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Laminate is a durable, less expensive alternative to solid hardwood flooring and a great addition to your home. Learn how to install wood laminate flooring with these 5 manageable tips for any DIYer.
How to install laminate in your home
If you are considering new flooring for your home then you are in the right place. Need to get rid of some unwanted tile before installing your laminate floor? Check out our post on how to remove tile.
Tip 1- Choose thick laminate and a thick vapor barrier
The thicker the laminate the more wood like it will feel. Thin laminate sounds and feels cheap. Thicker laminate is better with >8mm in thickness is preferred. The 12mm laminate feels the most like hardwood.
Vapor barrier is important to prevent the sweating ground floor from affecting the wood. Some vapor barrier has sound muffling material. This, along with the increased thickness of the laminate, will diminish the hollow sound that distinguishes laminate from hardwood.
Tip 2- Choose the best orientation
Orient the laminate so it is parallel to the longest dimensions of the room. Visually this helps the room to appear larger.
For our floor we wanted it to be seamless. We choose the front door as the starting point so as you walk in the room the orientation is vertical giving a sense of space to the room.
Tip 3- Determine your Plank Alignment
The floor should be flat. You can choose to remove baseboards if you would like. Do consider putting new baseboards if they haven’t been replaced in many years. Taller baseboards are in style for sure.
Once you have your vapor barrier down, start in the farthest corner of the room. Make sure the first row of boards is straight. If the walls of the room aren’t parallel, you may need to place thin strips of wood (thinner than the width of the new baseboards obviously) to maintain a straight line. Start with a full board length and connect the subsequent boards of that row according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When ending the row you will need to measure the distance between the last board and the wall. Then, mark a board with the sharpie and make your first cut.
Begin each subsequent row with alternating plank lengths allowing for at at least ⅓ overlap between the joints of adjacent rows.This provides maximum stability between the joints and is also visually pleasing.
Tip 4- Use the right tools
It’s important to have the right tools. It is worth it to rent or buy a chop saw with a diamond tipped fine tooth blade. A rubber mallet and a sharpie are also essential.
Tip 5- Protect your laminate flooring
Laminate is very durable but it is not indestructible. Like hardwood floors it can be scratched, dented and warped. However, unlike hardwood floors laminate is not easily repaired. Significant damage to a plank often requires tedious removal of all the adjacent planks and plank replacement.
After installation invest in some self adhesive felt pads to put under chair, table and couch legs.
Quickly clean up any water that is spilled, especially in the joints. This water is quickly absorbed and causes swelling of the laminate materials.
Don’t use abrasive chemicals to clean the floor. Warm water on a wrung out rag or mop head with a little elbow grease is usually sufficient.
Here is a picture of our dining room area right after we moved in.
Here is a picture after we removed the tile and installed the laminate flooring.
Here is another angle of the kitchen as we were finishing up laying the laminate flooring.
There are a lot of different styles and variety to choose from when it comes to picking laminate flooring. Good luck with your project!
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Looking for a change in your home? Learn how to remove your old outdated tile with these 5 tips.