The reasons behind the rising popularity of laminate flooring in modern-day homes are many. This flooring material is made up of well-engineered composite wood with a resin coated on its upper surface that makes it environment friendly. It looks like a hardwood timber, but its cost is much lesser than hardwood. Laminate flooring is found in a wide range of stylish colors and finishes that suit modern lifestyle. It does not require any extra effort for maintenance and cleaning. As it is resistant towards water, there is no possibility of damage brought about by humidity.
Laminate flooring is basically a floating floor. Its planks are interconnected to one another, but are not attached to the base, like the floor or the walls. There are two important aspects of installation. First, proper preparation of the base or floor and then laying the planks. A few tricks and techniques that can make this installation job easier for you are discussed here:
Preparing the Floor
For preparing the surface, you have to remove the old flooring first. In case, a carpet is covering the floor, discard it along with the padding placed below it. Take out the tack strips that were used to fasten up the carpet at the edges and corners of the room. Inspect the floor carefully to check whether any padding or some other materials are stuck to it. If required, scrape them out. Clean up the floor with the help of vacuum cleaner.
The thickness of laminate boards is very less and any underlying ridges or holes can cause damage to its surface. In those uneven areas, the laminate planks will either dip or bend and cracks may develop on them. Therefore, its base should be leveled properly. The uneven surfaces of the concrete floor can be leveled by coating it with a layer of thin set mortar. When the flooring is of plywood, you may find bumps on them which are formed due to moisture absorption. Locate those damaged spots and repair them with new plywood replacement.
Installing Laminate Flooring
As we have already mentioned, laminate flooring cannot be laid directly on any floor surface. It has to be placed over an underlayment. Wood-based and gypsum-based are the two varieties of underlay pads available that can be used for this purpose. Gypsum fiber underlayment is more popular than the wooden ones, as it has higher durability and is not affected by moisture.
Expansion and contraction of the laminate flooring is bound to happen with the change in weather conditions. Hence, it is necessary to keep a gap of half an inch in between the edges of the flooring and the walls of the room. In the absence of such a gap, the laminate floor may get distorted after some time.
While installing it near the doors, it has to be extended under the door frames. So, the door frames need to be trimmed from below according to the thickness of the laminate board. Measure the thickness properly and then trim the door as per that measurement.
Before you lay it in the kitchen, you must install all the kitchen cabinets. If they are not installed, then you would have to cut the laminate planks into small sizes in order to fit them into the areas around the kitchen cabinets.
Laying the laminate flooring in the area surrounding a pipe is a tricky task. Take the measurement of the circumference of the pipe with great care. Bore a hole on the laminate plank which is about half an inch larger than the actual diameter of the pipe. Cut the holed out part of the laminate board into two pieces and place it around the pipe and paste the two pieces with glue.
Finally, I would like to advise you to check out each plank for any kind of damage. This because, if you find the defects before installation, only then the defective piece would be replaced or your money would be refunded.