The question of how to lay a laminate floor, has long been interested in home masters. Written about it a lot, even there are step-by-step instructions on the Internet with photos and videos. However, knowledge of the process without taking into account its nuances is the way to a low-quality floor made of laminated panels. Therefore, we will analyze the process itself and the nuances of its conduct.
What is laminate flooring?
To begin with, laminate is an artificial floor covering consisting of several layers. It is the layered structure that gives it enhanced strength characteristics. The only thing that laminate is afraid of is water and high humidity. Manufacturers have already introduced waterproof and water repellent laminate models to the market. But experts believe that they also do not belong in wet rooms. And this is the first nuance.
Basically, the same characteristics of the material are aimed at protecting the laminate floor from minor effects of water or moisture. For example, if you spilled water on the floor, quickly collected it and dried the surface. In this case, it will not spoil. The same can be said about the laminate in the kitchen. In the work area it is better not to lay, but in the dining room – no problem. By the way, the question “can I use and lay laminate in the kitchen” sounds very often.
How to choose the right laminate flooring
There are several points to consider when choosing the laminate flooring material:
- If you are laying a laminate floor in a living area, it is recommended to use material 31 or 32 class.
- If the installation is carried out in premises with high traffic – in offices, public catering points, halls and halls, then laminate 33 or 34 class is used.
What is the right laminate flooring thickness?
The next nuance concerns the thickness of the product. This is especially important in the rooms where doors are already installed. After all, this floor covering raises the floor level, so there may be a problem with opening and closing doors.
To solve it, there are two options:
- Reduce the height of the laminate floor by reducing the thickness of the floor covering or the preparatory layer – screed or plywood.
- Trim doors or order new ones at a fixed size.
Of the two options, the optimal is to adjust the thickness of the laminate. True, this does not always resolve the situation, which must be taken into account.
Cutting laminate boards
Another issue relates to cutting the material. It affects the amount of waste.
What does it depend on?
- From the dimensions of the laminate board. The wider it is, the less waste you get.
- From the way of packing. The best option is to install laminate along the room. With a transverse option, the joints between the boards will be visible in the daylight falling from the window. If the room has two windows on adjacent walls, it is better to lay the material not along and not across, but along the diagonal. True, this is the most expensive option in terms of waste.
By the way, in percentage terms there are certain indicators of waste generated during the laying process. So, for installation along the premises or across the waste amount is 6%. When installing diagonally, the amount of waste reaches 12% or more. And when stacked in the form of a geometric figure – up to 25%. The last two methods are considered to be the most difficult, therefore it is not recommended to lay this laminate with your own hands.
But even if you chose this finishing floor material by all the rules, the basis for its long-term operation will be a correctly conducted installation. If you have a reliable and easily springing base under your feet, then be sure that your warranty period will be served by faith and truth.
And how correctly to lay a laminate floor?
Preparing for installation of the laminate floor
Without this stage, starting the installation process is a big mistake. First you need to prepare tools and accessories:
- From tools – a hacksaw for metal, a hammer, a clamp, a metal ruler, a pencil, a drill.
- Of the accessories – self-tapping screws, spacer wedges (by the way, they can be made by hand from wood), twine or line.
Attention! Laminate must be brought in 2-3 days in the room where it will be laid. This is necessary to adapt the material to the installation and operation conditions.
Preparing the floor base
To lay the laminate flooring properly, you need to take into account one very important nuance – the foundation should be not only even, but also strong. As for the first criterion, the laminate floor panels are able to hide the surface drop to 3 mm. The more so that under them must be laid the substrate, which in itself is an equalizing layer.
When it comes to concrete foundations, the easiest way to make it firm and even is to pour a cement-sand screed or a self-leveling ready-made mortar. True, this method is long enough, because the screed must dry out. And this can take several weeks, depending on its thickness.
With engineered wooden floors, everything is much more complicated. And although it is not so difficult to level and harden them, it will take a lot of time and several construction processes:
- Investigate the floor for defects.
- Carry out repairs – replace boards and logs, repair gaps, perform splicing and grinding, cover the surface with antiseptics and linseed oil.
- Install plywood sheets that will make the wood floor level. Pay attention that at installation of plywood sheets are stacked with displacement (it is better in half of a sheet). This method allows you to evenly distribute the load across the entire floor area of the floor.
- Cover the plywood with hot linseed oil. It seems to be not a very important point, but it is he who guarantees the long-term exploitation of the wooden cover.
Plywood sheets can be replaced with moisture-resistant chipboard, OSB slabs or an organolite. Now is the time to figure out how to lay laminate properly by doing it yourself. But first let us dwell on a few more questions.
