How to Installing Wood Laminate Floors

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Posted by admin | Posted in How to | Posted on 13-09-2010

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Installing wood laminate floor is another way to change the dull looking of your linoleum floor. Wood laminate floor can transform your room into a marvelous place and at the same time, it is easy for you to do the maintenance. There are many products of wood laminate flooring that you can choose in the market according to your budget and preferences. In addition, you can install these wood laminate flooring by yourselves. Here are the steps on how to install them.

You will need:

  • Wood Laminate Flooring
  • Power Saw/Manual Saw
  • Rags
  • Levels
  • Measuring Tapes
  • Pry Bars
  • String Line
  • Hammer

Steps:

  1. First, measure the floor to take the total area of space to be covered. Bring this measurement to your local dealer.
  2. Make sure the room is clear from any furniture, carpets and doorway trim before beginning installation.
  3. To start the installation, apply the first row of unglued boards to check the alignment and the width of the boards.
  4. Begin in a corner away from the door. Apply the first row of boards with the groove sides toward the wall without glue.
  5. Place the spacer between the boards and the wall on both the short and long side. Saw the boards to fit the wall if the wall is very uneven.
  6. Lay the final board in each row down in front of the row and turn the other way around for marking. Use an electric saw for the decorative side down and a handsaw for the decorative side down.
  7. Place a square on the board and mark where it needs to be cut. Slide the last board into the place. Use a long level or a straight 2 by 4 to check the first row straight.
  8. Pick up the boards in the first row and apply glue in the short side of the board. Press the boards together and wipe any excess glue before it hardens. Make sure that the end joints are tight.
  9. Start each row with the piece cut off from the previous row to cut down on waste. Apply glue to the groove on the long and short sides of the board and press in place.
  10. Apply one board at a time. Continue across the floor within one board width or less to the closing wall. Complete the last row by placing ¼ inch spacers against the wall.
  11. Cut a piece of flooring to suitable lap length and flip it back side up. Then, lay it in place by overlapping the last row of flooring laid.
  12. Mark the new piece where the two intersect. Cut along this line, turn it over and test fit. Continue the same step with each piece if the fit is right. Lay the last row of boards down after applying glue and press together with a chisel or crowbar.

How to Install Different Types of Laminate Flooring

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Posted by admin | Posted in How to | Posted on 13-09-2010

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Laminate floors are meant to be floated over a variety of sub floors and never secured directly to any substrate. In other words, the laminate flooring just lays on top of the sub floor, which can be wood, concrete, or an existing floor. This allows the laminate flooring to expand and contract freely as the room humidity levels change. Laminate floors come in planks and tile squares of various sizes and shapes. All four sides of each plank have a tongue and grooved edge for locking them together.

Most brands of laminate flooring no longer require specials glues to secure the tongue and groove joints together. Instead, most laminate floors now have some sort of special glueless locking systems which makes installation much easier. There are also laminate floors which have the glue pre-applied along the tongue and the glue is activated by touching the tongue with a damp sponge. Many of the better grade laminate floors have all plank edges pre-sealed at the factory to help prevent moisture from attacking the inner core structure.

Special polyurethane underlay is laid down prior to installing laminate flooring. This helps the floor to float freely over the top. Some of the more expensive underlayments reduce sound transmissions and restrict moisture from wicking up from underneath.

Floating Floor Installation
Laminate floors all use the floating floor installation. This means the laminate planks are never secured directly to the sub-floor, instead the planks are all locked together and float freely over the top of the sub-floor. Acclimating the planks to the room for several days prior to installation is essential to avoid planks bowing and cupping. Also, make sure the subfloor is perfectly level or you will have problems getting planks to lock together. (Plus, planks that are not properly acclimated or subfloors that have uneven areas can cause the floor to squeak when walked on after installation.) Never pound on plank edges during installation or try to force planks together. This will only make fitting planks together even more difficult.

