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How to lay laminate flooring

How to lay laminate flooring

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If you’ve just ordered some beautiful new laminate flooring, you’re probably feeling pretty chuffed at how perfect it will look in your home. The next step, of course, is fitting your laminate flooring in whatever space you’ve chosen. As flooring experts, we always think it’s best practice to let our experts fit your flooring, well – expertly! But you may have heard that it’s quite easy to fit laminate flooring yourself.

If you’re thinking of fitting your laminate flooring yourself, here’s a helping hand to ensure you cover all the bases. This step-by-step guide on how to lay laminate flooring has all the tips and tricks, as well as the essential tools you’ll need and some FAQs if any last-minute questions pop into your head before you start. And, before you start the installation process, make sure you acclimatise your laminate flooring first.

What you will need

You will need specific tools for laying laminate flooring, to make sure that it lies nicely with no unattractive gaps or spaces. Check the manufacturers’ guidelines to ensure you have the right tools, as different locking mechanisms require different approaches. Your tools checklist will likely look something like this:

  • Mitre saw
  • Small crowbar
  • Square
  • Drill with a flat wood bit
  • Flooring kit, including spacers
  • Stanley knife
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Safety goggles and face mask
  • Masking tape
  • Vacuum cleaner

QUICK SAFETY TIPS

  • Woodcutting should always be done with safety goggles and a face mask.
  • Avoid spending too much time on your knees and protect your knees with kneepads.
  • Another pair of hands makes measuring and installing new flooring much easier
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How to prepare a surface before laying laminate flooring

Our favourite saying here at Tapi is: ‘Fail to prepare; prepare to fail!’ We take our preparation very seriously, and you should too so that your new laminate flooring stays gorgeous for many years to come.

If you’ve read our ‘What is laminate flooring?’ guide, then you’ll know that preparing your subfloor is a crucial first step. Laminate or solid wood flooring should not be laid over old flooring, as the surface may not be level and can trap moisture and dampness beneath the new floor.

Take up your old flooring and make sure your subfloor is dry, smooth, level, and free from debris. If you need any help with checking whether your flooring is up to scratch, check out our guide on what makes a good subfloor.

How to install laminate flooring in 10 easy steps

Now that you have a clear subfloor, you’re ready to jump into the next stage of the process – laying your underlay and the laminate flooring! Follow these ten steps for a fail-safe installation:
  1. Double-check your subfloor is dry, level, and free of any debris one more time! 
  2. Once your subfloor is ready, install your underlay. As well as achieving a neater finish when you lay the flooring on top, this creates a more durable surface and insulates the space. For more information on the different types of underlay to best suit different subfloors, check out our FAQs below .
  3. Once your underlay is laid, you can arrange your laminate flooring to your liking. In general, it looks best for the boards to run parallel with the longest wall in the room. 
  4. The best way to lay laminate flooring is to start in a corner and lay the first row of boards tongue side facing the nearest
  5. wall. Place spacers from your flooring kit between the board and the wall with a 6 -10mm expansion gap. Keep this gap consistent all around the room.
  6. Depending on how long your room is, you might need to adjust the length of the last board in the row. Using a square, mark where to cut this board on the back. If the offcut is at least 30cm long, you can begin the next row with it. 
  7. Stagger the joints from row to row as you lay the boards side-by-side. 
  8. To find the width of the last board, lay a plank over the previous row. Then place another plank over that, so it’s square with the expansion gap at the edge of the wall, with the tongue side facing the wall. Use this as a guide to mark a line down the length of the plank below. Cut along the line and position it in the final gap – it should be the correct width. line up the boards and apply light pressure: the click mechanism will engage.
  9. This type of flooring is called a ‘floating floor’, which means it isn’t nailed down. To prevent the laminate from moving or becoming damaged, it cannot touch any wall, door frame or pipe. 
  10. Place your laminate neatly around any doorframes or pipes – don’t worry, we’ve got instructions on that directly below.
  11. Finally, lay scotia or install skirting boards to cover the expansion gap, and admire your handiwork! You now have a laminate masterpiece in your own home. 
     

How to install laminate flooring around doorframes

You have two choices when it comes to fitting laminate around doors - undercut the doorframe so you can slide the boards underneath or cut the boards to fit around the door frame.

Tapi Top Tip: Hand sawing the door frame is a simpler way to achieve a neat finish. Be sure not to cut off too much of the door frame by measuring the depth of the boards first!

For radiator pipes, you can use a flat wood bit to drill a hole, followed by cutting a keyhole shape with a mitre saw around the pipe. Most radiator pipes require a 30-mm hole, so ensure the hole is big enough that none of the laminate boards will touch the pipe, and there's an adequate expansion gap.

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Laying laminate flooring FAQs

We’ve tried to break this process down into easy-to-follow steps, but you may still have some questions about the dos and don’ts of laying laminate flooring! Below we’ve answered some of the most common questions we hear from our customers about laying their own laminate flooring:

Can you lay laminate over carpet?

We would always recommend that you take up the carpet before laying any laminate. A thick plush carpet will not be stable enough to support a laminate floor. If your carpet is thin and if you are not able to remove it, it may be possible – but there will remain a risk that the floor will fail. We would suggest still checking the quality and standard of your subfloor, to ensure that it’s stable, strong, and dry enough to keep your laminate safe.

Laying laminate on concrete

You can definitely lay laminate flooring over concrete! Concrete and other smooth surfaces are highly recommended as good subfloors for laying laminate – however, if you’re laying fresh concrete, ensure it’s completely dry and smooth before you lay your underlay. Allow a minimum of one day’s drying time for every 1mm in the depth of concrete laid.

Can you lay laminate on wooden flooring?

Yes! Wooden flooring is a great option for laying laminate flooring over, however, there are a couple of requirements you must be aware of before you start rolling out the underlay.

Check that the floor is as smooth as possible – if any wooden floorboards aren't firmly screwed down, secure them. Remove raised nails with a hammer. Fill any wide gaps between floorboards with thin wood wedges glued in place using wood adhesive. We recommend laying a ply sheet on top to ensure a smooth surface for the underlay and laminate flooring.

How much laminate flooring do I need?

This is the section where we will need to do a little maths! Follow these steps on how to work out how much laminate flooring you need:
  1. Measure the width of your room using a tape measure.
  2. Measure the length of your room.
  3. Multiply the length of your room by the width.
  4. Add 10% to account for any errors.

 

How many packs of laminate do I need?

To work out how many boxes of lamiante you will need to cover your entre room, you're going to divide the room area, by the box size. So, for a room that is 15m² and the floor you have chosen comes in a pack size of 2.3m², you'll divide 15 by 2.3 to get an answer of 6.5, so you need 7 boxes of flooring. Apply this same formula to different box and pack sizes to figure out just how mcuh you'll need. 

How much does it cost to install laminate flooring yourself?

If you are hoping to save money by fitting your laminate flooring yourself, then there are costs you will need to consider on top of the price you pay for your laminate boards.  We recommend buying approximately 10% more than the square metreage you need, to allow for miss-cuts and general wastage.
  • The cost of your flooring – the average room is 16.3 sq. metres, which means if you were to pick one of our laminate floorings, like Bosco in Emil, it will cost roughly £261.59 for 7 packs of 17.45m2 boards. 
  • The cost of underlay – underlay prices will vary but will start at an average of £65 
  • The cost of accessories – allow roughly £80 for various accessories for your laminate flooring, like scotia and transition strips.   
  • Once you add in admin and delivery fees, you are looking at a total of roughly £455. Of course, calling in a professional does involve extra costs: 
  • The cost of a professional fitting – roughly £150-£250 
  • A couple of cups of tea and biscuits - £2 
So, you’re still able to get an entire room laid with laminate flooring for under £750! You may find that if you choose to fit your flooring, the cost of purchasing all the necessary tools may outbalance the cost of a professional fitter who comes with all the tools. It’s just about weighing up the cost: benefit ratio!

Unsure if you want to lay laminate yourself? Let us help

When you buy Tapi laminate, you don’t need to worry about laying it yourself. Our professional flooring fitters are experts in the field (not to mention, really lovely people!) who will make quick work of laying your laminate flooring – why not book a free home visit or visit your nearest store to speak to our team and see what we can do for you?

If you’ve decided to jump headfirst into DIY, check out our tips on caring for your laminate floor, to find out more about looking after it properly for the future – you won’t want your masterpiece to get covered in scratches; or tips on how to lay herringbone flooring, if you fancy a challenge! You can also check out our ideas hub to find some amazing style inspiration for your new space.

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Published: 19-08-2022