How to Prepare for Laminate Installation
Owning a home requires one to be prepared in all aspects. Obtaining a new laminate flooring is no exception, especially when one appreciates that laminate, like any floor covering, affects interior beauty, design, comfort, livability, and upkeep.
Notably, being ready for the installation of your new laminate flooring makes the entire process quicker, more efficient, and hopefully, eliminates any “surprises.”
Knowing what to expect and being prepared can also be less stressful for you, your family, and your home.
Install It Yourself or Allow Us To?
Even though some people attempt to install laminate flooring on their own, this job is still challenging, labor-intensive, and extremely exacting.
If you are not a seasoned DIY person, we strongly suggest you call upon our professionals to install your laminate floor.
That way, you can be certain of a beautiful, efficient, and correct installation.
That is precisely what our goal is for you.
Nonetheless, while installing laminate flooring is a skill developed through years of experience, your understanding of the basics of installation will boost your knowledge of the process and improve your confidence in the professionals working in your home.
Therefore, please allow us to cover some of these basics with you.
Currently, numerous manufacturers are producing laminate flooring products.
Most manufacturers have specific installation guidelines, but the overall process is the same. A good understanding of this is crucial.
Laminate floors use a “floating floor” installation. That means the planks or tiles simply lay on top of the floor without the use of adhesives to the subfloor and are only adhered to each other on the edges.
Side seams are joined using a “glueless” installation where the planks or tiles tightly interlock together.
The first step in a laminate floor installation is to scrutinize your subfloor for any imperfections. If your subfloor requires additional labor to allow the manufacturers’ requirements for installation to be met, our flooring professionals will discuss this with you. It is worth noting that most manufacturers need a level subfloor with a tolerance of 3/16” every 10 feet.
While no floor is faultlessly level, the subfloor should be checked for any noticeable gaps or ridges that could cause glitches.
Next, the Underlayment is Rolled Out
The installers will now put down an underlayment directly over your subfloor.
This underlayment allows the floor to expand and contract with variations in temperature and also acts as a barrier for both sound and moisture. Both of these are good ideas.
In some installations, there can be two underlayment layers.
The first layer is installed to serve as a moisture barrier, while the second layer gives a sound barrier and improves your flooring’s performance.
Typically, the underlayment is rolled out and taped together at the layers.
Where needed, the installer will cut the pieces of underlayment to make a perfect fit.
Laying of the Laminate Planks or Tiles
Usually, installers will begin in the left corner of the area and leave a minimum 1/4″ space between the flooring and the perimeter walls.
That is done because the laminate needs space around the edges of the room to expand or contract.
Without that “breathing room,” your floor will demonstrate its discontent. If the floor is too close or touching a wall, it can buckle in the middle.
Installers can use spacers as they work to ensure the precision of this perimeter space.
They place one spacer for each square foot. Once your floor is fully installed, they eliminate the spacers and cover the perimeter gap with quarter round trim or a wall base.
As your installers lay the planks or tiles in the preferred pattern, they will carefully measure and accurately cut them to fit.