Recently, laminate flooring has been getting popular. Homeowners now choose laminate flooring as their flooring material for their homes. Although not all of them make these decisions, some hurry to choose and end up installing it the wrong way.
Installing laminate can be a difficult task. It doesn't matter if you're doing it or working with a professional, it is good you understand the usual problems that may happen.
You can avoid most of the problems, with the right approach.
Now, what is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring is an outstanding flooring that can improve the decorative nature of any room. So, after you have researched on the flooring type, now comes the installation time.
Good news is that this particular flooring is DIY-friendly. The bad news is, if you don't take note of important details and use a shortcut when installing, you would meet problems headway.
We would look at ways to prepare for the installation, and how to prevent problems during installation.
Preparing for the Installation
Be ready for the task ahead:
Installing new floors can be an exhausting task and yet it is a vital factor at home. To get it done, you will need patience, proper tools, and the right knowledge. Be sure to know the time, commitment, and energy that you will need before commencing any project.
Nonetheless, if you decide to employ a professional, make sure they are certified and experienced. See their references.
Inspect the sub-floor:
Sub-floor is a concrete or cement type floor that stays underneath flooring materials. They can get weak over time. For instance, if you place laminate flooring on such types of sub-floors, the new floor gets compromised and damaged. It can create micro gaps and creak in the new floor.
To check for problems in a sub-floor, follow the procedures below:
- Use the level tool to inspect how flat the floor is. Try with four to six-foot level on the sub-floor, after this, check the distance you can get the bubble to float between the vertical lines. If you notice it floats to one end of the level, sub-floor is not even.
- Use the level tool to measure gaps or pores. Depressions that measure less than 1/8 are good for new floor installation. Otherwise, if they are larger than 1/8, use the self-leveling mortar to smoothen the surface.
- You should check the measurement for areas that top higher than 1/8. Areas like this need to lower so the surface gets even. If wood floors, sand them down. You can grind down concrete floors. Use a marker to spot all the uneven areas to keep track.
Select quality material:
Laminate flooring tends to develop defective problems right away. This applies to cheap ones though. When used extensively, it warps, buckles, and builds stain over time. My advice? Ask a professional carpenter for best brands before you buy. If not, ask a home center employee, check online for reviews or call a contractor.
When buying, add extra 15% more laminate than you expect to need. It comes handy when any damage occurs in the future or inaccurate measurements.
Also, do not buy products that contain harmful chemicals.
Use proper underlayment:
Underlayment is a threadlike, hard layer of either wood, foam or cement board. It is important to the installation process because it safeguards the floor from moisture. Here’s why: Once the laminate flooring has moisture in it, expansion takes place. This is not good, because it disorientates the look of your flooring.
But the proper alignment of underlayment helps prevent laminate flooring from absorbing moisture. When no moisture is found, it reduces the possibility of warping or buckling of laminate flooring. Here’s one interesting fact, underlayment insulates noise, this way it maintains the temperature in your home and creates a level surface.
Plywood is the standard choice for an underlayment material, especially with laminate flooring. However, the kind you pick depends on what gets exposed to the floor after installation. For instance, if you base in airless climate, marine plywood is best. You should ask professional installers for recommendations also.
Plywood underlayment type comes cheap and easy to install. It is packaged in a heavy sheet used to cover the floor and secures the floor with screws around edges.
Supervise the temperature of the laminate:
Flooring that stays outside for a long time, gets contracted. If you begin the installation immediately it gets inside, part of the floor stays cold. So, once you install it while cold, slowly acclimatizes to room temperature and changes in size.
The section of the laminate that gets cold does not matter here, because it still expands and exerts pressure on other parts. Which causes cracks and humps in the floor as it ruins the whole project.
So, you avoid installing it when cold. Allow it to warm up before you install.
How to Prevent Problems during Installation
Use the manual carefully during installation:
Modern laminate flooring does not require manual installation. This is when you pound or tap it into place. What they use is a system of locks that snaps together.
Don't use a hammer to drive in laminate flooring that uses this system. It breaks the edges and leaves your floor disoriented.
Check each piece of laminate:
If you decide to install the laminate yourself, inspect each plank for any visible defects. Because once a piece is mistakenly installed, it becomes difficult to replace after other pieces get installed.
Here’s why; manufactures will not account for defective pieces once installed.
Create space for expansion:
Although you may want to stop laminate flooring from swelling, it cannot be avoided completely. To tackle this space problem, it's vital to leave a small amount of space around the edges of where the installation takes place.
If you do not reserve extra space, the laminate will buckle and warp sooner than you expect.
So what measurement is ideal? You can leave ½ of space along the edges of the area. Or you can consult a professional for accurate measurements.
Look out for gaps between pieces:
Modern laminate flooring is created with grooves and similar designs that lock the pieces together. This helps avoid gaps. Unlocked pieces drift apart over time. They show as dark lines, which mean open expanses.
You can fix these space problems with a rubber hammer. You can tap the pieces together as they diverge.
Unattended gaps lead to moisture or debris that leaves in between those spaces. After this, it gets hard to smack back together.
If you lack a rubber hammer, substitute with a tool that does the job without any scratch.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Was it helpful to you?
Also, boards cut into half can be used for small areas or closets. Do not fill in closets until there's some left after the installation process.
Also, you can give the floor a nice finish by changing its color.
Do you have any concern on your laminate flooring? Please let us know in the comments! If you enjoyed this post, please share gracefully!!! ~Remember sharing is caring! ~