You love the look of real wood and have always dreamed of owning
a home with beautiful wood floors. But, is hardwood the best
choice for you? Have you considered a very attractive alternative
laminate wood flooring?
Laminate wood flooring is much less expensive than hardwood
flooring, it’s very durable, and it comes in almost endless colors
and patterns. Laminate flooring can fool the most finicky of
friends. Your friends may very well compliment you on your
beautiful wood floors! You’ll have to decide whether or not to
confess that your floors are laminate.
Most often, friends will be very curious about your laminate
floor and its installation. They will be impressed when they find
out just how easy it is to install a laminate floor — and that
you did it yourself!
Here are five simple steps to follow when installing your new
1. Prepare the Sub Floor
Since laminate flooring is a “floating” floor your preparations
will be minimal. The “sub floor” is the floor you are installing
the laminate flooring on. You can install laminate flooring over
tile, vinyl, concrete, natural stone, etc. The main point to
ensure is that the floor is level and flat. Make sure that you
remove any old carpet nails or lumps of glue that are ¼ inch high
or higher. Any holes that are larger than three inches should be
filled in. Be sure to clean the sub floor — remove debris,
dirt, dust, etc before beginning your project.
2. Determine the Amount of Flooring Needed
Measure the length and width of the room where the new floor will
be installed. Multiply the width times the length to get the
square footage of the room.
For example, a room that is 12 ft wide and 14 ft long would be
168 square feet. To simplify, round off the number to 170 square
feet. If the brand of laminate flooring you are using comes in
planks in a box of approximately 17 square feet, you will need
about 10 boxes of flooring. You will need to add 5-10% more
flooring due to waste when the boards are cut or for the few
mistakes that may occur as you are learning. To be sure you will
have enough, and extra is always better than running out, you need
to buy about 20 boxes of laminate flooring for the 12 ft by 14 ft
Don’t forget to buy the under layment – a 1/8 inch thick
cushioned plastic that goes under the laminate and works as a
moisture barrier and a sound barrier. The under layment comes in
rolls about three feet wide by about 150 feet long. You will need
the same number of square feet of flooring and under layment.
3. Determine Which Direction to Lay the Floor
Generally, you will want to lay the floor planks parallel to the
light that enters the room.
4. Start Laying Your New Laminate Floor
Roll out the under layment across the length of the room in the
direction you will be laying your floor. Cut the under layment
to fit all the way across the floor with an overlap of about an
inch on each end.
Lay out a row of planks to determine how many will fit.
Beginning in the corner, lay the first plank on top of the under
layment. Place ¼ inch spacers between the plank and the wall on
the end and sides of the plank. Make sure that the under layment
comes up higher along the wall than the laminate plank. Lay the
second plank along the short side of the first plank and snap them
together. Continue this until you can no longer place a whole
plank on the floor.
At this point, you will need to measure how long of a plank you
will need to fill the remaining spot. Using an electric handsaw,
you can easily cut the plank. Snap that piece into place and your
first row is completed.
Use the cut piece as the first plank in the second row. On this
row and continuing rows, you will snap the plank onto the long
side of the previous row. The subsequent planks will be snapped
into place on the long side of the previous row but than also must
be snapped into the short side of the new row. You will need to
use a hammer and a special block to gently move the new plank into
position. Continue this process until all rows are complete.
5. Finish the Edges
Now all you need is to finish the edges. Add baseboards or ¼
round trim to the edges of the room to create a finished look.
Also, install door jams to separate your new laminate flooring
from other types of flooring.
At this point, your floor should look fabulous. Congratulate
yourself on a job well done. Replace your furniture and invite a
few friends over to enjoy your new floor with you. Chances are
you will receive many compliments.