- Gathering the tools
- Measuring the room
- Choosing the laminate
- Removing old flooring
- Preparing the subfloor
- Underlayment, Sound barrier, and Vapor barrier
- Cutting the board
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- DIY vs. Hiring a professional
Aesthetic and trendy – two words that describe the ideal floor laminate. The best floor laminates do not feel out of place and are placed and laid down to perfection. The process of laying floor laminates is relatively straightforward, and you can do it on your own if you have the proper resources. To lay down new floor laminates in a room, you need two things – the right tools and lots of time. Covering an entire room in laminates may take a little over two days. For large rooms, the number keeps going up. Let’s go about laying floor laminates step by step.
Gathering the tools
It would be best if you could procure the proper tools ahead of the process. Having the right tools goes a long way in making your work easier and quicker. Good quality tools add finesse to your work that nothing else can match. So, what tools do you need throughout your flooring endeavor?
A jigsaw is a mechanical blade that efficiently cuts wood. You can use it to alter the length of new laminates to suit your requirements. It is a handheld power tool that holds a blade in place. The motor in the jigsaw makes the blade move to and fro, allowing you to cut laminates to your desired length. While other tools may cut better than the jigsaw, it makes this list because it creates less wood dust and is less noisy. You can, however, choose a cutting tool of your choice for the same goal.
A rubber mallet is used in flooring circles to even out surfaces without tarnishing the quality of the laminate. Mallets are instrumental in “persuading” pieces of floor laminates to come together at the joints, ultimately evening out the surface completely. You can also use a metal mallet instead, but we prefer rubber because it is quieter. Any kind of mallet is not hammered directly onto the laminate. Instead, it is used along with a tapping block. You are supposed to hit the mallet on the tapping block, which is kept on the laminate.
The name of a Pull bar is tricky. It does the opposite of what it sounds like. When you laminate an entire room, the laminates connected to the wall cannot be tapped into place using a mallet and tapping block. Here, you use a pull bar and mallet to bring all laminates to the surface. The pull bar is a flat ruler-esque bar bent downwards on one end to make contact with the laminate and bent upwards on another end for you to strike the mallet.
Measuring tools are arguably the most essential tools you will need to lay down new floor laminate. The most vital element of these tools is the measuring tape. You cannot complete your work without the measuring tape for obvious reasons. It would be best if you also had a T-bevel and a Combination Square for accurate measurements of angles.
Measuring the room
The next step in laying down the laminate involves measuring the room. Use your measuring tape to carefully deduce the length and breadth of the room in which you want new laminates. Once you have the numbers, preferably in feet, you can multiply them together to calculate the room’s square footage. For example, a room that is 10 feet wide and 20 feet long will have an area of 200 sq. ft. That will allow you to calculate how much you will have to spend on laminates.
Generally, a standard box of laminates can cover an area of 30 sq. ft. You can confirm these numbers by contacting your laminate vendor. Then, simply divide the room’s square footage by the square footage of one box of laminates to get the number of boxes you will need for the room.
Measuring the room is an integral part of the process because it allows you to get an overview of the entire procedure before actually breaking ground.
Choosing the laminate
Floor laminates are a fantastic invention – inexpensive and easy to install. However, one of the trickiest parts of the installation process is actually purchasing the suitable laminate for you. There are a couple of factors that you should consider before making a choice.
The thickness of your laminate is one of the most crucial aspects of the product. Floor laminate films must be between 6mm and 12mm in thickness. Laminates thicker than 12mm are difficult to work with since they require a more strenuous regimen to be laid down on the floor. Conversely, thinner laminates are fragile and might break or not stick to the floor all too well. The best laminates are the ones with a thickness of 10-12mm. These boards generally have hardwood designs and are particularly close to the quality of the wood itself. If you are looking to cut down on costs, then you can gamble with thinner laminates. However, keep in mind that thin laminates only work well if you have a smooth subfloor.
Installing floor laminates is not a challenging task. However, it is crucial to verify the installation process from the vendor. Most laminates only have to be “persuaded” to wrap the floor. Sometimes, you might end up with a product that requires some other method, like a layer of adhesive. In that case, it is best to hire a professional handyperson for all your troubles.
With the completion of your laminate purchase, you are ready to start the physical labor in your flooring endeavor. So, let’s rush back home and dive right into it.
Removing old flooring
To get the ball rolling, you have to uproot your old flooring so that you can lay new laminates on your subfloor. Removing different forms of flooring is tricky because each type of flooring has to be pulled out of the floor differently. So, let’s understand how each type of flooring is detached from the floor.
A carpet exists in a big roll when you purchase it and install it on your floor. Therefore, removing carpet flooring from a room is the easiest when you do not want to save it for future use. A simple method is to cut out the room’s shape by leaving approximately 6 inches of space from all walls in the room. That way, you can rip apart the carpet as you wish and pull it out from the floor. You can use a utility knife to cut the carpet up into small pieces. Then, you can cut the middle parts of the room accordingly. It is also easier to cut the remainder of the carpet because it has already been cut from one side.
You have to be a tad bit careful when it comes to cutting out vinyl and linoleum. Sometimes, you can add new floor laminates to the existing vinyl flooring if you have a considerably smooth subfloor. Doing this will also raise your flooring thickness considerably, and it might take you some time to get used to it.
If you decide to remove the vinyl flooring, the first step is to cut the floor laminate into 6-inch strips with a utility knife. Ensure that you cut your vinyl into strips in the same direction of veins that your hardwood subfloor has. Then, use a putty knife or chisel to disengage the laminate from the floor. Similarly, pull out all the strips of the vinyl to expose the glue on the subfloor. You can then use any paint scraper to remove the old adhesive.
