You would think that following instructions would be the first step in installing Laminate flooring, but all too often, people (even contractors) rush to get the job done, and overlook some very important do’s and don’ts when installing laminate flooring!
Laminate flooring must acclimatize to your home. This is done by placing the boxes in the room where you are going to install the laminate for a minimum period of 48 to 72 hours. Failure to do this will cause floors to buckle. This is the number one mistake made by most people including contractors.
The flooring must be room temperature before it can be set in place!
You must be a gap between walls and any other obstacle, (columns, stair risers, heat vents, etc.) of between 5/16" and 1/2" depending on the manufacturer. This allows for the expansion of the floor. If a gap is not left, the floor will buckle.
If the laminate flooring is going to be installed on a concrete slab floor where there is earth below the concrete, you must place a vapor barrier between the concrete and the laminate. The seams should be taped with a moisture resistant tape. Laminate flooring should not be installed on any floor that has a drain.
Some manufacturers will allow the installation of laminate flooring on carpet. The carpet should be a hard twist (Berber), or a very low pile (commercial carpet). If the under floor is spongy, the laminate flooring will separate when walked on.
The smallest piece of flooring should never be less than 8 inches long and the width should never be less than 2 inches.
Measure your room before you start the installation as it may be necessary to cut the first board in length and the first row of boards in width to avoid having small pieces.
If installing base board or quarter round on top of the laminate, do not nail through the laminate. A laminate floor must be allowed to expand and contract.
Repair any and all squeaks and soft spots in the sub-floor before installing the laminate. Laminate flooring will not correct squeak or soft spot problems.
Always start the installation of the laminate flooring with the groove side and end towards the walls.
Always use a tapping block to help tighten joints, but do not over hammer or you will damage the surface of the laminate at the joints.
If you follow these tips along with the manufacturer’s instructions, you will have a beautiful floor that will last for years!