Laminate Flooring Installation Tips – Torto Wheaton Research (2023)

Many DIY enthusiasts choose laminate flooring because it’s very easy to install. The process is also inexpensive. It’s important to work efficiently and correctly every step of the way. However, you must know a few things before starting the project.Laminate Flooring Installation Chicagoincludes how to prep the floors and lay the laminate planks properly.

Laminate Flooring Installation Tips – Torto Wheaton Research (1)A good preparation process can make a big difference in the success of a project. It involves a lot of planning and organization and is about something other than rushing things. It’s about taking time to understand the problem and figure out how to solve it efficiently.

A subfloor is the base layer of a flooring project and must be prepared correctly to avoid problems down the road. If the floor is made of concrete, grind off any high spots and use a leveling compound to fill in low spots. It’s also a good idea to remove any carpeting or padding, as these may be too thick and can cause problems down the line.

The best way to prepare your subfloor is to clean it thoroughly and dry it out completely. This will ensure that there are no dusty or damp areas to be avoided during the installation of your new laminate floors.

Once the floor is dry, you can begin laying the planks out on the subfloor to acclimate them to the room. This will take at least 48 hours, so make sure that you have enough time in advance to allow for the acclimatization process.

Before laying the first row, make sure that all the planks have been cut to fit. This will involve cutting them from end to end and retaining a gap for your baseboard molding and other obstacles in the room. This will ensure that you have enough material to work with and that your laminate floors can look as uniform as possible.

To help keep your planks looking their best, you can stagger the seams of each individual piece by about 12 inches. This will add stability and prevent the planks from bowing inward as you install them.

Laminate floors are relatively easy to maintain, especially if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and sweeping. They also are resistant to scratches and dents, which can make them ideal for areas with heavy foot traffic.

However, it is important to note that laminate floors are very sensitive to moisture. If they get too wet, they can warp and swell. To prevent this from happening, you should wipe up spills quickly and avoid allowing water to sit for a long time.

When installing laminate, it’s important to choose the right underlayment. It helps to reduce sound, make the floor warmer and provide cushion. It also helps to fill the gaps between the floor and the planks so that it becomes more comfortable to walk on.

There are many underlayment options available for your installation, so you should choose one that works with the room’s subfloor and budget. Felt and foam are two of the most popular underlayment materials for laminate flooring. They are both eco-friendly and work well for a variety of flooring types. They also come with a moisture barrier to protect the floor from spills and dirt.

If you’re installing your laminate over a concrete subfloor, it’s essential to use a good underlayment that has a vapor barrier. This will prevent water from seeping into the floorboards, which could lead to warping over time.

You can also buy laminate with a pre-attached underlayment, which will save you the trouble of laying two separate products. However, you should still purchase the underlayment separately and install it a single strip at a time, starting with the longest wall in the room.

Most underlayment comes with slightly different instructions on how to install it, so follow the manufacturer’s directions to make sure that you are installing it correctly. Once the strips are in place, you can begin laying your flooring.

It’s best to acclimate your laminate flooring 48 hours before you start laying it so that it can get used to the room’s temperature and humidity. If your floors are not acclimatized, it will be difficult for them to fit together properly and they may become loose over time.

The underlayment that you choose for your laminate floor will depend on the subfloor, your budget and your project. Using the wrong underlayment can cause problems during the installation and could result in the floor cracking or becoming damaged over time.

Underlayment should be at least 2 mm thick to help absorb sound. Depending on your lifestyle and the type of laminate flooring you’re installing, you may want to consider using a higher-density underlayment, such as felt or cork. These underlayments are a little more expensive than foam or plastic, but they offer excellent noise reduction and heat retention.

Laminate planks are a type of flooring that does not need to be glued down and can be installed in most rooms. They are also easy to maintain and provide a durable, long-lasting finish for your home.

