A great alternate to wooden flooring is laminate flooring. It carries two major advantages over wood; firstly it does not get infested by termites and secondly, it is much easier to install than wooden flooring. Besides these, it is also a pocket friendly solution to wood or marble flooring.
Here is how to install laminate flooring in 7 steps:
1. Let the boards acclimatize.
It is necessary that the laminate flooring gets acclimatized to the climate of the room where it is to be installed. This allows minimum shrinkage when the boards cool down or warm up to the temperature of the room. For this reason, it is recommended that the packing is opened at least 48 hours prior to installation.
2. Clean the floor and lay out the moisture barrier.
Clean the floor on which the flooring is to be laid thoroughly using a mop or any other method. Thereafter lay plastic lining on the floor and tape it together with an adhesive tape. This is to create a moisture barrier which is very necessary in a place as humid as Singapore. Cover the entire floor and allow the tape to overlap. In case of concrete floors, it is advised to run the plastic up the walls for an inch or two but not beyond the baseboard.
3. Lay down the padding.
Place foam floor padding over the plastic lining to cover it. This will prevent any residue left on the floor from causing dimples in the flooring. Make sure the foam does not overlap and fits the floor exactly.
4. Place the board and spacers of the first row
After having placed the foam, place the boards starting from one corner with the finished side up. Insert spacers between the end of the board and edge of the wall. For best results lay the row parallel to the longest wall in the room first.
5. Move on to the second row.
The first piece of the second row will need to be cut in order to stagger its joints with the first row. With the help of a wooden block and a hammer, tap the boards of the second row into the first. Keep hammering until the gap between the rows disappears. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for all subsequent rows.
6. Trim planks which don’t fit into the remaining spaces.
Once you reach the opposite wall, you may need to trim the pieces of boards especially if the room is of an odd shape. Measure the requirements beforehand and cut the plank accordingly.
7. Finish your floor.
Finish your floor by placing thresholds, baseboards or other finishing touches. You can cover holes or scuffs using the special crayons available at the hardware store. After you are done with laying the flooring, do remember to take out the spacers which you have put all along the edges of the room.
Tips to follow:
1. Remember that every plank needs a groove and a ridge except the ones being used on the perimeter of the room. If the plank is on the perimeter of the room, the cut side without the groove or ridge should be facing the wall.
2. Begin each row with the cut piece of the other row. This will waste fewer planks and will make the floor stronger. Besides, it will also make the board look aesthetically sound by making it difficult to locate the joints.
3. Use a hand saw to undertake difficult cuts. Usually the last pieces of the row may need such an effort because the dimensions of the room may not be in full multiples of the plank dimensions.
4. Do not hammer the laminate planks directly as it may cause them to break; instead use a wooden block or a wooden peg with a wide base to provide cushion as well as avoid scratching.
5. When you begin this project and take on the task of measuring and laying, make sure you have at least two more persons other than you; one to cut and the other to act as runner between you two.
6. Employ the third person as a spotter also to watch out the gaps and tell you when they have closed.
7. Using a miter saw will give you faster and better results.
8. Be careful with the saw to avoid any injury. It is wise to let the blade of the saw pull out of the material on the bottom side.