After preparing all the tools and materials you need for the installation process, you have to prepare your existing floor. You must ensure that the subfloor is flat and even all throughout the room you’re planning to install it in. If the existing floor is concrete, grind off all protruding spots and fill in all the low ones. Carpeting, padding, rugs, furniture, and all other unnecessary objects should be removed from the room. In addition, you must be able to set aside a whole weekend for this. It would also be better if you have an extra pair of hands to work on this project.
Now that we’ve cleared out the room and prepped up the subfloor, it’s time to prep the flooring material you’re going to install. To do this, stack the laminate flooring on the flat surface of the room. You have to remove all the packaging and plastic wrapping to let the laminates “breathe”. This allows the flooring to acclimatize to its new home. This is important because temperature and humidity can severely affect the behavior and lifespan of flooring planks.
Next, install the moisture barrier to prevent vapor to form in between the subfloor and your laminate flooring. To do this, place the moisture barrier one row at a time starting from the side of the room with the wall with the most length. In the process of joining sheets of barrier together, it is of utmost importance that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some manufacturer’s strictly direct to overlap the sheets and some will have you butt each row of sheets against the preceding ones.
After installing the moisture barrier, trim off some of the door jamb to allow the new flooring to slide neatly underneath. To do this, lay down a strip of flooring flat on the subfloor’s surface and up against the door jambs you have readied for trimming. Next, use a “flat” saw or a coping saw to cut off the excess jambs. Be precise and make sure that you’re cutting parallel to the subfloor. This will allow a seamless look to your floor and jamb without even having to remove the entire door jamb.
By now, you might already be itching to begin installing laminate flooring. Not to worry, at this point of the process, you’re ready to install the first row of laminates. The best way to do this is to lay the laminate planks parallel to the longest wall in the room. Place the first plank with its groove facing the wall. Place a half of an inch (1/2″) spacer against the wall. Place the first laminate plank up against it. This allowed space creates an expansion gap so your flooring will be able to have room to expand and contract, not deform or crumple. Cover this expansion gap later on with base molding to ensure a clean and finished look. Remember to place the half-inch spacer approximately every twelve inches (12″) along the wall and at the end of each laminate plank against adjacent walls.
Next, continue to install the flooring in the whole room. By now, you should have determined which direction you would like the grain in the wood to flow. For each plank, match tongue to groove and tap it into place using a scrap piece of flooring to avoid damaging the planks. Carefully ensure that there are no gaps along the length of the planks and that all the individual pieces fit snugly together. While installing subsequent rows, alternately file the joints of the flooring. When it comes to a point where you have to start a new row, however, be sure to offset it at an estimated six to eight inches so the joints at the ends of planks are not lined up in a straight line, row to row, because this can weaken the floor and create a look that is too uniform.
By now, you may have come close to the end of installing your flooring. Installing the last plank properly, of course, is as important as meticulously installing the first one. To do this, you need to trim the last plank. Start by marking the plank to the correct width. Do this by placing a plank directly over the next to last plank and place another on top of that and slide the top plank until it sits evenly against spacers against the wall. Draw a line along the plank directly under the top plank and along the edges of the same top plank. Doing this will create a line to mark the width of the gap between the wall and the plank next to the last one. Cut the plank along this mark and proceed to install.
After placing the last plank, install the thresholds and base molding. Place thresholds between any open doors and the spot where the flooring ends. Thresholds come in different styles and sizes to accompany the beauty of your new floor. Remove the spacers and carefully install base molding to cover the expansion gaps.
Now, after completing all of the above steps and after giving you and your new floor a couple of hours to adjust to the novelty of things, you can relax and enjoy your beautiful new laminate floor. Wasn’t that easy? It’s a good thing you came across this simple yet comprehensive guide to installing laminate flooring, don’t you agree?