How To Install Laminate Flooring

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If you're looking for a way to change the look and feel of your home, installing laminate flooring is an easy and inexpensive solution.

Laminate flooring comes in many different styles and colors so it's easy to find one that matches your decor. It also has a high-gloss finish which makes it perfect for wet areas like bathrooms or kitchens.

In this article, we'll show you how to install laminate flooring in your home –  Keep reading to learn more.

How to Install Laminate Flooring (DIY)
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Remove any existing flooring

Before installing laminate flooring, you'll need to remove any existing flooring in the room. If the current floor is carpeted, that is all you need to do. If it has ceramic tiles or hardwood floors, you will need to apply a layer of underlayment over the entire area. This will give your new floors an even surface and prevent squeaks so they are ready for installation.

Prepare the subfloor

Before installing laminate flooring, you'll need to make sure the subfloor is clean and free from dust, debris, or anything else which might get in between your new planks. Sweep the entire area thoroughly with a strong broom before using an air compressor with a soft brush attachment to remove any additional dust or particles.

Assemble your tools

Before you start installing the laminate flooring, it's important to make sure you have all of the necessary tools for the job. Here is a basic list of what you'll need: 

  • Tape measure 
  • Tin snips 
  • Hammer 
  • Pencil 
  • Vacuum cleaner 
  • Drill Saw 
  • Blow dryer 
  • Electric sander

You will also need nails, matching color screws, and wood glue to complete your installation.

Install underlayment (optional)

If your subfloor isn't even in certain areas, you can level out low spots with an underlayment before laying down the laminate planks. This gives you better results in terms of noise reduction and allows your new flooring to be installed in any area of the home without worrying about damage to the subfloor.

To install underlayment, use a straight edge and utility knife to cut it out using the existing flooring as your guide. This will ensure an accurate fit. You can attach this material with nails or glue after you've determined it is in the correct spot for your room.

Install laminate planks

You'll need to start by laying down spacers every 24 inches along each wall in the room into which you're installing laminate flooring. Then measure and mark where you want each plank to go making sure they are perfectly straight. You can also use adhesive strips on the back of the planks instead of spacers.

Once you have marked where you want each plank to go, install them using a hammer drill fitted with a 3/16″ bit to create holes through the subfloor and into the underlayment below. You can also use an electric sander with 100-grit sandpaper wrapped around it if you don't have access to a power saw.

Next, screw your new planks directly into the plywood or underlayment over these pilot holes. Be sure that all screws are tight and countersunk but still covered by wood filler. Finally, remove any excess filler from the top surface of the flooring and allow it time to dry before installing your new laminate flooring.

Now that you have prepared the room and installed your new laminate flooring, it's time to decorate. You can use many different kinds of rugs under sofas and chairs for a splash of color. Or you can install large area rugs in your living room or bedroom to change the feel of the entire space.

Install laminate planks
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How long does it take to install laminate flooring?

The average person who has some experience can complete a standard 10 x 15 space installation in about 4 hours. If you want to do it by yourself, you should prepare for at least 6 hours of free time. 

How much does it cost to install laminate flooring?

The average price for one person (man-hours) can vary from 50 to 100USD/sq.ft. Overall, the total costs should be around 400-600 USD, if you buy everything by yourself (flooring+molding+kits). If you want someone else to do this work for you, count on spending 650 – 1,250 USD. You may also need other items like sandpaper or design samples which are not included in this estimate.

What types of underlayment exist?

You can also use plywood or cement boards as underlayment materials. However, these choices must be scrupulously checked before deciding because they could make noise during walking. The best underlayments are cork tile, foam tiles, and rubber mats. These materials absorb all kinds of sounds, limiting vibrations between the floor and underlayment.

What is the best way to lay laminate flooring?

Laying your laminate flooring is the most important process. It will define how well your new floor will look. People usually lay their floors in three ways: diagonally, straight, or herringbone. Diagonal installation works well for large rooms, while straight installation is better for long, narrow spaces. Herringbone can be used to give a different look to small areas like closets, bathrooms, and hallways.

When laying your laminate flooring, you need to use a lock system that will interlock the pieces together. Generally, there are 3 main types of systems: floating, click-together, or glue-down installation. Floating installations are easy to remove and re-use in another place which are ideal for renters who want to change their decor often. You don't need special tools for this method, but it may move if the house has humidity issues. Click-together floors allow you to separate each plank from each other, allowing more space between boards when they expand. Glue-down systems are the most recommended because they provide a stronger bond between boards. To do a glue-down installation, you'll need special adhesives and tools.

Which laminate flooring type is the cheapest?

The cheapest type of laminate floors is that with wood textures. On average, these floors cost about 1 USD/sq ft. In comparison, luxury vinyl planks can go from 5 to 15 USD/sq ft depending on their quality and design. For more intensive installations, you will also have to buy underlayments and adhesives which will raise the price up to 30 – 40%. Luxury vinyl planks can go from 5 to 15 USD/sq ft depending on their quality and design.

How does laminate compare to other materials?

When comparing Corian solid surface vs laminate flooring, for example, one can see that Corian costs about $ 14 – 17 per sqft. This material is scratch-proof and heat/cold resistant, but you can't install it by yourself. You'll need special tools like saws or routers which will slightly raise the final price. Laminate flooring is cheaper (about 1 USD/sq ft), but it's not as durable nor easy to clean.

You can also compare laminate vs hardwood flooring, where laminate will be the cheapest (2 – 4 USD/sq ft) compared to engineered hardwood. However, solid hardwood can't be installed by oneself and it requires certain accords with the humidity in your house. Another alternative for comparing is laminate vs luxury vinyl plank. On average, LV planks cost about 6-8 USD/sqft while laminate floors go around 1 dollar per sqft. Although they are more expensive than natural materials, LV flooring is much more customizable thanks to their large design library.

Laminate Flooring Installation
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Final thoughts on how to install laminate flooring

In conclusion, laminate flooring is a proven product that is offered at an affordable price. It provides durability, ease of installation, and great looks.

You can install laminate in your home with confidence if you have the right tools and follow the directions carefully. Laminate flooring is easy to work with and relatively inexpensive when compared to other types of floor coverings while giving you many choices in color and pattern. It also cleans easily with most household cleaners or water mixed with vinegar.

Keep the above tips in mind and you will be able to install laminate flooring like a pro.

Ryan Copley

Ryan Copley

Having spent years participating in bathroom, kitchen, and home renovations, Ryan uses this experience to write informative blog posts on a wide variety of home renovation and kitchen topics.

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