dcsimg
Find Local Contractor Call: 844-251-6308
No Obligation, Free Quotes
Home > Building & Construction > Flooring > Tips For Laying Laminate Flooring

Tips For Laying Laminate Flooring

By Brett Freeman
Tips For Laying Laminate Flooring

It might be true that you learn more from your successes than your failures, but if you ask anyone who's ever "learned" something when installing their own laminate flooring, it's a near-certainty they'll tell you they wish they'd gotten it right the first time. If you would like to avoid obtaining wisdom the hard way, here are some things to keep in mind when installing your own laminate flooring.

  • Respect the Gap. Although the installation instructions that come with your flooring almost certainly advise you to leave a gap of 1/4 to 1/2 an inch between the floor's edges and the wall, this point bears repeating because it's critical. Laminate floors expand and contract in response to changes in temperature and humidity and the gap is what provides room for this expansion. Without room to expand, your floor will buckle instead. The larger the area of your floor, the larger the gap should be, although there's no reason why you shouldn't leave a gap approaching 1/2 inch even for relatively small floors because the gap is covered by molding anyway.
  • Keep Moisture Out. If your house is built over a crawl space, make sure you have a vapor barrier that is installed and intact over the crawl space floor. If you don't, moisture can make its way through the subfloor and lead to warping.
  • Lay it Over an Underlayment. Laminate flooring isn't designed to be installed directly over a subfloor. Instead, it should be put over an underlayment. Wood-based underlayments are adequate, but for around the same price you can get a gypsum fiber underlayment that performs much better. This product is more moisture resistant, easier to work with, and more durable than a wood underlayment, and is made of 95 percent recycled materials.
  • Do the Math. If you don't plan carefully, you could end up with the final board of your floor being super skinny, which looks silly. To avoid this, first measure the width of the room where you are laying the floor. Subtract the width of the expansion gap you are leaving from this measurement twice (once for each wall). Now divide this number by the width of a single floor board. If the remainder is less than half of the width of a floor board, trim half of the remainder from the width of the first row of boards you lay. When you get to the last board, trim the same amount from the final row of boards, which leaves nice, wide boards at either edge of your laminate floor.

Installing a laminate floor is a big project and you don't want to commit avoidable mistakes. Learning on the job is great. Knowing what you're doing beforehand is even better.

Search for Great Deals on Flooring
Enter Your Zip Code:


THIS ARTICLE IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' WITH NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. THE AUTHOR, THE SITE OWNER AND ITS AFFILIATES ASSUME NO LIABILITY FOR ERRORS OR OMISSIONS CONTAINED THEREIN OR FOR ANY USE OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT. The article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice.