DIY How To

Laying a laminate floor

This project is sponsored by Luxury Flooring & Furnishings

Laminate floors mimic the look of traditional woods while offering easy installation and lasting durability. What appears to be a natural wood grain pattern is really a thin layer of decor paper under a tough protective film that is glued and pressed to a high-density backing board. Laminate Floors come in an array of wood effects as well as stone and ceramic effects.

Laying a laminate floor


Luxury Flooring & Furnishings

Fitting instructions may vary, check the manufacturers instructions carefully before commencing installation.

subfloor The more that can be removed from a room the easier and better the job will be. If you are laying a laminate floor in a kitchen, remove the plinths from the bottom of the work units where possible. In a bathroom remove the toilet, sink and bath panel if possible.
Check there are no nails or screws sticking up and clean the floor surface.
laminate

There are a number of ways and different patterns that can be created when laying laminate flooring. Lay some loose boards and decide which way looks best. Laying the boards length ways or width ways, staggering the joints to give a brick effect. Check that there are not going to be any thin cuts at the end of a row, if so cut the first board down, this will make the last length that much longer.

underlay

Lay the underlay, there is different underlay for different situations. A wooden floor only requires a thin foam underlay where as a concrete floor needs a damp proof membrane as well as the underlay. There are underlay's that provide heat and sound insulation, or underlay's that combine both a damp proof membrane and the foam in one.

start in a corner

Start laying the boards in a left hand corner, place the board so the short tongue faces the wall and leave a 10mm gap to allow for expansion.

second length Place the next board in line with the first board, lift the board to an angle of 30° and insert the short tongue of the board into the long tongue of the first board. Lower the board to lock the boards together. Continue fitting additional boards until the first row is complete.
last in row Place the last board in the row face down, adjacent to the row as shown, with the short groove towards the end wall. Mark a cut line on the back of the board inline with the edge of the laminate on the previous board. As shown in red.
cut using power tools When using a jigsaw to cut the board, mark out the back of the board, place the board face down on a secure surface whilst cutting. This is done to prevent the laminate face chipping, as a jigsaw cuts on its upward stroke.
Hand cut When using a hand saw, select a fine toothed saw ( approx. 11 tooth per inch TPI ) and cut the board face up. This is because a hand saw cuts on a downward stroke so will prevent the laminate face chipping.
New row A new row can be started with either a new board or the off cut from the previous row as shown. It may also be necessary to cut a new board down to create a brick effect pattern. Which ever method is chosen make sure that the joints are at least 300mm away from the end wall.
next row

Join the first two boards in the new row together, this makes it easier to join them to the previous row. Lift both boards to approx. 30° along their length and push them into the long groove of the previous row.

More difficult The third board is slightly more difficult, lift the board to an angle of 30° and lock it to the previous board by lowering it, getting it as close as possible to the board in the previous row without overlapping.
Tap board Use a tapping block to knock the board into the board from the previous row. You can buy a purpose made block or use an off cut piece of laminate board as shown. (Ensure the off cut locks fully into the board being tapped)
Last row The last row of boards will probably need to be cut down along the entire length.
Lay on top Place a board on top of the last row, in exactly the same position.
Mark board along length Place another board on top but slide up against the wall. Do not use spacers. Draw a line along the edge of this board, to mark the first board. When cut this board will be the required width including the 10mm gap between the wall.
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