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How to Install Laminate Flooring
When installing laminate flooring, you must follow specific steps to ensure a perfect result. The first step is to install a thin layer of plywood as a firm, flat base. Then, install the transition pieces. Moreover, check the moisture content of the room before starting the installation. Finally, to avoid problems, it is best to install the laminate flooring from the door side of the room.
Measure twice and cut once
When installing laminate flooring, following the manufacturer’s instructions is essential. Although laminate flooring is generally sized like wood flooring, it can differ from one brand to another. Therefore, it is recommended to measure twice before cutting. If you have uneven flooring, you may need to add extra material.
If you’re unsure how to cut the laminate flooring, the first step is measuring your floor. You can use different tools for different cuts. Refer to the cutting guide included with your laminate flooring to learn which type of tools to use. The simplest method is to use a knife or a mechanical saw to cut the tongue and grooves. To space the laminate correctly, you may use spacers.
The spacing between planks of laminate flooring is crucial. Putting planks too close together can leave little room for movement. Also, crowding the floor can cause planks to the bunch. The manufacturer will provide full specifications of plank spacing for your flooring.
Check for moisture levels before installing laminate flooring
Moisture levels play a significant role in the performance of laminate flooring. When the humidity level is too high, it expands and causes the planks to buckle. In contrast, when the humidity level is low, it shrinks. This can cause gaps between the planks and can lead to uneven floors.
Moisture testing should be performed before installation. Most manufacturers have installation guidelines requiring moisture testing. Others refer to the standards the National Association of Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) set forth. For example, Shaw specifies a maximum moisture limit of 12% for wood subfloors. Some manufacturers do not specify the type of moisture meter used. Still, it is advisable to consult your installation manual to ensure that the subfloor is prepared correctly.
Another way to determine moisture levels is to conduct an electrical moisture meter. This device will measure the moisture content of a sample by varying its resistance. It will tell whether a particular sample has too high or low moisture levels. In addition, the humidity measurement will help you determine whether the flooring is suitable for installation.
Lay down a thin, rigid layer of plywood as a flat, firm base
When laying down laminate flooring, be sure to level the subfloor. You can use a carpenter’s level to check for dips and heaves. If the surface is uneven, the laminate planks may pull apart, and gaps between them.
Laminate flooring is typically made of four layers. The bottom layer is made of waterproof melamine, which provides a flat, firm base for the laminate. The middle layer is made of high-density fiberboard (HDF), a composite of wood pulp and polymer or resin binders. Finally, the top layer of laminate contains a photo of wood.
Install transition pieces
When installing laminate flooring, it is essential to use transition pieces. These pieces hide the edges of the laminate and provide an expansion gap. Following the manufacturer’s instructions when installing these pieces is also essential. If you don’t, you may have trouble installing the laminate flooring. The manufacturer may have additional tips to help you complete the job.
Start by preparing the area where you want to install the transition strips. First, mark the area where the flooring meets the concrete floor. Next, drill and plug the holes. Next, install the rails. Afterward, install the reducer molding, leaving enough room for expansion and contraction.
Finish the floor
When installing laminate flooring, you can use various finishing techniques, such as staining, baseboards, and thresholds. You can also install shoe molding. To attach shoe molding to your new laminate flooring, drill one-eighth-inch holes and use 4d finish nails. Be careful not to nail into the flooring itself. After installing the shoe molding, cut the last row of flooring to size and leave enough expansion space to finish the installation. If necessary, replace any damaged baseboards with new molding.
When installing laminate flooring, the joints should be staggered so that the next row will not overlap the first one. The space between adjacent rows should be approximate 2x the width of the first row. After installing one row, install the next row, leaving a 3/8-inch gap at the ends. Make sure to space the end joints, so they do not buckle or separate.