Glueless Laminate Floor Installation
Most laminate flooring manufacturers today offer glueless laminate floors. These floors do not require any glue to lock the planks together and are often referred too as “clic-floors”. The tongue and grooves are specially designed to lock together and not come a part from foot traffic. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s recommended installation procedures before installing. (Note: The subfloor needs to level (flat) in order for the planks to easily interlock together.)

Glued Laminate Floors
Below is a general outline of the various tools used to install a glued laminate floor. This is where you glue the tongues and grooves together. You never glue a laminate floor directly to the sub-floor. Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions and use the manufacturer’s recommended installation tools. (Note: Almost all laminate floors today are glueless floating floors.)

  1. Glue – most laminate floors require a special glue to secure the planks together and help seal moisture from penetrating the core.
  2. Fillers & Sealants – some laminate manufacturers have added color coordinating fillers and sealants. The colored fillers are to fix seam gaps between planks and the sealant is used around the perimeter where moisture may enter.
  3. Straps – straps work much better than clamps at pulling plank rows together. Normally you need a strap set for every four feet in the starter rows.
  4. Tapping Block – the tapping blocks are used to lightly tap two planks together. Most blocks are designed to fit a specific manufacturers tongue and groove design.
  5. Wedges – the V-shaped wedges are used to insure a minimum gap is left between the laminate floor and all vertical walls. Consult manufacturer’s installation for required gap distances.
  6. Pulling Bar – the bar is used to help pull two pieces of laminate together. Care must be used with these bars so as to not chip the surface of the laminate plank.

How to Paint Laminate Flooring

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Posted by admin | Posted in How to | Posted on 13-09-2010

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Things You’ll Need:

  • Oil-based primer
  • Sand paper
  • Mop
  • Towels
  • Paint
  • Paint rollers
  • Paint brushes
  • Polyurethane sealer
  • Painter tape

Step 1
Lightly sand the floors that you will want to paint. Before you begin sanding, make sure that the floors are clean and free of any dirt that might have stuck to the floor.

Step 2
Clean the floor. Once you have sanded the floor, you will need to wipe away all of the dust you have created. Use a mop or a damp towel to wipe it from the floor. Allow the floor to dry completely.

Step 3
Tape off the edges of the walls with painter’s tape.

Step 4
Apply a coat of oil-based primer. Allow the primer to dry completely.

Step 5
Apply the paint. Allow the paint to dry completely and apply a second coat. Allow to dry completely.

Step 6
Apply polyurethane sealer. After the paint has dried, add a coat of polyurethane to protect the newly painted floor.

Step 7
Return the furniture. When the pain is dry, you are ready to move any furniture back in the room and begin enjoying the look of your painted laminate flooring.

How to Lay Laminate Flooring

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Posted by admin | Posted in How to | Posted on 10-09-2010

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Laminate flooring is one of the most versatile flooring materials, it can be laid on almost any surface provided that it is dry, firm and level. For old cement floors, self leveling compound can be used to even out the rough bumpy surfaces. For wooden floors, exposed nails and screws can damage the laminate flooring, make sure these are nailed down flat or screwed in all the way. Screw-fix now carry a great range of laminates and you will be hard pressed!

Underlay’s
There’s a few types of underlay available for laminate flooring, these underlay’s need to be laid down before the actual laminate.

Here are some of the most common types of underlay’s.

  • Poly foam – the thinnest type, is suitable for any firm, dry and level surfaces, such as a wooden floor. Prepare the floor and if necessary lay a damp-proofing layer first. The layers need to be arranged next to each other and trimmed to size leaving ±10mm gaps around the pipes.
  • Combined Underlay – this combines damp proofing and underlay in one material and can be laid down flat. It is slightly thicker than poly foam so can be laid on a slightly more uneven floor and provides better sound insulation. Tape the joins so that it retains its damp proofing capabilities.
  • Wood Fibre Boards – this is the thickest underlay and can be used on more uneven floors because it is thicker and accommodates more irregularities. It provides good insulation for sound and heat. It will need an initial damp proofing layer if necessary. You will need to acclimatise the boards in the room for 24 hours before laying. The joints will need to be staggered and will need a 5mm gap between the boards and a 10mm gap from the pipes and walls.