There are many types of laminate floors, including wood-look and textured options. The key to selecting the right planks for your project depends on your needs and budget. You should consider the core construction and thickness of each plank and the undertones of your chosen floor’s color palette to choose the best fit for your home.

First, install the first row of planks with the tongue side toward the wall and flush to a corner of the room. This will allow for natural expansion and contraction after installation.

Then, use spacers (small sections of the same board) to hold the flooring away from the wall about 1/4 inch. This will help prevent a gap from developing between the flooring and the wall, which could lead to water damage or cause the boards to warp.

Next, install the rest of the first row using the spacers on the sides and end of each plank, as directed by the manufacturer. This will allow for natural expansion and contraction as the room’s temperature changes throughout the year.

Finally, cut the last plank to a length that ends at least 1/4 inch from the wall. This will give you enough room to remove the spacers and install baseboard molding along the perimeter of the room.

Before installing the floor, you should allow it to acclimate to the room’s temperature for 24 hours. This will allow it to adjust to the room’s climate and help ensure that your new flooring lasts as long as possible.

To disassemble a plank, never lift the end joint up and destroy the click mechanism. Instead, slide the plank apart horizontally at the end joint.

You can then connect the end joints of each plank by placing one end of the next plank flat on the floor and slid it towards the groove of the previous plank. Once the joint is aligned, push down on the end of the plank, and it will lock the long side to the previous row.

Laminate flooring is a great way to bring an attractive floor to your home. It’s inexpensive, easy to install, and durable. It’s also a versatile material that can be used in any room of the house.

Before you begin installing your new laminate floors, it’s important to make sure the subfloor and room are properly prepared. You’ll need a vapor barrier and an underlayment of foam sheeting to support the flooring, as well as prevent moisture damage.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to start laying your laminate planks. Begin by laying the first row of planks with the tongue side facing the wall and the grooved edge looking out into the room. Then, place the next row of planks by matching the tongues of each row to the grooves of the previous row.

Occasionally, you’ll need to close up the joints between the planks with a hammer and tapping block. Doing so will save the edges of the planks and keep the floor looking neat. If you’re not comfortable with the technique, snap a sacrificial scrap of flooring and tap it into place instead.

For an authentic wood look, select laminate flooring with a wavy grain pattern and color variegation. These features will help replicate the look of natural hardwood, making your room appear more real.

If you’d like a more creative floor design, consider herringbone planks. These are cut in a 90 degree angle and will make your room look more unique.

To ensure a smooth installation, stagger the end joints of adjacent boards by at least 6 inches. This will prevent peaking, in which adjacent planks form an inverted V shape projecting from the floor, and gaps, in which two adjoining boards separate from each other.

In addition, be sure to leave a consistent gap between the walls and the flooring. If the door to your room is on a short wall, use a 3/8-inch spacer along that wall before you begin installing your laminate.

Once you’ve laid all the full planks, you can start covering the edges of the room with transition pieces and baseboard molding. These will cover the expansion gap between the flooring and other floor types, as well as any gaps around the perimeter of the room. These are crucial because they will prevent the floor from buckling and slipping in the future.

Laminate Flooring Installation Tips – Torto Wheaton Research (2)

Hanna Goodwin


What are some common mistakes when laying laminate flooring? ›

9 Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring
  • Not Purchasing Enough Flooring for the Job. ...
  • Selecting the Wrong Floor for the Space. ...
  • Not Sealing Your Floor or Subfloor. ...
  • Installing on an Uneven Surface. ...
  • Miscalculating the Dimensions of Your Room. ...
  • Skipping the Instructions. ...
  • Not Checking for Damage.
Dec 28, 2022

How to install laminate flooring step by step? ›

How to Install Laminate Flooring
  1. Step 1: Acclimate Your Planks and Prep the Subfloor. ...
  2. Step 2: Trim Door Jambs. ...
  3. Step 3: Install Underlayment. ...
  4. Step 4: Lay Your First Row of Laminate. ...
  5. Step 5: Continue Laying Planks. ...
  6. Step 6: Add Finishing Touches.
Mar 24, 2023

Does it matter which direction laminate flooring is laid? ›

Laminate panels should be aligned parallel to the window or the primary light source. This direction of laying laminate makes rooms appear larger and longer. In addition, the parallel incidence of light brings out the grain of the laminate flooring particularly well.

