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 the slightly more expensive options, such as luxury vinyl planks. It is 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 just 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 are actually acclimated to the biome of your home.
If the planks aren't allowed to acclimate to the exact temperature and humidity of the living space they will be installed in, then 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 just the slightest bit humid.
Pro Flooring Brokers suggests that you will 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.
Make sure that you can easily access the installation area from the work area if it is in another space. This also makes it easier to remove debris and waste as you work.
After installation, the floor will need to cure for at least 24 hours. Close off the area and don't allow pets or people to walk on the freshly installed floor until it has cured. Keep the newly installed laminate flooring free from dust with a daily sweep and wipe up liquid spills immediately to keep it in good shape.
Installing Laminate Flooring for Beginners
The installation is fairly straightforward and shouldn't take more than an afternoon for the average size bedroom. A larger living room can take two days. Place the underlayment, sound and vapor barrier matting down on a thoroughly clean floor. This three-ply protective sheet reduces noise and protects the subfloor.
Home Advisor recommends starting 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.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.