Part 1 of 3 – Preparation
If you’re not too well-acquainted with DIY, laying a new floor can seem like an impossible task. But don’t give up yet! This three-part Floormaker guide will teach even total DIY novices how to lay laminate flooring by breaking the job up into small, manageable stages, and explaining them in language that everyone can understand.
In this first section, we’ll cover the things you’ll need to do before you lay your new laminate flooring. Preparation is everything when it comes to laying a new floor, so if you’re planning to install a new floor in your home, read this first!
1. First things first, start by measuring the room that you’d like to re-floor so you can work out how much flooring you’ll need. No matter what kind of laminate flooring you want, you’ll need to calculate the area of your room. To do this, multiply the length of the room by the width in metres, this will give you the total square metre area you need to cover. Then find out what area one pack of flooring will cover. This will vary between products. To work out how many packs of flooring you need simply divide the total square metre area you need to cover by the pack size of the laminate flooring, this will tell you how many packs you will need to complete the job and remember to add 10% more for those ‘just in case’ moments.
2. Secondly, choose the laminate flooring you want. Remember to consider the price, style, texture, locking system, moisture resistance and thickness so you get the best laminate flooring to suit you and your home. Once you’ve bought your flooring, leave it in the room you want to lay it in for at least 72hrs before you start to install it. This allows the flooring to acclimatise to the room’s temperature and humidity. Laminate flooring will expand and contract due to temperature, so you want to make sure the laminate flooring is used to the room’s normal climate. This will ensure that the laminate flooring has adjusted to the room’s conditions before being installed. Always remember to store the packs of flooring flat during acclimatisation.
3. Next, go shopping! Assuming you’ve already got the flooring, here are the tools and accessories you’ll want to have handy when you’re laying a new floor:
• Scotia edging (buy two times the room’s length in metres and two times the width in metres, and a little bit extra, just in case)
• Underlay (see step 5 to work out what kind you need)
• Floor Spacers, a Knocking Block, and a Pull Bar (available as an all-in-one kit or sold separately)
• Cork expansion strips
• Threshold strip – T Bar or Reducer
• Pipe covers and Rosettes (wooden or pvc )
• Tape measure
• Fine-toothed saw/ Jigsaw with appropriate laminate blade
• Protective knee pads
• Pencil and Ruler
Having all these accessories may seem a bit much; but if you want to give your room a neat and professional finish then these things are essential.
4. Once you feel ready to start, the first step is to prepare your subfloor. This is the surface you’re going to be laying your underlay over before installing your laminate flooring.
• If your subfloor is made of wood, simply ensure that it’s firmly screwed down and flatten any screws or nails that are bulging out. All subfloors must be clean, level, flat, healthy and dry.
• If you have a concrete subfloor that isn’t level, you can buy a product called self-levelling screed that you pour onto the floor to even it out, so wait for that to dry if you use it. Screed usually takes one day per 1mm to dry. If you have new concrete it will take one month per 25mm (1 inch) to dry. It is imperative that the subfloor is dry before you proceed.
• If your subfloor is covered in carpet or carpet underlay, remove it; laminate flooring should not be installed on top of carpet. For optimum results, remember to vacuum the subfloor before you start. Doing this removes any grit or dirt that might be hanging around. It also makes for a cleaner home!
5. Now you’re ready to put down the underlay. You should choose the underlay to suit the subfloor not the product. All downstairs subfloors will require a vapour barrier or an underlay with an incorporated vapour barrier.
• On a concrete subfloor, Polyfoam underlay is perfect when used with a vapour barrier. An alternative to this is a High Performance Underlay which will have an incorporated vapour barrier and be better underfoot for both comfort and noise reduction.
• A wood subfloor may be better suited to a fibreboard underlay; this will take away any undulations from the timber boards and give even more sound reduction. And one more word of advice, always use fibreboard underlay over existing floorboards.
Congratulations! You are now ready to starting laying your laminate flooring. Rest assured that the next part is just as easy as this part was; we’ll teach you how to lay laminate flooring, and get it looking good, in Part 2.
This advice on laying a new floor was provided by Floormaker. You’ll find all kinds of stylish laminate flooring products, as well as all the tools you’ll need to install it, at their website.