Laminate flooring can be an affordable and attractive method for refreshing the look of a room or an entire house. If you plan to install laminate flooring, you should familiarize yourself with the techniques specific to this type of material. Laminate is considered a floating type of floor, which can limit the sorts of subfloors it can be installed over. The use of proper underlayment, however, can make it possible to use laminate flooring in a variety of circumstances.
Laminate Flooring Installation Tips
Before installing laminate flooring, you'll need to determine the area of the room you're working in. In addition, you should take careful measurements to gauge whether the area is actually perfectly square. In some instances, walls may be hung slightly farther apart on one end of the room than the other. While this doesn't mean you can't use laminate flooring, it does mean you might need to make cuts on some pieces to make everything fit.
Follow manufacturer's instructions as to the proper distance to place laminate from the walls. You should use spacers that are of the width recommended. Laminate cannot be installed directly against the wall, as it will grow and shrink with changes in humidity. If you were to install it flush against the walls, it would bow or even break as moisture entered or left the laminate.
Be sure to use underlayment, which helps act as a sound barrier and also creates an even surface for placing laminate. It's also important to keep moisture from the subfloor away from the laminate. When installing underlayment, you should tape the seams using tape designed specifically for this purpose. Many common household tapes may cause crinkling noises when you walk on your new laminate floor, which could be irritating.
To install laminate, use a rubber mallet and tapping block. A sacrificial piece of laminate flooring can be used in between your tapping block and the piece of flooring you're attempting to install. It can be very easy to damage the delicate threaded edges of laminate planks, so a sacrificial piece can make installation far easier in the long run.
Installing Laminate Over Other Flooring Surfaces
If you're considering installing laminate flooring over other surfaces, you should proceed with caution. Laminate is considered a floating floor, and whatever is beneath it can have a large impact on how flat it remains over time. In addition, subfloors that have the capacity to grow or shrink with changes in humidity or moisture can impact the laminate, which typically shouldn't get wet. Before installing your laminate flooring over another surface, refer to the manufacturer's instructions.
If possible, apply a layer of underlayment over any existing flooring surface and before putting down laminate. Underlayment is specifically designed to provide cushioning, serve as a moisture barrier and otherwise cater to the unique needs of laminate. This should be fine for wood, concrete or other subfloors.
It is generally not advisable to put laminate flooring over carpeting. Laminate relies on a system of interlocking pieces to stay together and must be installed tightly to remain in place over time. Since carpet is typically plush and rarely completely flat, its presence could make it difficult to get laminate pieces to interlock properly or remain flat. If they are laid askew or at even the slightest angle, they may pop apart over time. If your carpet is very sturdy and has a low pile, it may be possible to install laminate over it, however.