plastic to the concrete slab, forming an airtight seal. If condensation or discoloration appears on plastic after 24-48 hours, the moisture content is likely too high for most wood products.
- Selecting the best laminate for the job
It is important to select a floor that fits your needs. You will need to decide on the following:
• How high will the foot traffic be in the area you would like to install the laminate
• How long would you like your floor to last
• What is the humidity like in the space
• What colour would best match your décor
• How would you like the floor to sound when walked on (depends on underlay used)
• And of course, what budget are you working with per m2
- Measuring up
When measuring for a layout, be sure to take into consideration cut outs and unevenness of a room. For example, in a 4 x 5m room with a 1×1.2m cut out, the area of the floor surface is 18.8m2. Be careful not to neglect closet spaces, though, as they will need to be covered as well. When sourcing materials, it is generally good practice to buy a 10 % average on all materials – meaning if you need 100 m2, buy 110m2. This is done to insure that there is plenty of material in case of mid-work mishaps, or any damaged or discoloured pieces. Additionally, it is a good idea to keep several pieces after the job is completed, in case anything should happen down the road that would require a repair of the floor. In some cases, a manufacturer might discontinue a type or color of floating floor, leaving its prior customers scrambling to find replacement pieces during a repair.
Useful measurements to remember:
Standard door = 0.833m
Double door = 1.2m or 2.2m or 2.4m
Standard passage = 1m
Wardrobe or kitchen cupboard depth = 0.6m
- Selecting the best profiles for the job
There are a number of profiles that come into play when assessing an area in which to install a floating floor.
Transition/ T-Profile – Used to join laminate in places such as doorways, or join laminate and any other floor of the same height
Reducer/ Adaptation Profile – Used to join laminate onto another type of floor of a different height.
End profile – Used to stop the laminate floor against a vertical edge such as a sliding door or some types of built-in cupboards.
Quarter round – This is mainly used to cover expansion gap between laminate and cupboards or around the outside of existing skirting.
- Tools Required
- Considering the direction in which the floor will be laid
Before laying the floor assess that the planks can be installed parallel to the main light source in the room. This enhances the appearance of the floor and reduces any visible bulges in the boards as the floor ages.
– Leave the planks packed in the centre of the room where you are going to install the laminate floor;
– Leave the planks to acclimatise for 48 hours depending on the local temperature and air humidity;
– The ideal room temperature is approx. 22°C and the ideal air humidity approx. 55%;
– Check the state of all planks when unpacking them. Laminate planks with visible defects must not be installed.
- Installing Underlay
There are two types of underlay available at Flooring Depot:
1) Plastic and Aerothene Underlay – Used in 90% of laminate installations. Plastic and aerothene underlay is available in 2mm thickness on a roll of 1.5m wide.
2) Rubber lay – it is a porous rubber sheet used together with an isolating plastic membrane to deter noise and feedback when walking on the floor above it. It is a very good sound barrier and retains it’s bounce. Rubber lay is available in 2mm, 3mm, 5mm at 1.37m wide. We do not recommend installing laminate flooring on more than 3mm rubber lay, as the bounce and flexibility are likely to weaken the joints of the floor when carrying weight.
Begin laying the floor in the top left corner of the room going right. The groove of the plank has to be facing away from the wall. It’s important to remember to leave a gap of 8mm between the wall and the boards. Use wood or plastic spacers to maintain the expansion space until the installation is complete. This expansion space is integral to proper installation, as it insures that if the floor should swell at all – as wood is known to do when introduced to moisture – there will not be any incidents of crowding or misalignment on the floor’s overall surface area. Place a plank in the corner, with the tongue side turned towards the wall. Roll the front edge of the second plank into the first plank by using the tongue-in-groove method and continue until the first row is ready.
- Undercut Doorframes
Undercut doorframes – lay a loose plank upside down on top of a section of underlay against the frame to guide you for proper height and allow installed planks to float under the gap. Saw the bottom of the doorjamb case moulding back to the wall studs, so that 8mm expansion gap is maintained while laminate is fitted underdoorjamb case moulding. At the end of the first row, mark and cut the last panel to obtain the suitable length to fit the remaining space. Cut the panel with the décor side facing up if using a fine- toothed handsaw, and with the décor facing downwards if using a jigsaw. As you get to the end of each row cut the planks as required to fit into the remaining space and remember to scatter them as you begin to lay each new row.
Always saw laminate planks with the decorated side turned down to prevent damage to the décor.
Place the plank at an angle against the plank in the previous row. Press the edge forward against the previous row, and then fold down at the same time. Do not press together completely until the whole row is complete. Once the row is finished lift it up at an angle and click it firmly into the previous row. This is done in order to maintain a straight line. Repeat this with each row. The distance to the walls can be adjusted when three rows are completed. Remember to place the flooring at 8mm from all walls or other vertical obstructions such as cupboards or columns. Use full width scrap plank and 8mm spacer to mark your cutting line on last row.
When cutting the last row, place a full row of planks directly on top of the last row installed planks (keeping the tongue in the same direction as the installed planks). Use the full width of scrap pieces of plank, insert a 8mm spacer between wall and scrap piece of plank. Place a pencil next to the edge and trace a line down the planks following the contour of the wall. Cut planks on the pencil line and connect last row.
In areas such as a doorjamb or cabinet kick base where planks cannot be angled to lock into place, use a wood chisel to remove the locking ridge from the bottom of the plank groove. Apply a thin line of adhesive to the bottom groove, and gently tap the plank into place using a pull bar and hammer. Next, apply enough strips of painter’s tape across this seam to hold the joint securely in place until the adhesive sets. Using a clean, soft cloth, carefully clean up any excess adhesive on the surface of the planks.