Everything You Need to Know

Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a great way to change the look of your home on a budget. But affordability isn’t the only reason why laminate is the most popular flooring option today. It comes in a wide variety of styles to look like wood, stone, or patterned tiles. It is highly durable, scratchproof, water resistant, and low maintenance, making it an excellent option for families and working homes. It is also quick and easy to install. For anyone who wants to take on a DIY home improvement, installing laminate flooring only requires a handful of tools and your time. That being said, there are some common mistakes when laying laminate flooring. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to get the job done right!

Underlayment

When shopping for your flooring, you’re probably looking for something that will look good in your home. While it’s important you find something that matches your style, you should make sure that you compare quality and that you read the notes from the manufacturer. One thing the notes from the manufacturer should mention is if the planks already have underlayment or not.

Underlayment is a foam surface between the laminate and the flooring you are covering. It protects your laminate against damage and extends its lifespan while providing noise reduction, comfort, and insulation. If you skip out on laying underlayment your new flooring might not last long as the lack of padding can lead to warping, cracking, and water damage. Luckily, many newer types of laminate flooring come with this layer of padding already attached. If it isn’t attached to your new flooring – no worries! All you need to do is buy a roll of it when purchasing your floorboards.

Preparation – What to do before you even start.

floor leveling

Floor Leveling

With any home, but especially older ones, the house and foundation settle over time. This can create changes in how even your floors are. If your home is 60 years or older, the wood can sag, and create slopes in corners or heavily walked areas. You’ll want to check and make sure that you don’t have any areas that have deep slopes. If you do, you’ll have to level it, or else when laying your new flooring, you can cause weak spots, breaks, and other damages. You’ll want to search and compare prices for “Floor Leveling Compound”. This is a powder compound that you’ll mix with water, and you’ll pour over your floors. 

Underlayment provides minor leveling so if you’re dealing with plywood subfloors, you might be able to skip using a leveling compound. If you do need to level your floors, you should wear a mask when handling the powder, mix the compound outside, and follow the instructions for the amount of water to add. This compound is very runny so if you have cracks in your floor that lead into your basement or a lower level, these will have to be sealed. If not, the leveling compound will drip through your floorboards. Keep in mind that drying times vary depending on the type you purchase and can require anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days for it to be fully set and ready for laying your new flooring.  

Acclimation

When we are working on a project that requires several boxes of material, it is not uncommon for that material to sit in areas that will help keep it out of the way of home life. As long as you are storing the flooring short-term and they are safe from water damage, it’s fine to keep the boards in a garage, shed, basement, or somewhere out of your way. However, if you’re storing the materials for more than a couple of days, they should be kept in an area that is 65ºF-75ºF with a 45-65% humidity level. No matter where or how long you store it, you’ll want to bring the materials into the room where you’ll be laying the new flooring at least 48 hours before installing. This will give the boards time to acclimate to the temperature and humidity in your home. It is a common mistake when laying laminate flooring to not allow your materials time to adjust. If they go from a cold garage to the warmth of your house, once the flooring expands it can cause warping or chipping along the edges and seams.

The Right Tools

Buy what you need. It’s simple. It can be easy to avoid common mistakes when laying laminate flooring if you start with the tools you need. Home improvement stores sell inexpensive kits that come with wedge spacers, rubber mallets, tapping blocks, and more. It will make the process much easier if you purchase one of these kits and have what is suggested for success! Think you already have what you need? Check out our list of everything you’ll need in our Ultimate Guide to Laying Laminate Flooring

Laying Laminate Flooring

Installation – What to do it’s time to put it all down.

laminate flooring installation

Read Manufacturer Instructions

This point was touched on above, but it is important to make sure that once you’ve decided on a laminate flooring you also read the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Laminate is usually laid via an interlocking system, however, they can vary. Following the instructions provided by the manufacturer insures your installation process goes quickly and smoothly.

Seams

Believe it or not, there is a certain amount of space you want between the seams of your boards. Interlocking flooring is created to be placed staggered in order to provide more strength. If you have the ends of your boards — the narrow sides, not the long sides — too close together as you’ve worked across your floors, you’ll create weak points in your flooring. There are several YouTube videos that will show you how to properly space the ends of your boards so that you don’t leave weak spots. This is a common mistake when laying laminate flooring because it isn’t often talked about. However, with a little extra research, you’ll be able to make the project look less like DIY and more professional.

Professional Flooring Contractor

Ready for new flooring? If you’re still deciding if laminate flooring is right for your home, check out our article on The Pros and Cons of Laminate Flooring to compare pricing, durability, and more. Or you can talk to a contractor about the best type of flooring for your home renovation. We strongly recommend COREtec vinyl plank flooring. This type of luxury vinyl incorporates engineered stone or wood veneer with every cork-backed plank. The result is 100% waterproof, durable, warmer, and quieter flooring than any other laminate or vinyl option. Whatever flooring you decide on, Clayton Hoover & Sons is here to take the project from start to finish. You can learn about all of your flooring options and schedule your free estimate at claytonhoover.com/flooring.