1. Fitting the boards is relatively simple but care needs to be taken, laminate flooring expands and contracts naturally so space needs to be left around the edges of the room. Allow approximately 10 mm between the boards and the skirting, ‘fitting wedges’ or ‘expansion spacers’ will be provided for this purpose. You should lay the boards lengthways toward the light source of the room, start from the left hand side. Lay the first board with the short tongue against the wall. Fit your spacers between the wall and the board ensuring that the board is parallel to the wall.

2. The next board should be laid end-on to the first board making sure that the tongues lock together. To lock the tongues, slide the board in at 30 degrees so that it slots-in when lowered. Continue this pattern until you reach the end of the row. The last board will probably have to be cut to fit.

3. Lay it upside down over the last board with the end 10mm from the wall, draw a line where it overlaps over the penultimate board and cut it.

4. In order to strengthen the laminate, the boards need to be offset. To do this, start the second row with half a board then angle the long side at 30 degrees to lock the tongues. If you press forward and down at the same time it will lock into place.

5. Place the short end of the next board at an angle against the previous board and fold down, making sure the board is on the locking strip in the previous row. Angle the boards by 30° and push them against the row in front. When the boards are tightly together, push them down.

6. If you are very lucky the last row will fit perfectly but this is rarely the case. Place a board at a time over the previous row. Place a third board on top with the tongue touching the skirting and use the edge to mark the cutting line on the board beneath. Cut the board and ease it into position, remove wedges.

Flooring Trim

After you have laid the flooring, you must remove the spacers around the outside, and cover the gap around the edge of the room with laminate flooring trim, which should match the floor. You will be fixing the trim to the skirting, not the floor, because the floor expands and contracts. Measure the trim and cut the correct lengths of the trim, use trim cutters to keep your work neat and presentable. Apply trim adhesive to the back of the trim, try not to get any of it on the bottom of the trim, this would stick to the floor and will interfere with the expansion of the floor. Press the trim into place and secure it with some heavy weights so that it dries properly.

How to Install Laminate Flooring

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Posted by admin | Posted in How to | Posted on 10-09-2010

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Do you have some ugly carpeting or out-dated linoleum flooring? Now’s the time to update and the effort will really pay off. You will likely need an entire weekend to do this the project goes a lot faster if you have some help…

The tools and supplies you will need for this are

  1. a box-cutter knife
  2. hammer and block of wood
  3. a drill with screw bits (of course some screws 2″ work well)
  4. some underlay material
  5. a laminate cutter

Step 1 – remove the carpeting
Remove the carpet, it easier to cut the carpet into pieces and roll them up before disposal.

Step 2 – Lay out the foam underlay
Cut and lay out foam underlay, usually found where the laminate flooring is purchased. This stuff really helps to smooth out the floor.

Step 3 – Starting at one end of the room begin laying the laminate
Glue the first row (to each other at the long edges) and placed the full boxes of laminate on them to keep them secure. Subsequent rows were staggered so that the result looked nice. To ensure a snug (but not too snug) allow a bit of room for expansion, use a hammer and a block of wood to firm up the rows so that they get a tight fit.

Step 4 – Laminate Cutter
Speed up the cutting with a laminate cutter, you can nip off a quarter of an inch easily to get the perfect fit. The other benefit is that the cutter does not kick up dust like a conventional saw would.

Step 5 – Important note-Stagger the cuts
Unless you want the planks to start and stop at the same place on each row (which is not as aesthetically pleasing) you should stagger the cuts so that each alternate row has a seam at roughly the same place.

Once finished nail in the baseboards and enjoy your handy work.

How to Install Floating Laminate Flooring

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Posted by admin | Posted in How to | Posted on 10-09-2010

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Step 1: Remove the Carpet
Remove the carpet, carpet pad and base molding with a utility knife.