Why leave a gap around laminate flooring? ›

Why do I need to leave an expansion gap for Laminate Floors? Expansion gaps are essential in all laminate floor installations. Temperature and humidity will change in all rooms. This result is the laminate flooring will expanding and contract as the temperature and humidity change.

Do you cut the tongue off the first row of laminate? ›

Place the first plank with the tongue side towards the wall, being sure to allow 1/8" for expansion. We recommend cutting off the tongue on this first row to avoid any problem with the expansion gap.

How do I make sure my first row of laminate flooring is straight? ›

In order to keep the floor straight and square, start laying the laminate away from the wall because the wall may not be straight. Measure away from the wall the width of one piece of flooring and add 1/4 inch (for example, if flooring is 5 inches wide, measure out 5 1/4 inches) and snap a chalk line across the room.

How long does it take 1 person to install laminate flooring? ›

You can lay the flooring in a 10-by-20-foot bedroom or living room in two or three hours, but you should add an hour or two to fit it around cabinets or other obstacles in a kitchen or bathroom, depending on your skill with power tools.

Does the tongue or groove go against the wall? ›

Both are cut to micron precision so that they create a snug, interlocking installation. You will want to start in the left side of the wall you pick with the tongue on the long side of a plank facing the wall. The tongue against the wall should be removed.

How soon can you walk on laminate flooring after installation? ›

Before you use your new floor or move into the room, make sure the floor is completely cured. Do not walk on the floor for 24 hours after installation. If you do, it will damage the installation, resulting in an uneven floor.

What is the proper stagger for laminate flooring? ›

Start the second row where you started off the first. This will stagger the seams, which results in a more natural look. It also gives the flooring added stability. The seams should be staggered at least 12 inches from any adjacent seam.

What is the proper spacing for laminate flooring? ›

An expansion gap is essential when it comes to laminate flooring installation. The recommended expansion gap is a minimum of ¼ inch. Expert installers say that the larger the space, the larger the expansion gap should be, as the floor needs more space to expand and contract with temperature.

How much padding is needed for laminate flooring? ›

You can not use carpet underlayment for laminate flooring installation- too thick padding may damage or make unstable locking system, so stay away from it. Generally all manufacturers are recommending use of maximum 3mm thick underlayment.

Where should you not put laminate flooring? ›

Because the inner core of the material is made with wood or fiberboard that is susceptible to moisture damage, installations in any room with a floor drain or sump pump should be avoided. This also applies to bathrooms and laundry rooms; however, kitchen installation is more feasible.

Which way do you lay laminate flooring to make room look bigger? ›

3) Parallel or diagonal flooring

Believe it or not, the way flooring is installed can help make a room look bigger than it is. As a general trick of the trade, installing flooring such as boards running parallel to the longest wall in the room instantly makes a room appear more spacious.

Should flooring be laying lengthwise or Widthwise? ›

If you're installing your flooring on a main floor, you will want to float the floor in the same direction throughout all of the rooms to create a cohesive feel. If you have a width wise open concept, run the flooring parallel to the longest walls.

Is 12mm laminate better than 8mm? ›

12mm is much more impact resistant than 8mm. Sharp items that accidentally fall on a thicker base will have very little effect on it. That's the reason why people prefer 12mm laminate in high traffic areas.

What happens if you don t use spacers when installing laminate flooring? ›

If the proper expansion gap is not left during installation, and the planks on the sides push up against the wall, the pressure will cause planks elsewhere in the room to buckle. Buckling floors are repairable, however, they are a major inconvenience and can be tricky.

