Laminate flooring is a popular choice for homeowners who want the look of timber floors but do not want to spend money on the real thing. Made from compressed layers of particle board and melamine, this type of flooring requires basic tools and equipment for installation. Many homeowners tackle this project on their own and complete it over the weekend. Laying laminate flooring is a simple process for those who have the necessary supplies and understand how to work with the flooring pieces.
To install laminate flooring, homeowners need a few basic home improvement supplies such as spacers, a hammer, pry bar, measuring tape, and pencil, along with cutting tools such as a utility knife, hand saw, and coping saw. Additionally, they must have specialty items such as a moisture barrier and tapping block designed for laminate flooring.
Prepare the laminate for installation
Like all types of wood, the fibreboard core in laminate flooring swells when the air is humid and contracts when it is dry. For this reason, homeowners need to leave laminate flooring inside their home for 48 hours before they plan to install it. Simply remove the protective plastic wrap surrounding the boxes so air flows between the planks. This prevents unsightly shifts and buckles after installation.
Prepare the subfloor
While waiting for the laminate to acclimate to its new environment, prepare the subfloor for installation. First, use a vacuum cleaner to remove all dirt and debris. Next, clean it thoroughly with a preferred floor cleaner.
Cutting laminate flooring to accommodate baseboards is time consuming and unnecessary. Instead, homeowners should remove the existing baseboards with a pry bar and hammer, taking care to avoid nicking or breaking the pieces in the process.
Trim door jambs
Door jambs can present a problem for people installing laminate flooring. Unlike baseboards, door jambs do not always detach easily. Instead of removing them, place a piece of the new flooring against the door and mark the height of the flooring against the jamb. Then, use a flat saw to cut the jams to create a space for the flooring to slide underneath it.
Install a moisture barrier
A moisture barrier rests directly on the subfloor, provides a layer of protection and support for the laminate, and increases its lifespan. Popular materials for moisture barriers include plastic, foam, and cork. It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing the barrier.
Install the laminate planks
After acclimating the new flooring and cleaning the existing subfloor, install the laminate flooring. This process requires three distinct phases to focus on during the installation process.
Laying the first row of the laminate flooring directly affects the rest of the process. Installers need to pay attention to the direction they choose to lay the planks and position them so that the groove faces the wall. Position a 15 mm spacer between the plank and the wall to give the plank room to expand and contract without damaging the floor.
Installing the middle rows is a simple process — just match the tongue of the next plank to the groove of the plank already waiting on the floor. Then, tap it into place using a tapping block and hammer until the pieces fit snugly. Pay attention to the lengths of the pieces installed and make sure they stagger by offsetting them 15 cm to 20 cm. This gives the floor a more natural appearance and more strength.
Installing the last row of planks requires additional work. To make the planks fit within the space of the room, homeowners must trim them. Do this by marking the cut line along the length of the plank before trimming it with a saw. Like the first row, the final row needs spacers between the flooring pieces and the wall.
Install thresholds and baseboards
After laying all the flooring planks, put the thresholds and baseboards in place. Thresholds cover gaps between the floor and open doors, while the baseboards mask the gaps between the planks and wall. Before replacing the baseboards, remove the spacers used during the installation process.
How to buy laminate flooring on eBay
Shopping on eBay is the perfect way to find supplies you need to install and care for your laminate floor. To find items like laminate flooring pieces, underlayment, or laminate floor cleaner, enter the terms in the search box and review the available listings. As you review the listings, pay attention to details like the items' conditions, and contact the seller directly when you have questions. This reduces confusion about the transaction and helps you find the right products and materials for your home improvement project.