Step 2: Level the Flooring Surfaces
To level between different flooring surfaces, use a material like luaun. 1-1/2″ staples will secure the luaun to the subfloor.

Step 3: Cut the Under Layer
Roll out the under layer and cut to size with a utility knife. No need to use any type of adhesive.

Step 4: Set the Flooring
Set the first few pieces of flooring in place by simply snapping them together.

Step 5: Allow Room for Floating
Use shims to keep the flooring the correct distance from the wall to allow room for it to “float”.

How to Fit Laminate Flooring Professionally

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Posted by admin | Posted in How to | Posted on 10-09-2010

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This comprehensive set of instructions does answer most questions that arise during the installation of laminate flooring.
Preparation is the key and as important is having the correct tools to carry out the installation and achieve a professional finish.

You will need as a minimum the following as well as your flooring:

Underlay, and vapour barrier foil if you have not bought a combined vapour stop underlay

  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • Measure
  • Hand Saw
  • Knocking block
  • Pull-iron
  • Spacer wedges
  • A straight edge
  • Plane
  • Carpenters square
  • You may also need a drill and holesaw

1. Please store the boards unopened in the room of installation for at least 48 hours prior to installation.
2. Please ensure that the surface on which your new floor is to be installed is clean and level. Note all nails heads should be hammered home, carpet gripper bars removed as well as carpet underlay.
3. Using a piece of underlay and your chosen laminate flooring mark the bottom of any doors that may need to be planed, and remove the door, and plane to this mark. Set the door aside for re-hanging later. If there is more than one door remember to identify which door goes in which doorway.
4. If laying on existing timber floor boards it is recommended that laminate flooring is laid at right angles to the direction of the floor boards to re-inforce the joints.
5. Lay the underlay out, ensuring that all the edges are flush to each other. If using a vapour stop underlay ensure that the edges are taped to each other to create a full seal.
6. Lay the first board with the tongue pointing towards the wall, set the spacers in to create the 10-15mm expansion gap.
7. Continue to join the short edges until you have finished the first row, ensuring that you have fitted spacers along the long edge of every board.
8. If you need to cut the last board, rotate the panel 180 degrees and place alongside the existing row, In other words groove to groove, allow your 10/15mm expansion and mark the panel ready for cutting. The panel should be decorative side up. If cutting with a hand saw then cut with the decorative side up, if using a jigsaw or other hand held circular saw then the decorative side should be down to prevent excessive splintering of the laminate Set the offcut aside for use at a later stage.
9. Use the pull iron to get the last board on each row set tight, for all other boards use the knocking block and a hammer to gently tap the joint home.
10. If the wall is not straight then use a pencil and spacer. The first row panels need to be cut to the pencil line to ensure a straight line across the room, this is best done using a jigsaw, and prior to the installation of any subsequent rows.
11. Cut the first board of row two 2/3 of the length of the board. Install the piece that is 1/3 of the length. ( in other words if the board is 1200mm long, measure 800mm from the corner along the tongue and mark a line across the board. The 400mm long piece is then used to start the row.)
12. Install the boards, by offering the tongue into the groove of the existing floorboard at an angel approximating 45degrees. Ease the panel flat to the floor, do not force the board down, it is better to gently apply pressure as it may be that there is debris in the joint and the joint will not lock correctly. If the joint does not lock correctly, remove the panel and check to see that there is no debris in place, remove this and re-install. Ensure that the ends of the panels are as close together as possible and then use the hammer and knocking block to close the short edge joint.
13. Start row three with a piece that is cut 1/3 from the end of the panel, and continue in the same manner as proceeding rows.
14. Heating pipes – first cut the flooring to the full length as normal Then lay the panel beside the pipes and mark the positions of the pipes Drill the panels at the marked points using a hole saw. Remember that the hole needs to be 10-15mm bigger than the pipe diameter Saw the panel across the drilled holes and install the panels using the pull iron to tighten the joint behind the pipes Use radiator pipe rosettes/collars to hide the expansion gaps left around the pipe.
15. To fit the last row when the row needs to be trimmed, lay a panel on top of the previous row aligned exactly with the panel Then using a second panel with the tongue hard against the wall mark a line on top of the panel below, cut the panel below to this line and then install as normal, you may need to use the pull iron to help with this installation Do not forget that you will need a 10 – 15mm space here as well.
16. Architraves, turn a piece of flooring upside down and lay it on top of the underlay, then using a hand saw laid on top of the flooring cut the bottom off the architrave. Thus when you fit the flooring in this area you can set it under the architrave and will get a neater finish than using a filler compound.
17. Install door trims before re-hanging your doors.
18. Finally remove the spacer wedges before you fit new skirtings or install scotia profiles to hide the expansion gaps.
19. Clean the floor regularly using an appropriate dry floor cleaning mop.
20. Wipe up all spillages immediately, remove marks using laminate floor cleaner.
21. Protect the laminate flooring from furniture damage by fitting felt pads to the feet of all furniture.
22. Never wash or wet mop your laminate flooring. Never bleach, wax, scour or use aggressive chemicals on your laminate flooring as this will be detrimental to the floor itself.

