Many homeowners decide to get laminate flooring because it looks beautiful and easy to install, which leads to many DIY installations of the material. Here are some things that you need to know if you want to install this flooring material alternative that is the fraction of the cost of real hardwood.
Acclimate the Flooring Material
You need to make sure that the flooring material you purchase acclimates to the temperature of the room, which will prevent the boards from slightly shrinking or swelling and causing problems after the install is complete. You can do this by taking the boards out of the packaging and placing them in your home for a couple of days. It's a small detail that is often forgotten about, and can cause your DIY installation to not go as smoothly as it could.
Prepare the Subfloor
You'll want the base floor to be clean, flat, and smooth, since the laminate flooring material floats on top of the existing floor. It will help to take a level and check the floor in various spots to see where it is low. If you have a subfloor made out of concrete, you'll want to use a patching compound to raise up those dips. A wood subfloor with dips will need those wood sections replaced with new material that isn't warped. If you are installing the flooring in a kitchen or basement with high moisture content, you'll want to put down a vapor barrier on top of your subfloor to give the bottom of the laminate flooring some extra protection.
Decide on the Board Orientation
You will need to decide which orientation you want the floor boards to face before you start the installation process. A good tip is to lay down the boards so that they are parallel with the longest wall of the room. Not only does this reduce the amount of boards that you need to cut, but it will flow better with the look of the room as well. Is the room fairly square? Another tip is to arrange boards so that they are parallel to whatever the focal point is. This could include a fireplace or large window.
Prepare Door Frames
The tip to getting laminate flooring to look nice around the door frames is to prepare the bottom properly. You can lay a floorboard on the ground so that it's next to the door frame, and then trace where the top of the boards falls against the door frame. You can then use a jamb saw to trim the bottom of the door frame so that the board slides underneath it.
For more information about laminate flooring, contact a flooring specialist in your area.