6 mistakes to avoid when laying laminate flooring
Want to lay your own laminate flooring?
Even for a beginner, it’s pretty straightforward – and taking the DIY approach can save you a lot of money, compared to hiring a professional fitter. So it’s definitely worth having a go! But before you begin, there are several common mistakes you should be aware of.
Fortunately, these mistakes can be very easily avoided. You just need to prepare well, make sure you understand the fitting process and take your time. That way, the job will be done in no time, and your new laminate can be laid successfully and without a hitch. Read on to find out more.
Mistake #1 – Not using laminate underlay
The importance of laminate underlay cannot be understated.
For a start, it will significantly enhance the look and feel of your new laminate, whilst improving its acoustic and thermal insulation properties. It will make the installation process quicker and easier. And can help to prevent the warping and buckling often caused by moisture in the subfloor.
Here at Carpet Underlay Shop, our recommendation is the Royale 7mm Professional Sonic Gold Underlay.
This is one of the best laminate flooring underlays currently available, and the no.1 choice for professional fitters. Made from a unique foam structure, with an insulative gold-foil backing, it boasts a 1.0 TOG rating and will reduce noise by up to 37dB. Yet despite these impressive properties, it’s available for just £6.20 per m2.
An affordable yet high-quality option that will help you to create the best possible results.
Mistake #2 – Not checking for moisture
Laminate has a hygroscopic core; it can very easily absorb water and expands and contracts as a result. Such expansion and contraction can cause significant damage. Therefore, before laying laminate flooring, it’s always worth checking the moisture content of the subfloor.
The easiest way to do this is using a moisture meter. But you can also tape a sheet of polythene to the floor and check for discolouration and condensation 24 hours later. If a high level of moisture is detected, the best option is to invest in a laminate underlay with an in-built damp proof membrane (DPM), such as Royale 7mm Sonic Gold.
Mistake #3 – Not allowing the laminate to acclimatise
Any type of flooring that is susceptible to humidity – including laminate – will need to be acclimatised. This will help to minimise expansion and shrinkage after installation and can prevent buckling or unsightly gaps from appearing further down the line.
Different manufacturers specify different ‘acclimatisation periods’. But a good rule-of-thumb is to leave the laminate in the installation room for approximately 48 hours. And to promote air circulation, be sure to lay each sealed pack perfectly flat, with a 4cm gap between each.
Mistake #4 – Laying laminate on an uneven subfloor
Laying laminate on an uneven subfloor can be problematic for several reasons.
Firstly, high and low spots can make the fitting process much trickier than it needs to be. Secondly, they can have a huge negative effect on the final results – causing excessive movement of the laminate and potentially leading to damaged locking systems, gaps, and breakages.
Most subfloors will have some slight variations, but any that measure 3/16 inch (5mm) or more will need to be corrected. Detailed information on how to do this can be found in our previous blog ‘Levelling a floor – a beginner’s guide’.
Mistake #5 – Not leaving enough room for expansion
Laminate is described as a ‘floating floor’. All the pieces connect to create one large structure and it doesn’t need to be nailed or glued to the subfloor. But you must leave a small space around the edge of the room.
Using laminate underlay with a DPM and acclimatising the laminate can help to minimise expansion, but it won’t prevent it entirely. To avoid buckling post-installation, you’ll need to leave a 10mm extension gap around the perimeter of the room – including at doorframes and transition strips.
Mistake #6 – Forgetting to add the final touches
Last but not least, be sure to take the time to finish your laminate installation properly.
Little touches – such as a skirting board to hide the expansion gap and metal trims for doorways – are often forgotten when taking the DIY route. But they can make a huge difference. Not only will they tidy up your work, they will also give your new laminate a professional and stylish finish.
Lay your laminate underlay with the help of our pros
If you’re planning to lay your own laminate and would like a little extra guidance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our in-house professionals are knowledgeable and experienced in this area and always happy to help.
We can provide additional tips on how to lay laminate flooring successfully, advise on the main errors to watch out for, and recommend the best laminate underlay for your project. Just give us a call on 0203 887 0994 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
- Alex Illidge