How to lay laminate flooring
Laminate is a floor covering based on high-density fiberboard (HDF), it’s resistant to abrasion, scratches, stains, sunlight, most common chemicals and cigarette burns. Modern locking systems used for the laminate boards ensure easy connections between the boards without fixing them to the base. So, let’s learn: how hard is it - to install laminate flooring? How to install laminate flooring yourself?
Choose the type of laminate flooring for a particular room will the help of the classification. Each type of laminate flooring is tested for sound insulation, resistance to scratches, abrasion, moisture and sunlight.
- The strongest class of the laminated coating is #33. It can withstand contact with water for several hours and it’s one of the most wear-resistant coatings of all kinds ever. Laminate of this class is used in commercial areas with very high traffic, such as in department stores.
- Floor coverings of classes #32 and #31 are used in commercial buildings with lower permeability, in offices and conference rooms. They are also able to withstand prolonged contact with water, they are very resistant to abrasion and scratches
- Floor coverings of classes #23, #22 and #21 are used for the private houses and apartments.
- Laminate the lowest class (#21) is generally used in the bedrooms, as well as in the other dry rooms with low permeability.
High pressure laminate
The advantages of high pressure laminate (decorative laminate):
It features a special composition - 70% paper (cellulose) and 30% thermosetting resins of polycondensed. It has a monolithic decorative surface. It does not contain and does not emit any harmful substances, even when it’s heated. The surface of high pressure laminate may be contacted with foodstuff.
- The durability and wear resistance
It has a very long service life, during which it fully retains its attractive appearance. It has high resistance to abrasion, scratching, boiling water, stain products used for domestic purposes compared with conventional cladding and surfacing materials produced for floor coverings. It is not deformed by moisture. It can be used for finishing bathrooms, public showers, open terraces. It has resistance to boiling water.
- Resistance to temperature changes
In the temperature range from - 120 to + 140 ? HPL does not change its characteristics. It can withstands transient increase in temperature regimes.
- Color characteristics
Special protective UV-films of HPL allows to keep a bright color even under long exposure to direct sunlight.
- Sound insulation
50% reduction in noise from fallen objects is provided if HPL is used as a floor covering). HPL is often used for cladding the walls of tunnels.
How to lay laminate flooring?
Laminate flooring can be laid on the parquet, linoleum and other bases in case they have the following requirements: the base surface must be perfectly flat, dry and solid.
Before you start
- All irregularities (more than 2 mm per 1 m2) must be removed prior to the self-leveling compounds or special lining boards (plywood)
- You can not lay on the carpet and laminate such flimsy grounds
- In case of laying laminate flooring on the concrete base it is required to use polyethylene film vapor barrier
- Spread a sound-absorbing underlayment and then start the laying process itself
Order of works
- Before the laminate boards are laid on the floor, they are left in the room where the work takes place for 48 hours at a stable temperature and relative humidity of 70%. It is necessary to adapt the material to the microclimate of the room in which it will be laid.
- It is better to start laying of the laminate flooring from the window – parallel to the seams of the laminate boards, so there will not be visible joints. Due to possible expansion and contraction of the floor, it is necessary to comply them with wedges (about 5-7 mm from the walls and all fixed objects - doorways, arches, corners of rooms. The first row of laminate boards fit groove to the wall, while the last board should be cut off leaving a gap. Cropped boards should be less than 12 inches long.
- The second row starts from the cropped portion of the boards of the first row. The 2nd row of the boards is usually located at an angle to the previous one, it is inserted into the lock and latched. Remember that wedges should not be displaced.
- The clamp is used for the installation of the last laminate board.
- Contemplate the need for bypass pipes and other fixed objects of the room.
- Finish baseboards and thresholds matching the color of the floor and the door.
We Recommend: How to install laminate flooring on concrete.
Rules of laying
Select the threshold depending on its purpose:
- One-level threshold
- The one leveling the difference of levels
The unilateral threshold (for doors, fireplaces, etc.)
- Corner threshold /edge
Laminate flooring care
You can use special cleaning compounds recommended by the manufacturers. In general, laminate flooring does not require special care – it just need fairly regular cleaning with the help of a well-wrung cloth (to prevent water going to the seams between the boards).
- Usual laminate flooring (not the HPL one) can not be laid in the rooms with high humidity, such as bathrooms and saunas!
- It is strictly prohibited to lay laminate flooring on the wet cement screed without the underlayment!
With proper installation and care the laminate flooring will serve you for decades.
Choosing the laminate boards in the store you should be very attentive to the following details and characteristics:
- Does it smell or not?
The most simple and accessible method – smell the laminate board. High quality boards have no smell.
- Water absorption
Check the amount of liquid which the small piece of the laminate board absorbs within 8 hours at the usual room temperature adding some water on it. If in due time the sample will increase in size by more than 18%, the quality of the board can be put into question.
It is believed that the more expensive the material is, the better it is.
- Overall dimensions of the laminate planks
None of the self-respecting manufacturers leave markings on the reverse side of the laminate boards (the ones indicating the company and the country of manufacture).
- The reverse side
A high quality laminate board has the reverse side of a light-beige color - never brown.
- Individual drawing each plank
Solid manufacturers tend to maximize the flooring’s resemblance to a real timber. Each floorboard has its own pattern - the good companies tend to fulfill the number of different “wood-like” patterns. The minimum number is 6 drawings, the maximum one is about 60. If you find only 6 patterns, be sure that the company saves on film.