DIY Laminate Installation
If you’re working on a home improvement project you know that the price of the project tends to creep pretty high up without you noticing… often times this happens because of unexpected complications, additional costs, fees, changes in product pricing, or running out of material.
One of those large expenses is labor costs for work performed, it’s something homeowners often can’t go around. Today we would like to help you out by providing a simple easy to follow guide on how to install laminate flooring yourself and help save some money.
Unfortunately most home improvement projects are more difficult and require professional installation in order to get the job done right… such as hardwood installation, tile installation, and countertop fabrication. There are jobs that can be done by a handy homeowner and that’s what we’re encouraging today.
Selecting the Correct Laminate Product
To make the job easier on yourself we suggest that you put some thought into the laminate that you select. You could opt for the cheapest material possible… but do you want to go through hours of trouble getting it installed correctly?
Here is What you Should Pay Attention to:
Width: Don’t simply go for the widest laminate planks but don’t go for narrow ones either. The narrower the plank the more time it will take for you to install as you will end up installing for a longer amount of time (laying every single board down). However in a smaller room selecting a wide plank (7” and wider) may be a bad idea since you will have very little room to maneuver when installing those last boards.
We recommend something simple and universal… most popular width right now is the 5” plank.
Thickness: Also a very important factor to consider. Generally the thicker the laminate material the higher the quality and more expensive it is. However thicker isn’t better for every home nor is getting a thiner material a good idea simply for cost saving purposes either.
Pay close attention to the space you have to work with, do you need to match the laminate floor level to something else? Carpet in another room, hardwood, LVT, or sheet vinyl? Depending on what material you are laying laminate on and the thickness of the material will determine how high the new laminate protrudes above desired level or how low it is compared to it.
Before purchasing a material measure how much room you have to work with and get a material that matches as close as possible to the desired thickness (taking into account pad thickness as well).
Laminate Underlayment/Pad: Going to keep this one very simple, if you are going to pay a professional installer or install a waterproof superior quality material that is in the $4-$5 per square foot range… by all means use a laminate that doesn’t come with attached pad.
However if you are trying to install laminate yourself and aim to make the process easy and quick… purchase a laminate that comes with attached pad. It will save you so much time and unnecessary hassle.
Now that you have your laminate product picked out it’s time to get it installed!
Preparation: Before you begin installing your new laminate floors we recommend that you let the product sit in the room where you will install it for 48 hours. Although laminate is generally a stable product unlike wood and won’t shift, warp, or buckle it’s still important to allow some time for the material to get acclimated to the new environment.
Ensure that you have all of the necessary tools to complete demo work of the previous flooring material (if you haven’t done so already). Also make sure that the material below is level and smooth (get rid of all imperfections) this will help speed up the process when it’s time to install.
Since Laminate is a floating floor it can be installed over any hard surface material as long as it is level and doesn’t have any imperfections.
In order to install laminate flooring you will need the following tools:
- Table Saw
- Handheld Saw
- Tape Measure
- Rubber Mallet
- 6” speed square
- & maybe a pencil
First step is to determine and plan out the layout. Generally laying laminate parallel to the longest wall of the room or area is a good idea as it will make the room look larger and more spacious. As well as make for less rows which means less cutting.
Second step is to make sure that all of the baseboards are either off or have enough room to just butt the laminate right into it (and later use a quarter round to cover transition). At this time it is also a good idea to prep door frames and ensure there is a thick enough gap to slide the laminate underneath. Before you begin installing also check that the door will open and close properly (you would be surprised how many homeowners run into this problem).
Third step is begin installation, at this point you know how you will be laying the flooring you know which wall you will be starting at and you have a big picture idea of how you want it to look.
Find a good looking pattern that you like online and begin to install wood using this offset method. Don't just install in an H formation like many do, it is both unprofessional and ends up looking weird when it’s done.
Since we recommended that you use a laminate floor that has a pad attached you don’t have to worry about placing any underlayment.
At this point it’s Measure, Cut, Click, and Go!
Obviously this wasn’t the most comprehensive guide to laminate installation but more of a basic DIY process with a few key pointers. For a more comprehensive guide that addresses more common concerns check out this post by the DIY Network.
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