Can you put too much padding under laminate flooring? ›

Extra Padding Poses a Risk

By adding unnecessary cushioning, you could actually be causing more harm to your floor than good. The added friction could cause the underlayment to wear down quickly and make your floors less stable over time, causing stress on the floating floor's locking system joints.

What is the best method to cut laminate? ›

For simple straight cuts, you can easily use a handsaw to cut laminate flooring if that's all you have, but for the most professional finish, you should choose a crosscut saw or table saw. If you're planning on cutting out angles or curves (such as around a toilet), then you should use a Jigsaw.

How do you keep laminate from chipping when cutting? ›

Use a blade specifically designed for cutting laminate as it is has triple chip (angled teeth) which score the laminate before actually cutting through it. Advantages: Fairly long straight cuts can be achieved. Minimal amount to no chip-out created.

Are you supposed to see seams in the laminate flooring? ›

The rows of laminate planks should have a staggered, sawtooth appearance so that seams never line up in adjacent rows. Not only would this be unsightly, but it would also compromise the structural stability of the flooring. It's best to keep cut pieces no less than 16 inches long.

Can you put laminate on slightly uneven floor? ›

While laminate tends to be more forgiving of subfloor imperfections compared to other types of flooring, it is still important to level your flooring to avoid future damage if you are installing laminate flooring on an uneven subfloor. A level subfloor ensures a more attractive and long-lasting finish.

What time of year is best to install laminate flooring? ›

The fall months are the ideal time! Some new flooring materials such as laminates, hardwoods, and luxury vinyl tiles will need to acclimate a day or two inside the home before being laid.

Can you lay laminate the same day? ›

Never install your new laminate floor as soon as the cartons arrive at your home. Any new laminate floor product, including Swiss Krono, needs to sit in your house for at least 48 hours in the room it will be installed in order to acclimate or to become accustomed to a new climate or conditions.

What is the average labor cost to install laminate flooring? ›

Labor to install laminate flooring costs between $4 and $8 per square foot, depending on the project's difficulty. Thinner laminate is more expensive because it's more difficult to apply and usually requires leveling the subfloor and putting down underlayment.

Do you leave a gap in tongue and groove? ›

For tongue & groove boards, a gap should be provided around the perimeter of the floor to any upstands or abutting construction to allow for possible expansion of the decking. An expansion gap of 10 mm (or 2 mm per metre run of the floor, whichever is greater) should be left against all walls.

What does the tongue look like on laminate flooring? ›

The tongue on laminate flooring is the small flat edge on one side of the board, this is the top edge that is going to angle and lock into the bottom side of another board.

Why is my laminate floor buckling during installation? ›

Buckling occurs when laminate flooring does not have enough space to contract and expand with temperature changes. Since it is a floating floor, the planks tend to contract when it is cool and expand when it is warm. Therefore it is crucial to take precautions to prevent buckling.

Why is my laminate floor lifting while installing? ›

If it's too tight against the wall, it can cause warping or buckling, especially when the indoor humidity or temperature change. If the laminate isn't acclimated to the internal temperature and humidity before being laid, it may shrink or grow once laid, causing lifting.

Do you have to pull up baseboards to install laminate flooring? ›

Most flooring applications do not require you to remove existing baseboards. However, you may choose to remove the baseboards and replace them at the same time as flooring installation if you want to switch to a different baseboard height or change the style to match the overall look of your remodel.

Do you put laminate flooring down before or after toilet? ›

The bathroom fitters are unanimous—if you're looking for a high quality finish, with a better seal against water damage, then always tile the floor first.

Do you need transition strips between rooms? ›

Transition strips are especially important when you are going from one thickness of floor covering to another. It's common to have an area that has thick carpet that transitions to concrete or carpet that transitions to another hard surface like wood, laminate or linoleum.

