Laminate flooring is a great way to freshen up your home, with a variety of classic and modern designs. Installing most modern laminate floors is pretty straightforward, with a little DIY know-how you can lay your new laminate and save on professional installation costs. In this guide we will take you through the main stages of how to lay laminate flooring, including preparation, installation and safety tips.
Before we start, bear in mind that different laminate floors may have different fitting methods, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions to see whether your floor needs to be glued or not.
Measuring the area
First things first, you are probably going to want to know how many packs you need, and therefore how much to lay laminate flooring. The good news is that our handy calculator on each product page can do this for you!
With your trusty tape measure, measure the length and width of the room at the widest points. Then enter these measurements into the calculator to work out the total coverage. At this point, we recommend that you select the option to add an extra 10% to allow for wastage during laying, and any spare strips of laminate can be kept in case you need to replace any in the future. The calculator will then tell you how many packs you would need for that particular design, how quickly we can deliver it and the cost.
What you’ll need
When considering the how much to lay laminate flooring, don’t forget about accessories and underlay. Our online store has everything you need from skirting boards to underlay, to maximise the performance and the aesthetic of your new laminate flooring. We have accessories to match almost every pattern available, including modern grey ranges, or plain white if you want.
Once you’ve ordered your laminate floor and accessories, check you have all the tools you need for the job. Below we have compiled a list of the common tools you will need for the job, if you need to glue down your floor, you will need a suitable laminate adhesive too.
- Hand Saw
- Measuring tape
- Knee Pads
- Pull Bar
- Electric Chop Saw (to replace the hand saw, it’s a bit easier and for neater edges)
- Jig-saw (to go around architrave and radiators)
- Spirit Level
Safety first! Please consider the following suggestions to ensure your safety whilst laying laminate flooring.
- Always wear safety goggles and a dust mask when sawing or drilling
- Be sure to firmly secure the planks when sawing or drilling, and do this in a well ventilated room or outside if possible.
- As you’ll be spending a lot of time on your knee, we recommend wearing knee pads for additional protection.
Preparing your floor
We know you will be eager to start laying your new floor, but before you get going, you need to make sure the floor has been prepped properly. Preparation is one of the most important parts of the job, as it can affect the longevity and the finish of your floor.
The exact preparation you’ll need to do will depend on the surface you are laying your laminate over. As a general rule of thumb, laminate must always be laid on to a level, smooth, clean and dry surface. Any existing carpet and underlay, tiles or old laminate flooring, must be lifted and removed. If you are going to be laying over existing floorboards, make sure they are firmly secured and that there are no protruding nails or screws.
Once the surface is clean and ready, we would always recommend using a suitable underlay to absorb impact, making for a more durable and comfortable floor, and to insulate. The right type of underlay will depend on the surface. For concrete floors we recommend a waterproof underlay, such as our silver foam underlay, to reduce the moisture getting through whilst adding extra cushioning.
The bit you have been waiting for, how to lay laminate flooring.
Your laminate flooring has arrived, now what? Well, you need to lay the unopened packs of laminate in the room they are being installed for 48 hours before laying. This will allow them to acclimatise to the room temperature. Skipping this step will cause your planks to expand/contract after installation, ruining all your hard work and the finish of the floor. If you are laying your laminate onto underfloor heating, then ensure each pack is resting on the ground separately, and do not stack them.
The little details
Your floor will naturally expand in response to temperature and moisture changes in your house, so you need to leave an expansion gap. There are two ways to do this:
- Removing your existing skirting boards, installing your new floor and then installing your skirting again,
- Or, use a beading strip to hide the expansion gap after installation.
Before fitting laminate flooring, think about which direction you would like the planks to lie in. Ideally, they will lay in the direction of the longest wall but if your subfloor is wooden, then it is best to have the laminate planks fitted across the joists underneath.
Laying your floor
Laying laminate flooring is quick, easy, and can be fitted into most areas of the home and commercial premises.
The most common method is floating the boards over underlay, as your laminator can then be fitted over any type of subfloor. The laminate flooring just clicks together without the need for any type of adhesive. After installing the underlay begin clicking the floor together.
- For your first row, start at a straight wall and lay ½ board planks, joining all the edge boards. Use spacers to ensure you maintain an even expansion 10mm gap against the wall.
- For the next row, use a full board, this will ensure you have well-spaced out joins.
- Continue this process until you reach the other side of the room, don’t forget to leave an expansion gap around the edges.
If your laminate requires adhesive, then the process is pretty much the same, except you will want to secure down your underlay to the subfloor, and allow for drying time.
There you have it, we have explored how to lay laminate flooring. With the time that it takes to install your new floor, you want to ensure that it lasts. Underfoot flooring stocks high quality laminate floors that are easily installed using our innovative click system.
We hope this answers any questions that you may have. Don’t forget, our helpful team of experts are on hand to answer all things flooring, including installation. Pick up the phone, send us an email, or speak to us live using the live chat function.