How to Determine Laminate Flooring Costs

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Posted by admin | Posted in How to | Posted on 10-09-2010

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Laminate flooring has become an extremely popular floor covering alternative for many homeowners to the more expensive hardwood floors and stone/ceramic tiles. But saving money by buying a cheaper laminate floor may cost you more in the long run. This is especially true for the do-it-yourself consumers. The reason is not all laminate floors are the same in quality, appearance, durability or performance, even from the same manufacturer.

Direct-Pressure versus High-Pressure Laminate Floors

Laminate floors are constructed in 2 different methods called High Pressure Laminates (HPL) and Direct Pressure Laminates (DPL). The High Pressure Laminates involve a 2-step process that fuses and glues the components together. The Direct Pressure Laminates involve only a 1-step process where everything is fused together at once. Without getting too much in the details the High Pressure Laminates cost more to produce and generally have higher wear ratings. Many high-pressure laminates are suitable for both residential and commercial use. Where as, direct pressure laminates are generally not recommended for commercial use. See our Laminate Flooring Construction Review for an in-depth overview of laminate flooring construction and how laminate floors are rated.

High End Laminate Floors
Higher end laminate floors will have better designs, richer colorations, superior finishes, a more realistic appearance, a better interlocking system and will be overall thicker than the cheap laminate floors. Many manufacturers make different styles to cover various price points from the low-end to the high-end. It is best to research and compare products both online and offline to make sure what you are buying is really going to work for your specific situation.
Low-end laminate floors will have less moisture protection in the tongue and groove edges and considerable seam swelling may occur with spills and high moisture. The high-end laminate floors will have considerably better moisture protection which will dramatically reduce the chance of seam swelling occurring.

Laminate floor durability
Laminate floors have a tough, melamine resin coating as the top layer. This makes these floors extremely durable, scratch-resistant and helps protect the design layer underneath. The higher end laminate floors will have a better finish layer and a longer wear warranty as well.
Thicker laminate planks will cost more, will be more rigid, and will have a more positive locking system. This makes the thicker laminate floors more durable overall than the thinner less expensive laminates. (Caution: No laminate floor will have any structural benefits. Installing a laminate floor over a weak subfloor will not help improve the structure’s stability.)

Floating Installation
Laminate floors are designed to be” floated” over the top of the subfloor or flooring underneath. This means the planks are locked together but never secured to the subfloor or the flooring underneath. The entire laminate floor “floats” over the top of whatever is underneath. No nailing and gluing of the planks to the subfloor. It is not recommended to float laminate flooring over carpet, any other floating floor, or install areas with high moisture, such as a bathroom.