They again touch the ground. If there is another finish on the floor, should it be dismantled? For example, it can be a linoleum or a ceramic tile floor. Linoleum flooring can be used as a substrate, but only if it is without defects – it lies flat, without waves and folds, and also does not have large holes and other flaws. If it is well adhered, then it is possible to lay a laminate finishing material.
With ceramic tiles on the floor is the same. If it is well supported on the base, then it can be considered an even and solid floor under the laminate. Of course, we can not do without an additional substrate. By the way, if several tiles have been peeled off for a long time, and grooves from them are visible on the floor, then such defects can be sealed with a screed mortar. The same applies to cracks and chips on ceramic tiles.
But now you can go on to the main question – how to properly lay laminate flooring with your own hands?
Stages of laminate floor assembly
Take as a basis the following algorithm of installation works:
- The substrate is covered. It can be a natural cork or synthetic material in the form of plates or coils. We will not dwell on its merits and demerits, but simply note that the roll synthetic material is one of the most popular and cheap. It is laid on the floor with an overlay of up to 10 cm on the walls. If the width of the roll does not cover the width of the room, then multilane lapping of adjacent bands is performed. Note that the substrate is perpendicular to the laminate.
- Over the entire perimeter of the room at the level of laying the floor covering, spacer wedges are installed. With their help, a so-called compensation gap is created, which allows the laminate floor to expand under the influence of varying humidity and temperature. The width of the gap is 8-10 mm. So the laminate floor is obtained in the form of a floating structure. Wedges are fixed to the walls with the help of self-tapping screws, for which you will need a drill.
- Now spread out the first row, the quality of which depends on the final result. Laminate – this is not brickwork, which can be aligned with a solution. Therefore, it is recommended to stretch between two walls a twine, fixed to two nails or a screw, horizontally. Pay attention that the panels of the first row must be laid with spikes in the direction of the wall.
- Before you begin the installation of the first row, you need to measure the distance between the walls and accurately calculate how the last row will lie. If for him the space is less than 6-7 cm, then it is necessary to cut the laminate boards of the first row in width. By the way, all this applies to laying across or along the room.
- The second row starts with half a laminate panel. For trimming, a hacksaw is required. Remember how to properly mount plywood sheets. Laminate floor boards also fit into the same requirements. True, it is not necessary to accurately measure out half of the board. You can increase or decrease this figure. But consider that the joints between the two panels in the adjacent rows should be located from each other at a distance of not less than 20 cm.
- A few words about the castle compound. There is a padding method of fastening the laminate, and there is a snapping. For the first it is necessary to lay the panel about already laid, insert the groove into the spike and from the opposite side to hit the hammer. The second option is simpler. For this, the panel to be installed must be brought to the already laid at an angle of up to 45º, insert the groove into the spike and lower the board. If you hear a click, it means the binding has happened. That’s how to lay the laminate properly.
- When it comes to the second option of bonding, the masters first collect the first row near the wall. Then the second row separately, after which they bring it in assembled form to the first row and snap it. But this is possible only if the length of the row does not exceed 2.5 m. Plus, an assistant will be required here. Alone, it’s almost impossible to do this. And since we are talking about the process with our own hands, we do not recommend using this option.
- The most difficult stage is laying the last laminate board in a row. With a hammer you can not work here because the wall hinders. Therefore, in this case a clamp is used. This is a metal tool whose ends are bent at right angles in different directions. How do they work? Install the last laminate board, insert a clamp between its end and the wall so that its end looks down. Now, at the opposite end, which looks up, you hit with a hammer. All – the panels are connected.
As for small errors, they can be eliminated by means of spacer wedges. They are dismantled or slaughtered deeper. In this form, the laminate floor must be left for one day. After that, the spacer wedges are removed, and the gap between the floor and the wall is closed with skirting boards. Please note that first mount the skirting along the room, and then cross.
We hope you understand how to lay a laminate floor now. Nothing complicated in the editing process, if you know the nuances of the assembly.
Conclusion on the topic
Laminate today is the most popular floor covering. After all, he has many advantages over other materials. But basically consumers choose it for one reason – it’s a cheap alternative to expensive parquet, which is a dream of many people. And although the naturalness of the laminate can not be said, it is still an excellent imitation of the wooden parquet floor.
In addition, you can independently lay the material, as you yourself could see. So the question of how to lay laminate flooring is not the most difficult. Take as a basis the materials of this article, see the photos and videos posted on the pages of our site, and get a good look at the installation process.