Laminate flooring continues being a favorite of many, mostly thanks to better flooring technology allowing the look of real hardwood. Being able to buy laminate floors in plank form makes it easier than ever to get this installed fast within a home or in a business.
How does someone really install these floors, though? You may hear a lot of back and forth about how easy it is, followed by others saying you need to hire a professional.
It mostly comes down to whether you’ve had experience installing a floor or working with basic tools. If not, it never hurts to hire a professional installer.
Take a look at the usual methods used for getting laminate floors installed in one day.
The Good News: Most Laminate Planks Are Easy to Put Together
Big flooring brand names like Armstrong sell laminate planks that are relatively easy to install or assemble.
It’s usually as simple as snapping the planks together and putting them in place. Thanks to being laminate, you usually don’t have to use adhesives since it’s commonly used as a floating floor.
Nevertheless, a number of steps have to be taken before putting those planks down. Some of those steps involve prepping and a few separate tasks to ensure the job is done right.
If you think you’ll need a floor installer, they don’t mind you learning a thing or two while you watch them work. Although there is one thing you can do for them before the real work begins.
Preparing the Subfloor
All the prep involved before the laminate planks go in can take some extra time, often a couple of days before. You need to make sure your subfloor is clean of debris before anything further happens.
Much of this can be done on your own to cut down on an installation bill. Part of it could also include you removing the old flooring and baseboards if you’re physically able.
Make sure your subfloor is flat before going forward with installing the planks. If the subfloor isn’t solid enough, you may need to put down a patching compound if the subfloor is concrete.
In the case of a wooden subfloor, you’ll want to remove any nails sticking out of the floor. Applying a foam underlayment may be necessary if determining the subfloor is uneven.
Just before you install the planks, be sure to lay them out on the floor for 48 hours. Doing so allows them to acclimate to the environment if humidity is a problem.
Testing How Your Laminate Planks Fit
As you lay the planks out, it’s a good idea to arrange them in a way to ensure they’ll properly fit within certain spaces.
Your biggest challenge is properly cutting them so the planks fit around corners and door trims. A better way to approach this is to simply trim the door molding for an easier floor fit.
You can do that by lining up a piece of plank next to the molding and tracing a guide line on latter. If you have a jamb saw on hand, you can easily cut the molding to shape.
Obviously, this takes a little more exacting work, yet still possible if you’ve done basic work like this before. An installation expert will gladly show you how it’s done if you’re unsure.
The First Row of Laminate Flooring Sets Up the Rest of the Installation
HGTV notes that creating spacers is an important part of laying down the first row of planks. By cutting small pieces of plank and laying them against wall edges, you’ll allow ¼-inch space from plank to wall.
Doing this allows you room to place your wall base later. Now you see how important the first row is before continuing all other plank rows.
The snap-together method of most laminate planks is easy to do yourself. Sometimes it might involve gently tapping a mallet to properly fit each row into place.
Your last row should also be ¼-inch from the opposite wall in the room. Installing wallbase is another job on its own, but many of the same manufacturers producing your laminate floor also manufacture superior wall base materials.