Stick Around: Laminate Flooring Installation

by Jon Nunan

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Laminate flooring installation is a moderately easy, fairly straight forward process. Depending on the situation, it is possible to complete the job rather quickly. Installing laminate flooring is, however, not always as fast as you'd like it to be. Things like excess moisture or having to alter existing door frames can drag the whole operation out.

While laminate flooring installation is happening, though your presence might not be necessary, many homeowners will find watching their new floor being put in interesting and enjoyable. Any time someone is working on your home, it's nice to know what they are doing while it's being done. Listing everything that is happening would be difficult, especially since many situations have different concerns that don't always come up. But for those who want to know what they're watching without having to bother anybody, the basic steps are pretty easy to list and recognize.

Installing Underfloor
Laminate flooring installation usually starts with putting down an underfloor. This is a damp-proof membrane that will make the base for the laminate even. It provides not only a level surface, but also a bit if extra resilience as well. In some cases, mostly when installing over linoleum, this step may not be necessary.

The skirting boards around the room will be taken off before the laminate is put down. They will be replaced when the installation is finished and will hide the gaps around the new floor at the edges of the room (don't worry, the gaps are there for a reason).

Lay Down the Wood
Installing laminate flooring is a "tongue and groove" process. There is no adhesive or glue necessary. The process can begin along one wall, in a corner, or in the middle of the room; it doesn't really matter. The boards are fitted into each other, and the edge boards are fitted into the wall.

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Though laminate doesn't expand as much as hardwood, it is still made mostly of wood and will expand and contract at different times of the year. A small gap will be left at the edges (you won't be able to see it, but it needs to be there) to accept minor expanding due to moisture.

Once it comes time to lay down the final row, some boards will need to be sawed off so that everything fits. The last row is a bit trickier lay down, but it's also the most satisfying.

Finishing Up
The floor is now pretty much done. In some cases, an elastic paste will be put into some of the remaining gaps. Any excess underfloor will now be cut away, and the skirting boards will be replaced but not anchored to the floor. The floor has been successfully installed, and all that's left to do is enjoy it.

Those wishing to do their own laminate flooring installation should either have a good knowledge of home improvement or consult a professional. Though it's less expensive than hardwood, any money can turn to wasted money if the floor isn't properly put in. Additionally, good money could turn bad if the floor isn't properly cared for. While not nearly as temperamental as hardwood, laminate flooring will still come with a list of "do's and don'ts" that should be followed to ensure a great look for the life of the floor.
Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.