Installing laminate flooring isn’t very hard, but steps do need to be taken to make sure it’s done right. The installation process will wind up wasting some of the flooring, so make sure to order 10% more flooring than you really need. Then, upon the arrival of the flooring, ensure that you unwrap it and leave it in the room for at least three days before the install. By allowing the flooring to rest in the rooms, it will end up getting used to the humidity and temperature. If you don’t let the flooring acclimate to the new temperature, it may shrink and expand after being installed, which will actually ruin the floor.
Make sure that you clean the sub-floor before you begin the laminate flooring installation. You have to clean this sub-floor or the flooring won’t lay flat against it. Just make sure that anything attached to the walls is at a high enough point that the new laminate can slide underneath, and if you need to, remove it. If your laminate flooring is being installed over a concrete type sub-floor, ensure that the concrete is cured before the laminate is brought into the room to acclimate.
After the sub-flooring is clean, and before starting the floor installation, lay down a vapor barrier. A vapor barrier like this will protect the flooring from sudden moisture changes, important in homes with damp crawl spaces. Consulting the manufacturer’s direction guide should be the next step, but you’ll find that most vapor barriers overlap or butt right up next to each other.
If your door jams have molding, which is characteristic of most of them, then trim them so that your new flooring slides clean underneath. Then, you’re going to want to place the manufacturer’s suggested width of spacers up against the starting wall, ensuring that the first row of laminate is with the grooved side against the spacers. The function of the spacers is to allow the floor to expand and contract; this will be covered with base molding when you are finished.
Now you’re ready to lay the rest of the laminate row by row, ensuring that the flooring grooves are tapped tightly to the tongue of each preceding piece. Also, make sure that each plank flooring end is offset 6 to 8 inches from each neighboring piece. When finished laying the floor, install door thresholds and baseboard molding to finish the project.