Installing laminate flooring is an excellent way to update your home for a fraction of the cost of installing hardwood or porcelain tile. However, before you begin you will need to prepare the surface of your floor. You will also need to install an underlayment to protect your floor and absorb sound. Depending on the type of laminate you are installing, you may need to buy additional supplies.
First, clean your subfloor thoroughly. If your concrete or wood subfloor is uneven, you will need to patch it with a leveling compound before you can lay the flooring down. A tool such as a ShopVac can be used to smooth out the floor. Alternatively, you can use sanding compound to level out any dips.
Next, mark out the perimeter of any low spots on your floor using an 8-foot straightedge. Then, use your dry-erasable marker to make accurate cuts. Once you have cut your floor, you should place it in the center of the room for at least a day to allow it to acclimate. This will ensure the floor is able to adapt to the temperature of the room.
Now that the area has been prepared, it is time to cut your planks. The first row should be about two inches shorter than the last row. Cut along the line of the overlap to make sure it fits correctly against the wall. As you continue to cut, be careful to remove any excess that comes out of the underlayment.
If the underpayment is not glued in place, you will need to use a utility knife to make the cut. To help you keep track of the cuts, you can use a scrap piece of laminate flooring. It can be a helpful guide to use when you are trying to find the best place to cut.
The last row should have the tongue and groove of the planks facing the wall. This will add stability to your installation and allow you to more easily locate the joint. You can use a tapping block to connect the planks. Be sure to turn the piece of laminate around to check that the tongue and groove will work.
Once the planks are in position, you can begin to install the baseboards. These will conceal the expansion space between the floor and the wall. In addition, you can cover the gap between the door frame and the baseboard with shoe molding.
Before you begin, it is important to note that laminate floors are sensitive to changes in weather and temperature. You should leave the boxes of laminate flooring in the designated area for at least 48 hours before you start the actual installation.
Laminate flooring is relatively easy to install, but it does require a bit of work. The length of the job will depend on the size of your room and how many rooms you have to install the flooring in. Although most people can do this project on their own, it is a good idea to get professional help if you have any questions or problems.