Is thicker laminate better for uneven floor? ›

The main things that you need to consider when choosing the thickness of your laminate floor are the evenness of your subfloor and any reason you may have to be worrying about noise reduction. If you have a subfloor that is in any way uneven, it pays off to choose a thicker laminate.

Should I nail down the first row of laminate flooring? ›

Since laminate flooring is a floating floor, it is not meant to be attached to the subfloor by nails or glue. The floor needs to be able to expand and contract with temperature changes and therefore must freely lay on the underlayment or subfloor.

What size gap should I leave around laminate flooring? ›

Quick-Step Laminate floors expand and contract in function of changing relative humidity conditions in the room. The HDF core board is isotropic and works, equal in both length and width. This means it is extremely important to have expansion gaps of 8 to 10 mm along all walls, around radiator pipes, etc.

How thick should plastic be under laminate flooring? ›

What is the best moisture barrier for laminate flooring? For any flooring that requires a floating installation method, be laminate or vinyl planks, use a 6 mils (or thicker) plastic sheet as a moisture barrier.

Do I need underlayment for laminate with pad attached? ›

Yes, you certainly should. Just make sure that you select the right underlayment for the installation. If you are looking for superior acoustics, moisture protection, and support for your floor, then FloorMuffler Encore is the best performing underlayment for your attached pad flooring installation.

Is thicker underlayment better? ›

Many DIYers may believe that a thick underlayment will create a more cushioned feel. While this may be the case with carpeting, using a too-thick underlayment material is a mistake with laminate floors. A thick underlayment allows the flooring to flex too much, causing the seams between the boards to separate.

Do you need a pad under an area rug on laminate floors? ›

Yes, you do. A rug pad is a must-have pairing for area rugs on laminate floors. A rug pad prevents slips and makes your floor soft and cozy.

Why is my laminate floor lifting at the seams? ›

The moisture causes the wooden core in the laminate boards to swell, and this can cause the laminate flooring to bubble and lift. It's best practice to look after your laminate flooring by only using slightly damp or dry mops or cloths to clean it.

How long does a floating floor take to settle? ›

Any new laminate floor product, including Swiss Krono, needs to sit in your house for at least 48 hours in the room it will be installed in order to acclimate or to become accustomed to a new climate or conditions.

Will laminate floor swelling go down? ›

If you have started to notice bubbles and swelling in your laminate, don't worry you don't have to replace the whole floor in most cases. This can be caused by water spills, high moisture, too much tension between each plank, lack of expansive joints, and lack of a strong moisture barrier.

Why is my laminate flooring not sitting flat? ›

Laminate boards are made with a mixture of wood fibers and plastic, and the wood tends to absorb moisture and swell. When this happens, the edges of the boards expand, press against each other and start to buckle. This is a serious problem because it usually means the boards are damaged and need to be replaced.

Does floor have to be perfectly level for laminate? ›

Most manufacturers recommend that the floor be flat to within 3/16” in a 10 ft. radius. These measurements are consistent with most other types of floor coverings. On floating floors, vertical movement needs to be kept to a minimum.

Can you fix lifting laminate? ›

Laminate floor lifting or buckling can be caused by changes in temperature and humidity levels. Use a hammer and chisel or putty knife to remove baseboards or molding near the damaged boards. If spacers were used between the wall and the board closest to it, replace them with smaller spacers.

Is it normal for new laminate floor to bounce? ›

Why does my laminate flooring feel bouncy? It's normal for yourlamiante flooring to feel a little bit bouncy. A minor amount of “deflection” (feeling the flooring compress and spring back underfoot) is actually a good thing – that slight give means the flooring is absorbing some of the impact of your steps.

How do I stop my laminate floor from flexing? ›

By adding an extra layer of plywood to the joists, the floor stiffens and side-to-side bending becomes minimized. For this solution to become effective, the joists need to be properly attached to the subfloor – if there are squeaking sounds, it means that the joists and subfloor are not fastened together.

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