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Before getting stuck into your new home renovation project, it’s important to have everything you need. This easy-to-follow guide will take you through each step on installing laminate flooring in your home, which includes:
1. Measure the room
2. Gather the tools you’ll need
3. Safety first
4. Prepare and clean the floor
5. Choosing underlay and fitting it yourself
6. How to lay your new laminate floor
7. Getting the perfect finish
8. Tips for repairing laminate flooring
If your room is perfectly square or rectangular, the area can be calculated by multiplying the width by the height. For example, a room that is 5m x 2m will need 10m2 of laminate flooring.
Watch our step-by-step guide to accurately measuring a simple room. It's never been easier to get a perfect fit.
Learn the basic steps to accurately measure a room with extra areas by watching our helpful video.
Accurately measure a room which requires a join by learning how from our step-by-step guide.
Like with measuring, getting the right laminate flooring kit is another important consideration. Many of the tools you may already have in your toolbox and most DIY outlets sell a flooring kit that will include the pull bar and spacers for the job.
Tools you might need include:
• Mitre saw
• Small crowbar
• Drill with flat wood bit
• Flooring kit (including spacers and pull bar)
• Stanley knife
• Tape measure
• Safety goggles and face mask
• Masking tape
• Vacuum cleaner
Considering your own safety when fitting a new floor is paramount, so always seek professional advice if you’re unsure about anything. Before getting started with fitting your laminate flooring, follow these safety tips for your own peace of mind.
• Always wear safety goggles and a face mask when cutting wood.
• Kneepads are ideal for protecting your knees against hard surfaces. Try not to stay on your knees for long periods of time; rather take regular breaks to protect your knees.
• Measuring a room and fitting new flooring is always easier when you have help from someone else. Asking someone to help you is a sure-fire way to ensuring you get accurate measurements and a perfect fit.
• Take extra care when using solvents and fillers. These can be flammable and toxic. All solvents and fillers should be kept out of reach of children.
Before you can even consider laying the first laminate flooring plank it is essential that you prepare your sub-floor. If the sub-floor is not correctly prepared this will affect the finish and properties of your new laminate floor. Below we take you through the steps you should follow when preparing your sub-floor.
• Make sure the entire area is smooth, even and dry. If it is a newly concreted floor, make sure it is fully dried out. Fix any screws and nails firmly below the surface, so that they do not puncture the underlay or laminate.
• Make sure all your packs of boards have been resting horizontally in the area they are to be fitted for 48 hours so they are flat and have acclimatised to the room.
• Clean up any dust and debris with a vacuum cleaner and scrape or sand off any existing adhesives from previous flooring.
• If laying on concrete, you will need to put down a damp-proof membrane but using underlay with a built-in damp-proof membrane is recommended.
• Remove skirting boards so that they can be re-fitted when the new boards are in, if you do not plan to use any laminate beading.
Underlay is not an optional extra - it's an integral ingredient that shapes how laminate flooring feels, wears and looks. Installing underlay is easy and will dramatically improve the look, feel and performance of your new floor. The right underlay will add comfort underfoot, absorb shock and noise effectively and act as an insulator, meaning you could save money on your energy bills.
There are various types of underlay for laminate flooring each with different advantages. Thicker options offer more sound proofing, which could be a consideration if you are laying a floor in an upstairs room or flat. When fitting your new laminate underlay consider the following:
• Bear in mind that not all types of underlay are suitable for wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, while some types come with a built-in damp-proof membrane.
• Lay the underlay over the entire floor and trim to fit, cutting a 16mm gap around any pipes. Lay lengths parallel and stick together with masking tape.
Unsure about what kind of underlay to fit under your laminate flooring? Why not read through our guide to buying underlay or pop into a local store for more expert advice?
Before fitting laminate flooring, think about which direction you would like the board to lie in. Ideally, they will lay in the direction of the longest wall but if your subfloor is wooden, then it is best to have the laminate boards fitted across the joists underneath.
• Start in a corner and lay the first row of boards tongue side facing the nearest wall.
• The boards will click together using the click system.
• Place spacers from your flooring kit between the board and the wall with an 8-10mm expansion gap.
• NOTE: The last row of boards will need to be at least 100mm wide, so measure ahead and adjust your first row by cutting the boards if necessary.
• You will probably need to adjust the length of the last board in the row to make it fit the length of your room. Use the square to mark the back of a board so you know where to cut. You can use the off cut to start the next row if it is at least 300mm.
• Lay the rows side by side, ensuring the joints are staggered from row to row. Continue to use the spacers to maintain a consistent gap between the planks and the wall.
• Calculate the width of the last board by laying a plank over the previous row. Place a third plank with its tongue against the wall and mark a line on the plan beneath. This will give you the desired width. Then use the hammer and pull bar to fit it tightly into space.
• As laminate is a 'floating floor' it must not touch any wall, door frames or pipes to save the laminate moving or becoming damaged.
Placing laminate flooring around door frames
Fitting laminate flooring around door frames is the tricky bit, but it’s worth getting it right as it can make or break your final result. You basically have two choices – to either cut the boards around the shape of the door frame, or to undercut the door frame to slide the board under.
• If you are cutting the board around a door frame, lock it in place before making and cutting using the mitre saw.
• A simpler way to get a neat finish is to undercut the door frame with a handsaw. Measure the depth of your boards to make sure you don't cut too much off your door frames.
• It is unlikely that you will be able to lift the board to click it into the next board, so sand off the tongue and use a wood adhesive to keep it locked in place.
• You can cut holes for radiator pipes by drilling with a flat wood bit and then using the mitre saw to make a keyhole shape in the board to fit around the pipe. A hole of around 30mm is usually sufficient. Make sure the laminate board does not touch any of the radiator pipes.
Placing laminate floor edging
If you’ve decided not to remove or undercut the current skirting boards in the room you’re renovating, laminate floor beading is one of many great floor accessories for finishing the job. You can purchase a trim that matches the woodwork that’s been put down to leave a seamless finish to your room. Below are a few tips for placing floor beading:
• Measure the lengths required, cut 45 degree angles at the corners and apply a thin line of wood glue to the back of the trim. Do not apply to the bottom of the trim - the glue should stick to the skirting board, and not the floor.
• Hold the trim in place with some tacks or heavy objects such as books while the adhesive dries.
• If you are using a transitional trim to separate laminate from another type of flooring in another room, make sure you choose an option that is suitable for us on both surfaces.