Subfloors must be level
If you are considering buying a laminate floor make a note of what flooring is there now and determine if the existing flooring is level in the room. An uneven subfloor will mean additional labor costs in floor prep to make the subfloor level enough before the laminate flooring can be installed. For example, in an older home there might be uneveness in the subfloor with minor dips. Although the subfloor uneveness might not be very noticeable with your existing flooring, this can cause a lot of problems when trying to install a new laminate floor.

Note: Planks can be a extremely difficult to lock together if your subfloor is uneven. Pounding on a plank during installation to force tongues and grooves together may damage the plank’s tongues or grooves and make it impossible to get a tightly fitting joint.

Where to use Laminate Flooring
Laminate floors are a good choice for active areas of the home and for people wanting to install the flooring themselves. Laminates are highly stain, fade and scratch resistant and may be a better choice than hardwood flooring if you have dogs. Because laminate floors use the floating installation mathod they can go over a variety of existing flooring which reduces the labor costs for removing the old existing flooring. For example, tearing up an existing vinyl floor can be very costly. Floating a laminate floor over the top of an old vinyl floor may save you a lot of money in labor costs. Just beware that not all laminate floors are equal in value or performance.

How to Sanitize Laminate Floors & Keep it Sparkling

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Posted by admin | Posted in How to | Posted on 09-09-2010

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Laminate floors can give your many years of performance if you follow some regular maintenance procedures. While laminate floors are extremely durable they can be scratched so protect your floor from grit and any sharp objects. Water can also cause problems for laminate flooring so be sure to wipe up any spills immediately.

Tips for Cleaning Laminate Floors

  • Use felt pads, or wide based casters underneath all chair and furniture legs.
  • When moving heavy objects across the floor always use extra care and place walk off mats by all exterior doorways.
  • Vacuum your floor regularly using soft brush attachments and wipe with a damp cloth or mop when needed.
  • Do not polish or wax these floors.
  • Never try to refinish or sand a laminate floor.
  • Do not use steel wool or any harsh abrasive cleaners on the floor.
  • For additional care procedures always refer to the manufacturer’s care and maintenance instructions and recommendations.

Not all laminate floors are the same and you should obtain a copy of the manufacturer’s floor care instructions when buying your floor. Be sure to take a moment and read the instructions so you understand how to properly care for your new laminate floor.

Comparing Hardwood Flooring versus Laminate Flooring

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Posted by admin | Posted in Tips & Advice | Posted on 09-09-2010

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This is a very general comparison between engineered hardwood flooring and laminate flooring to help you to better understand these floor groups. Please note, hardwood flooring comes in some many different species, finishes and construction types and that it is very difficult to place them all in one general category, so pre-finished engineered hardwood flooring is used for this comparison. See your local flooring store for additional advice and recommendations.

Special Note: This is a very general comparison and characteristics will vary depending on the manufacturer and consumer usage. Always read the manufacturer’s written brochures for specific product details, recommendations and warranties.

Prefinished Engineered
Hardwood Floor
Laminate Floor
Visual Appearance excellent good
Scratch Resistance good4 very good
Stain Resistance fair1 excellent
Fade Resistance fair2 excellent
Impact Resistance good excellent
Ease of Maintenance good very good
Moisture Resistance fair good
Ease of Repair good poor
Can floor be refinished? yes (not acrylic impregnated) no
Install over concrete slab if glue or float yes, floating
Manufacturer’s Warranty good good
Installation Methods glue, staple, float some pre-glued
glueless, floating
Easy To Install (DIY) glueless floating – yes
staple-down – maybe
glue-down – messy
Yes
Life expectancy of floor (in years) 25+3 < 20
  1. Some hardwood flooring factory finishes have very good stain resistance
  2. Some wood stains when exposed to direct UV sunlight may change colour more than others
  3. Quality hardwood floors can last for a lifetime with proper care & refinishing
  4. Some UV-cured urethane finishes have aluminium oxide crystals embedded in the finish and are extremely durable
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