Laying new laminate wood flooring over your existing vinyl flooring is a relatively inexpensive way to add value, durability and good looks to any room in your home. Installing laminate wood flooring is much easier to do than other types of flooring, because the wood laminate planks lock together, much like a puzzle, without the need for nails or glue. With the right tools and materials, you can update any average-sized room in your home with beautiful laminate wood flooring in just one day. This article will walk you through the process of laying laminate wood flooring over your existing vinyl flooring.
Measure the room you wish to install the new floors in using the tape measure to get an approximate square foot measurement. For example, a 10-by-12-foot room would be 120 square feet. Add an additional 10 percent to this number to account for scrap pieces. You can purchase laminate wood flooring and its accessories at any home improvement superstore, including Home Depot and Lowe's.
Clear out the room you wish to work on, and clean the vinyl floor of any dirt and debris. Then, make sure the floor is relatively level with no significant dips or bumps of more than one-eighth of an inch.
Roll out your underlayment padding/moisture barrier directly on top of the vinyl flooring, making sure to not overlap any of the seams. You will need to use a utility knife to cut the underlayment to size. Use the duct tape to attach the underlayment seams to one another.
Using a miter or circular saw, cut one of the laminate wood planks to about 16 inches (doesn't have to be exact), and place it on top of the underlayment at whichever side of the room you wish to start laying the floor. Try not to use a piece that is less than 16 inches in length. This will help reduce cracks and squeaks in the floor later.
Begin snapping together the wood laminate flooring by placing the tongue side of one plank into the groove side of the adjoining plank at about a 20-degree angle and pushing it down flat. You will have to use the rubber mallet, tapping block and pull bar to get a tight fit and also for tapping pieces together along the walls. Make sure to stagger all the seams, because it hides the seams better and makes the floor stronger.
Place quarter-inch spacers along all the walls so that the flooring does not butt up against the wall. Laminate flooring is a floating floor--meaning that it expands and contracts depending on the weather, so it needs that extra space to avoid buckling or cracking later on. If you have baseboards in the room, you many have to remove them until the flooring is installed, and then reinstall the baseboards to cover the quarter-inch gap between the new floor and the wall.
Continue installing the wood laminate planks row by row until the flooring is completely installed. Leave approximately a half- to one-inch gap in any doorway where the two floors from each room will meet.
Install the proper length of T-trim in each doorway to provide a smooth transition between rooms. T-trim comes with a plastic mounting strip that needs to be either glued or nailed to the floor before you install the T-trim. If you choose to glue it down, make sure the construction adhesive you choose will bond to the vinyl flooring, concrete, wood or other material.
Remove all the spacers along the walls and, if necessary, reinstall the baseboards.