Common Mistakes To Avoid When Installing Laminate Flooring

Posted on: 9 October 2014

Installing new flooring from a site like in your home is like a face-lift. It makes your whole home appear younger and brighter. If you are thinking about installing new laminate flooring, and are thinking about installing it yourself rather than consulting a professional, there are a few things you should know. Placing laminate flooring isn't just as easy as measuring it and then laying it with no preparation. Keep these common mistakes in mind before you begin your flooring project so that you don't end up with a project more frustrating than it is worth.

Not Paying Attention To The Temperature Of Your Laminate

Before you install your laminate flooring, you should ensure that it is at least room temperature. Laminate flooring that has been stored in an outside storage shed, warehouse, your garage, or yard is probably quite cold. Why is this a problem? When laminate gets cold it contracts, rendering it smaller than it will be once it is installed and warmed in your house. If you lay cold laminate, you will end up with expanding floors. This can create cracks, breaks, rough edges and take away from a smooth, polished look. On top of that, if the laminate has nowhere to expand outwards, it will expand towards the center creating unsightly and hazardous bubbles throughout your floor.

Neglecting to Insulate

Your walls aren't the only things that need insulation. In order to have your laminate flooring last as long as possible, stay looking great, and conserve energy you need to insulate above the concrete before your place your laminate floor. Insulating does a few things. First, it prevents your flooring from sucking up too much moisture, which can cause damage, expansion, and warping. Secondly, insulation helps prevent heat and cold from infiltrating your home, or escaping, through the concrete sub-floor. Thirdly, insulation reduces noise production. A laminate floor that has been insulated properly will be a lot more quiet to tread on than a floor that has no insulation in place.

Laying Your Laminate On Uneven Concrete

You might have your heart set on laminate, but if you live in an older home that has uneven floors you should probably stick to a flooring option like carpet. Laying laminate on a sub-floor that is even slightly crooked or uneven can cause a big headache down the road. This is due to the flexibility of laminate flooring. While the flexibility of laminate flooring is a positive feature in most cases, when it is laid on uneven sub-flooring it quickly adjusts to the height discrepancies. This causes unnecessary stress on the laminate, which leads to breakage and warping. Be sure to ensure your sub-flooring is level before you install. For minor discrepancies, you can use thick insulation to even out the floor artificially before installing your laminate.

Not Giving Your Laminate Room To Breathe

Because laminate flooring is so flexible and contracts and expands with the temperature, you have to ensure that your flooring has space to move into when the temperature gets warmer. Laminate isn't glued or nailed to floor, which allows for easy expansion. However, if you lay your laminate directly against the wall and the temperature spikes, it will try to expand. With no space to move into, your flooring will put pressure on itself causing bubbles and warps. Be sure to place at least a 3/8th inch expansion gap around all walls where you are placing your floor.

Not Sealing Joints

The surface of laminate floors are resistant to water, but when when moisture gets underneath the floor it causes issues. Moisture underneath the floor can cause mold production, break down the insulation, as well as break down the underside of the flooring. Be sure to properly seal each area where laminate meets in order to prevent water from sneaking in.

Many first time DIY-ers make some mistakes when installing their own laminate flooring. Be aware of potential costly mistakes before you begin so that you can install your flooring perfectly the first time.