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How to Lay Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is robust, flexible, easy to install, and it looks great!

How to Lay Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring can give any room in the house that homely feel that every proud homeowner wants. With various styles and patterns on the market, from tile effects to oak finishes. Adding laminate flooring to your house can give tired rooms some new character.

What is laminate flooring? 

Laminate flooring is a synthetic flooring covering. It can look like different flooring types, but it doesn't need the same maintenance. Laminate flooring mostly has a wood effect. From an oak finish to a fancier herringbone wooden effect, you can find almost any kind. 

The laminate market has expanded more recently. Now, there's flooring with tile effects and stone effects. This laminate is great for kitchens and bathrooms. The benefits are fantastic. Compared to organic counterparts, laminate flooring is cheap. It doesn't fade or mark in the sunlight, as some natural wood or stone effects do. It is durable, unaffected by stains, and is water-resistant. That makes it great for bathrooms and kitchens.

Is laminate flooring easy to install? 

You can achieve a superb finish with laminate. So, you're probably wondering how to delve into a project. Look no further; we've gathered together our top advice and tips so you can get started. 

Part of the appeal of using laminate for home renovations is that it's quick and easy to install. 

How to prepare for laminate flooring 

As with any worthwhile project, preparation is vital. Preparing at the beginning of the project will ensure an easy installation throughout and give a fantastic finish. 

Safety - This includes wearing gloves and appropriate eyewear before cutting any flooring or material for your work. We also suggest cutting somewhere clean, well lit and adequately ventilated.  

Laying flooring can sometimes be physically demanding. Therefore, we recommend you have something to kneel on when you apply the floor.  

Knowing your product - It is good to be aware that different laminate requires different fitting methods. Checking the specific manufacturer's instructions and installation suggestions is a great place to get started. 

Preparing the floor - It is essential that you remove existing flooring, carpet or tiles before you begin. If you want a smooth, long-lasting finish, you must be securing the laminate to a flat, level surface. 

For example, if you cover exposed floorboards, ensure no nails or screws are poking out from the surface. Equally, any surface you are laying the new flooring too must be clean and dry, as this could affect the longevity of the overall finish.

Check the moisture levels - Moisture can be a nightmare for laminate installations. The bare floor should have a moisture content less than 12% and the room should have a relatibve humidity of between 45-65% for the best results.

Preparing underlay - Most experts in the flooring industry agree that using a flooring underlay is advisable when installing laminate. An appropriate underlay is usually foam or fibreboard. It provides extra insulation and sound-proofing benefits. If the base floor is concrete, you should use a damp-proof underlay. Always use a moisture barrier.

Preparing the laminate flooring - Most manufacturers advise you to allow the laminate to settle in the room you're going to install it for at least 48 hours. This allows it to acclimatise to the room temperature and avoids potential warping later down the line. 

How to cut laminate flooring

Of course, what is essential to preparing is calculating how much material you will need and cutting this to the appropriate sizes to fit the room. 

Fitting laminate flooring properly - To calculate how many packs of underlay and flooring you need to work out the room area in m². This is length x width=number of metres squared. Always remember to include any alcoves in the room in your initial calculations. 

We advise you to purchase an extra 10% of flooring and underlay, allowing for wastage (or mishaps!) 

Using the right tools - Every room you lay flooring in will be unique. It's more than likely you will need to measure then cut your materials down to suit the size of the room. 

There are many great saws, but we recommend using a Jigsaw. A jigsaw contains reciprocating blades designed to cut irregular curves and more intricate designs. Equally, a laminate trimmer is specifically for cutting laminate and is perfect for the job. 

One of the best saws for beginners is the mitre saw. They are safe and easy to use and are great for precise cuts at a range of different angles. 

Cutting laminate flooring - Once you have done your desired measuring and fitting, secure the flooring board to your workbench and mark where you need to cut. Cut using a jigsaw or panel saw for ease and precise results.

How to lay laminate flooring

  1. Place your first board down. Start from the top left corner of your room. Place the board down with the finished side facing up, and the rideg side facing the wall. It's usually best to start laying boards parallel to the longest wall.
  2. Insert some spacers. Wedge some spacers between all the edges of your boards that come into contact with the wall, including the ends. Place each spacer evenly to ensure that the gap between the board and the wall is always equal.
  3. Install the next boards. Continuing parallel along your longest wall, continue to place boards down end to end. So this until you have filled the entire length.
  4. Start the second row. First, shorten your first board. Doing this ensures that the end to end joints are staggered. Offset joints look great, and they hold together better. Use a a block and a hammer to knock the second row into the first until any gap disappears.
  5. Repeat and repeat. Continue adding rows until you have covered the width of the floor. If you need to trim boards to fill gaps, now is the time to do that.
  6. Remove your spacers and complete the finishing touches. Add all of the spacers out from between the boards and walls. Add your skirting, and finish with your chosen finish, such as a stain or varnish.

Caring for laminate flooring 

Laminate flooring is popular because it is easy to care for and maintain. We recommend you: 

- Do not use any wax or polish; it doesn't need it. Instead, use an ordinary, bleach-free floor cleaner.

- Brushing and regular vacuuming are fine! – Use the wood setting found on some hoovers for your new floor.

- Use felt furniture pads on the legs of furniture to avoid marking or scratching the floor. 

Hire tools to make the job easier

We know how important a satisfying finish is to a newly laid floor. However, getting that brochure ready finish to your room requires the right tools and the proper preparation. We have various tools and advice to make any home DIY project or commercial job the easiest of transformations.