How to Install Laminate Flooring on Wood Subfloor
Are you tired of your old carpet? Are you looking for something new and easy to maintain? Yes, then you are at the right place. Laminate flooring is durable, economical, and easy to lay.
Installing it is easy due to angle-to-angle and drop-lock fitting systems. I will show you through every stage of installation, including work-arounds for difficulties like baseboards and working around radiator pipes.
It took me less than ten hours to install my laminate flooring. You can do this. Are you ready?
Where NOT to Use Laminate
- It is a great choice for every room excepting laundry rooms and bathrooms because laminates may distort and crumple in humidity.
- It works very well in the kitchen as long as you clean it with a damp but not soaking-wet mop.
- You can use laminate in foyers but it should not come into contact with rain or snow.
Tools and Materials
- Dust pan & brush
- Tape Measure
- Craft Knife
- Knee pads
- Tapping block
- Power drill
- Wood chisel
- Scotia cutters
- Damp Proof Membrane
- 3mm think polyform underlay
- Laminate flooring
- Measure tape
- Wood adhesive
- Pipe collar
- Flooring trim
Select the Right Kind of Flooring
Under floor Hearing
Living room & Bedroom
Bathroom and Kitchen
Laminate 5 & 8mm
Engineered vs. Laminate: What's the Difference?
Laminate is synthetic board with a surface layer printed to look like wood under a protective film. Laminate is made of fiberboard and melamine resin. Its shell looks like real wood, but it isn't.
Engineered flooring is made up of softwood. It's manmade of several wood or plywood layers.
Both types have angle-to-angle and drop-lock fitting systems which give smooth and even surface.
Clean the Surface
You will need to clean and mop the surface where you are going to lay the flooring. Remove the paint, glue, or any other particles sticking to the floor with a help of metal knife. It is also essential to ensure that the subfloor is appropriately leveled. You need subfloor to be smooth, dry, leveled, and swept clean.
Measure the length of your room, then measure the width and multiply them together to get the area in square meters. Most laminate packs contain approximately 2 square meters of flooring so divide your total room area by 2 and round up to find out how many packs you will need. Add 10% for unusable offcuts.
If you are using a flooring trim (baseboard), then do not forget to measure the perimeter of your room and add 10% for any unusable offcuts.
Area = 13.8 Sq.m.
No. of Packs = 13.8 / 2 = 6.9 = 7 packs
Add 10% = 7.7 = 8 packs
Lay a Damp-Proof Membrane
Lay the damp-proof membrane on the surface of the subfloor. Use moisture-resistant adhesive tape to affix it. You can overlap the membrane but make sure that you cover the entire surface of the room. (Wear knee pads, as you will have to kneel down a lot.)
Lay 3mm Polyfoam Underlay
Lay a 3mm polyfoam underlay on top of the damp-proof membrane. Ensure that you leave a 10mm expansion gap at the periphery and around radiator pipes. Try not to let it overlap. Trim it to fit and tape it down.
Acclimatize the Boards
Keep the unopened laminate flooring boxes in the room where you are going to lay the floor. Wait 48 hours before you start the installation so the material has time to adjust to the room temperature. This will reduce the shrinkage in the future.
Decide the Direction of the Boards
Install your laminate flooring parallel to the long wall. However, if you have a neighboring room that you aren't re-flooring, then it will be ideal to install these new boards in the same direction. If you have a square room, install the flooring in the direction of incoming sunlight.
How to Lay Flooring Boards
Start to lay first board from the one corner of the room, with the short tongue end touching the wall. At the both ends of the wall, insert expansion spacers.
Now lay the another board, fixing its short tongue in the long tongue of the first. The board will lock into its place when you lower it. In boards with a drop lock system, you will have to utilize downward action and push the tongue of the second panel into the first panel’s groove. Once you fix the locking, listen for a click. This will ensure that the boards are well connected. You may have to cut the last board to get it to fit into place. Now, you have one line of boards complete.
Now at this point, because you want the ends of boards to fall at different spots and never coincide, you will have to cut a board in the middle and start fixing the second row as you did the first. Ensure that you cut the board at a perfect 90 degrees.
Start the second row with a half cut board. For easy and quick fixing, you can attach few boards together before fixing them in place and locking them with the side of the first row.
As you work, you may observe a gap between the first and second row. With the help of a tapping block and hammer, you can join them firmly. Ensure that you utilise your tapping block while hammering, as it equally spreads the hammering force and prevents damage. If you knock the board without using tapping block, then you might damage it.
Lay more rows, tapping them in place, ensuring that they are locked into each other, and taking care not to let the ends match up with the ends of boards in the previous row.
If you have a radiator in the room, on the board that will meet the pipe, mark the pipe hole with a pencil. Drill it and then fix the board into the place. Ensure that you leave a 10mm expansion gap from the wall. Use wood adhesive to stick the wedge in position. After you're done, clean the extra adhesive and conceal the expansion hole with a pipe collar.
In doorways, if the architrave (door frame) goes beyond the skirting, then do not trip the laminate board to fix it. Better if you cut the architrave with a flay saw and remove pieces of wood with a wood chisel. Thus, the underlay and flooring will remain below and you will get neat and clean finish around the door frame.
A threshold bar fits in a doorway to make a clean joint between rooms. If you are laying laminate up to but not through a threshold, then you will have to conceal the important expansion gap across the entrance. You have to cautiously measure and mark a notch to be trimmed from each end of the threshold bar so that it will fix flawlessly against the doorstops on both sides.
The last finishing touch is floor trim (aka baseboard). Measure the periphery of the room and cut the material accordingly. To cut the corners to a 45-degree angle you can use scotia cutters. Apply adhesive to the back of the trim so it will fix on the skirting rather than on the floor and this will allow the material to contract and expand. Now remove the expansion spacer and press the trim gently and hold it until the adhesive dries.
How to Lay Laminate Flooring
Helpful Hints & Tips
- Start each row with half of the board from the preceding row as it will reduce your wastage and It will make the floor sturdy as well. If you are going to lay floor with this technique, then it will be very difficult to spot the joints and floor will look jointless.
- Be very careful with difficult cuts (such as around a radiator, doorway architrave, or baseboard), because if you cut it wrong, you will not able to use it and it will increase your wastage.
- Don't use a hammer directly on the laminate. It might break.
Health & Safety
- Be aware of children when working and do not let them use power tools
- Do not forget to wear safety gear like gloves and goggles.
- Wear a dust mask while drilling and cutting.
- Always make sure electricity is switched off at the main before carrying out any electrical work.
- Use appropriate ear and eye protection while operating a table saw.
- Handle box cutters and saws with care as they are sharp.
© 2017 Ashi