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Plank laying kit, red

The beauty of laminate flooring is that it can be installed without the help of a professional tradesman. Even if you've no DIY experience whatsoever, you should still be able to lay your laminate floor with relative ease!

Not sure how laminate flooring installation works? Read on, and Floormaker's handy guide will tell you everything you need to know!

You Will Need:

Before You Start
Leave the unopened packs in the room that you're going to re-floor for at least 72 hours. This allows the boards to acclimatise to that room's natural conditions.

Prepare the Sub-Floor
The sub-floor is whatever you're laying your new floor on top of. Remove any carpet, linoleum or vinyl sheet from the sub-floor, along with any existing underlay. Ensure that your sub-floor meets the following criteria before proceeding:
  • Is it dry? (You can use a moisture meter to check this)
  • Is it flat and level?
  • Is it clean and dust-free?
  • Is it free from protruding nails, screws, etc.?
If you are installing the new floor on top of vinyl tiles, ensure that they are stuck down properly. If you are installing on top of floorboard, make sure they're firmly fixed or cover them with plywood sheets (at least 6mm thick), nailing the sheets down at every 300mm in all directions. Alternatively, cover the old floorboards with fibre board underlay.

Underlay
Now it's time to add your underlay. Cover the sub-floor completely with damp-proof membrane (or another underlay product with similar qualities, such as our high performance underlay); once that's done, take a metre-wide strip of foam underlay and lay it along the length of the longest wall.

Laying the Floor
Once you've prepared the sub-floor, added the underlay, and given your new floor 72 hours to acclimatise, it's time to start laying. Open the packs and mix the boards up for an assortment of shades and textures (the floor will look more natural this way). Before laying each board, wipe the tongue/groove with a dry cloth to remove any debris.

IMPORTANT! CHECK YOUR FLOORING FOR DAMAGE BEFORE YOU START INSTALLING IT! NO COMPENSATION WILL BE GIVEN FOR BOARDS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN FIXED DOWN!

Start laying your boards in the right-hand corner of the room (lay them with the 'tongue' side facing the wall - the 'tongue' is the overlap, and the 'groove' is the underlap). Here's a good tip: measure the room against the boards and see how many rows you need ahead of time so that you're not left with thin boards on your last row. If this would be the case, cut your first row to make the last row wider. Laminate floorboards connect using a simple 'express' loc' system that allows the ends of the boards to snap together. You must leave a 12mm expansion gap around all perimeter edges (including fireplaces and doorways). Use your floor spacers to achieve this, allowing your floorboards to expand naturally.

Note: If you are installing the new floor in your bathroom (or another high-humidity area), you will need to seal the floorboards by running a bead of PVA glue along each groove before installing the board into place.

When you reach the other side of the room on your first row, cut the final plank of that row and use the offcut to start your second row of boards (unless the offcut is less than 300mm wide). This will create a 'staggered' effect that strengthens the floor and creates a natural appearance.

Step-by-step guide to laminate flooring installation

Finishing Off
Once you've finished laying your new floor, remove the 12mm spacers and replace them with cork expansion strips. Fix your edging/scotia to the wall (DO NOT nail or glue it to the floor) - this will hide your expansion gap.

If you're still unsure about any of these steps, feel free to drop us an email on sales@floormaker.co.uk.