Laminate flooring is a fantastic DIY product thanks to smart click installation systems and straightforward laying patterns. However there are certain rules to play by when fitting laminate flooring. Here our Technical Director, Marcus Ashburn, summarises the most common mistakes DIY enthusiasts make and how to avoid them.
Failing to properly prepare the subfloor
The subfloor must be level, dry, clean, and structurally sound before installing laminate flooring. Neglecting to prepare the subfloor properly can lead to issues such as uneven flooring, squeaking, or buckling.
For surfaces that are uneven, a levelling compound will be required prior to installation of the underlay and laminate floor.
Not allowing the laminate to acclimatise
As a flooring which is mostly made from wood, laminate flooring can expand in changing temperatures. For this reason, laminate flooring needs to acclimatise to the room's temperature and humidity level for at least 48 hours before installation. Failing to do so can cause the flooring to expand or contract after installation, leading to gaps or buckling.
Leave laminate flooring on a flat surface in the room it is to be installed to allow it to appropriately acclimatise to the environment.
Improper installation of underlay
The underlay is an essential layer for laminate installation as it provides cushioning, noise reduction, and moisture protection. Not installing it properly, or using a sub-standard underlay can cause the flooring to feel unstable, produce noise or even damage.
Use an acoustic underlay with a high density for excellent sound reduction properties. The underlay will also help to level out any slight uneven surfaces in the sub floor.
Not using the right tools and materials
You will need a few essential tools for installing laminate floor such as underlay, wood saw, spacers and tapping block to get the job done flawlessly. If these items are not used, it can lead to an uneven surface or even damage the planks during installation. It will also help you to save time and complete the job more efficiently.
Not leaving the appropriate expansion gap
Laminate flooring must have an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room and any fixed objects, like columns or fireplace hearths. This is because laminate flooring can be prone to slight swelling in increased humidity. Summer is the time of year when this will be most likely to happen.
Neglecting to leave enough of an expansion gap can lead to buckling or cupping of the flooring in months to come. Always use spacers around the perimeter of the room when installing laminate flooring.
Overlooking the importance of the direction of installation
The direction of the laminate installation can affect the overall look of the room. Choosing the wrong direction, such as installing against the light or the room's longest wall, can make the room feel cramped and make the flooring look uneven. Typically you will want to the length of the planks to be adjacent to the longest wall.
Not following the manufacturer’s instructions
Manufacturer instructions should always be followed when laying a laminate floor as these will provide you with the best and most efficient way for installation. Neglecting to follow such instructions leads to problems like incorrect measurements, gaps between boards and more.
Failing to use transition accessories
It is important to use suitable transition pieces when transitioning from one room to another as this will provide a seamless transition and also give the floor an even finish. Matching door bars and scotia beading will help to seamlessly cover gaps and uneven surfaces. Many people opt for standard chrome or brass door bars and plates, however we recommend matching these to your floor for a more contemporary finish.
These are some of the most common mistakes made when laying a laminate floor. To ensure that your job is done correctly, it is best to follow manufacturer instructions, use the right tools and materials, and take your time to prepare the subfloor properly. With a few simple tips, you can get a beautiful and professional looking laminate floor. Good luck!
You can browse our range of laminate flooring here. For further technical advice please feel free to give our helpful team a call on 01905 340238.