The most common method for removing wooden boards from the floor is to find the grains in the wood and slice each vertical slab into smaller pieces. That way, you create wooden sections approximately six inches wide and one or two feet long. Now, you can easily remove all these wooden boards with a pry bar and mallet.
After removing the wood, you will find nails and staple pins in the ground. Remove these metal filings with nail claws and magnets to clear out the subfloor.
Preparing the subfloor
The next important step in the process of laying down the laminate is preparing the subfloor. There are four criteria in your subfloor checklist. Your subfloor should be – clean, level, dry, and structurally sound.
Laying over a concrete subfloor
Laying down laminate over a concrete subfloor is a slightly challenging task. The concrete subfloor must be clean, i.e., it should be free of all dirt, dust, adhesive, wax, paint, etc.
It is also essential to make sure your subfloor is dry before you lay down new laminates. You can find moisture kits that will help you analyze how dry or wet your floor is.
Your subfloor should be level and plain. In most cases, your subfloor will be well-made and plain. However, it pays off to check the levels of the subfloor before laying down new laminates. If you find uneven spots on the subfloor, you need to use files and chisels to smoothen the surface.
Laying over tile subfloor
If you want to lay down laminate over a tile subfloor, it is important to ensure that the subfloor is flat, smooth, and even. The tiles that hold up the laminate must not be chipped or broken. In that case, You must remove that tile before you fit in laminates.
If the tiles have deep and wide grout lines, then your laminate may not stay evenly. In such cases, you will have to remove the tiling.
Underlayment, Sound barrier, and Vapor barrier
Underlayment refers to the thin layer of foam, fiber, felt, or rubber placed between the laminates and the subfloor. The coating is responsible for bringing in some level of cushioning on the floor. It also acts as a soundproofing element and reduces the wear and tear of your flooring.
A Vapor barrier is a necessity in most modern-day constructions. It is instrumental in preventing the onslaught of moisture on the building. Impermeable materials like polythene layers are generally used to create Vapor barriers. The materials used as Vapor barriers are used to prevent dampness from entering the floors and walls of the building.
A sound barrier is a structure built to cut down the propagation of sound. It uses dampeners like a foam to absorb sound into the walls and floors to create rooms that do not let out loud sounds. Because of sound barriers in your floors and walls, your neighbors do not complain about your loud music.
Cutting the board
You can use a traditional hacksaw to cut laminates because they are approximately the same consistency as wood. Once you are satisfied with your measurements, mark a line using a pencil or chalk on the laminate and cut along it with your hacksaw. You do not have to use adhesive for most laminates, so you can press it in after cutting and be done with it.
If you have to make curved cuts to the laminate to fit in certain parts of the room, you have to use a jigsaw. Mark the curve that you need on the laminate. Then, keep the portion of the cut hanging in the air off a table, hold the other end under your hand on the table, and make the necessary cut with the jigsaw. Now, you’re ready to push the laminates into the floor.
Start with the first row
The most effective way to install smooth and flat laminates across a room begins with a single row. You must plan your installation process while you are taking the measurements – whether you will start laying across the length of the breadth. The best way is to check the width of one layer of laminate and start laying on the side, which is a perfect multiple of the width. That way, you will not have to cut an entire row of laminates to complete your room.
Clicking down the laminates
Most laminates in the market do not require any form of adhesive to be installed.You can simply click the laminates into place. Ensure that you leave no gaps between two rows.
You can fill and cement the gaps between laminate rows using wood glue and extra bits of laminate. If there are patches of the room that cannot be covered using the traditional shape of the laminate row, you can cut a piece from it and stick it in place using wood glue.
Baseboards are essential because they hold the laminate in place from every end of the room. You have to remove the baseboards on your walls to lay down the perfect laminate. Once you are done with the lamination of the room, you can go back to installing the baseboards to their original spaces again.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take to install laminate flooring?
Typically, it would take 2-3 days to completely re-laminate an average-sized room. For every additional 200 sq.ft., approximately, add an extra day to your schedule.
Which direction do I lay the laminate in?
The best method is to follow the directions on your subfloor board. You cannot go wrong if you lay down the laminate along the same lines as the main floorboards. Alternatively, you can check the width of the laminate sheet and lay it down from the side of the room, which is a multiple of that width.
Where to start laying down planks?
You can start laying down planks of vinyl, tile, or laminate from any corner of the room. Corners give you a good sense of line and length along the periphery of the room. You are also able to lay down planks parallel to the walls and in a straight line. Your work will be least shabby if you start with corners and move across the walls.
Do I need to glue floating laminate?
No. Floating laminate is not supposed to be glued down. Gluing such planks can damage them. The most important part is to read the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. Since most laminates do not need to be glued down, you need to think about using adhesive on floating laminate.
Is it hard to install laminate yourself?
Installing and laying down laminates on your floor is an intermediate-level DIY project. If you have just started handling construction jobs on your own, you might find laying laminate to be a tough job. However, for someone who has considerable experience in home management and construction, laying laminate is not a complex or demanding job.
DIY vs. Hiring a professional
Laying laminates is not a very difficult or complex task that has to be done with a professional handyman. An experienced DIY enthusiast can easily handle the job on their own.
The difference between DIY work and professional work is the time taken to complete the job. Let’s assume that a DIY enthusiast and an experienced handyman start working on two exactly similar rooms at the exact same time. You will find that the pro will be done with their job at least half a day before the enthusiast is. However, if you go ahead and look closely at the quality of work that both workers have done, you will find the difference to be negligible.
It is ultimately up to the customer to decide whether they want their work finished urgently or not. The work done by both parties, in this case, is approximately the same. The only difference is that the professional handyman’s work is more polished because of better quality tools and more experience.