When it comes to flooring, it's all about the look, affordability, and durability. Laminate is a good choice for flooring in place of hardwood or other comparable options, such as luxury vinyl planks. It's relatively simple to install and can look glamorous for a long time if taken care of properly. A DIY laminate flooring project can take a weekend to complete for average living areas from the time the material is acclimated to the last plank popped into place.
Expect the laminate flooring project to take at least two to four days from start to finish.
Acclimate the Laminate Flooring
After choosing the right flooring and taking it home from the big box home store, you'll need to give it some time to rest and get used to the environment that it will call home for decades. They may have been in the same city as you and under the same weather conditions, but that doesn't mean they're acclimated to the biome of your home.
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If the planks aren't allowed to acclimate to the exact temperature and humidity of the living space they'll be installed in, it could lead to buckling and separating of the individual planks as they shrink and swell. The laminate is made from natural woods and materials that can be affected by even the slightest climate changes. Warehouses are often dry and warm, whereas a cement floor may be cold and humid.
For the best results, you'll need to acclimate the laminate flooring for at least 48 hours and up to 72 hours. The laminate flooring manufacturer will have suggestions on how long its materials should sit in the space before installation as well.
Laminate Flooring Installation Tips
Before tackling the DIY laminate flooring construction project, make sure that the installation site is completely dry and that all ventilation systems, such as air conditioning and heater, are in good working order. Cover the entryways and vents to cut down on dust and debris from entering the area during installation.
Laminate flooring can go over some existing floors, but you'll need to prepare the floor if it has carpeting on it currently. You'll need to remove the carpeting as well as any staples, nails, adhesive and other debris on any type of existing flooring. These preparation tasks can add to the overall installation time if you don't do them in advance.
It's also best to remove the baseboard if it's in good condition and easy to remove or if you're going to replace it with new trim. Leave time to remove the baseboard before you start the installation. You'll also want to undercut the door frame to the height of the new flooring, so it fits under it. Doing as much of this prep work ahead of time as possible makes the actual plank installation much faster.
Installing Laminate Flooring for Beginners
The laminate floor installation is fairly straightforward and shouldn't take more than an afternoon for an average size bedroom. A larger living room can take two days. Place the underlayment down on a thoroughly clean floor. This protective sheet reduces noise and protects the subfloor.
Start the first row of laminate planks near the wall with enough room to trim the planks and maintain the chosen pattern across the floor. Lay the boards perpendicular to the joists as you snap and lock them into place. Use a hammer and shim to gently tap the board into place after snapping.