While you may want the look of hardwood floors in your house, you probably don’t want the extra effort required to maintain hardwood floors. Therefore, a good alternative may be laminate flooring. With laminate flooring you can have the look of hardwood, but you won’t spend hours and money on maintenance. Also, laminate flooring installation is not difficult. You can install your own laminate floors without ever hiring a contractor.
Prepare for Laminate Flooring Installation - Measure your room to determine how much laminate flooring you will need to purchase. Be sure to include cut-out areas and closets in your measurement totals.
Purchase your flooring. Be sure to buy 20 percent more than you will need. This is important because you may make some mistakes or there may be some pieces that are discolored. Also, you will want to keep some after installation in the event that a piece is damaged and needs repair.
Open the boxes of laminate flooring and let them sit in your home for two to three days before beginning installation. This will allow the floors to acclimate to their surroundings. Failure to do this may result in buckling of the flooring. Clear your room of all furniture and use a crow bar to gently remove any existing shoe molding.
Lay out the floor before commencing with installation. This will give you a chance to see how it will look and to be sure that you have enough pieces. When doing this be sure to take into account the cut out areas and the closet spaces. This is also a good opportunity to check for damage on each of the pieces. Gather your materials including: spacers, blocks, measuring tape, crowbar, jigsaw, miter saw, rubber mallet or tapping block, right angle square and caulking compound.
Install Laminate Floors - Prepare your sub-floor by placing a moisture barrier over the floor. This is a foam-like material that you should lay across the surface of the sub-floor. Be sure to work out the wrinkles and pull the foam tightly against the walls. Also be sure that the foam pieces do not overlap. You can tape separate pieces together.
Begin laying boards along the most prominent wall. Be sure to leave at least 5/16 inch space between the board and the wall. This can be accomplished by using plastic or wood spacers. Also be sure that the groove side of the board faces the wall.
Attach your next board according to the manufacturer's instructions that accompany your box. Be careful not to damage the tongue of the board you are attaching. Often a tapping block and or rubber mallet is used to snap the boards together.
Continue attaching boards until you reach the end of the row. You may need to cut the last board in the row using a table, miter saw or jigsaw depending on the type of cut necessary. Use any remaining piece of the board to start your next row.
Begin your next row adjacent to your starting position. Continue this process until you have covered your floor. Replace your shoe molding to cover the gap between the boards and the wall.
Fill any small cracks or spaces between the wall and the floor with a caulking compound that is similar in color to your flooring. Your laminate floor installation is complete.