The Right Way to Install Laminate Flooring

March 30, 2021

Saving money on installation of a product by doing it yourself may seem like the perfect way to stretch your rand as far as possible. The problem is that knowing how to install wood laminate flooring is the theoretical knowledge. But you have to deal with humidity levels, temperature changes, and acclimate issues. Read on as we show you how to install wood  laminate flooring for long-lasting beauty.

How to Install Wood Laminate Flooring Like A Pro

Although a floating floor i.e., one that can be installed on top of many types of subfloors, some subfloor surfaces and underlays cause problems. Expert installers know how adaptable a floating floor can be, but also recognise the limits of adaptability. Here’s the deal…

Wood laminates can last for many years and are excellent alternatives to hardwood flooring.

But what’s the catch? Don’t compromise on the timeline, preparations, and ideal location for installing wood laminates. That’s why you need to know how the installers look at the installation process.

To get you started, let’s look at the essentials on how to install wood laminate flooring the right way.

Let’s talk flooring….click   here to request a quote and one of our carpet and flooring experts will give you a call back within 24hrs.

Give the Wood Laminate Planks 48 Hours to Acclimate

Never install laminates right away, but instead, store the planks in the room where you want to install the floor and allow 48 hours for acclimation. Here’s the secret: You must maintain the same room temperature and the required humidity for the period. This is for the two days before and after installation.

Why is it important? Wood is a living thing in the sense that it contracts and expands with temperature changes. Wood laminate planks have wood particles that contract and expand with temperature changes. You want this process to be stable before the installation. Skip this important part and the result will be a huge bubble in the centre of the floor. All you can do when this happens is to reinstall the floor.

Maintain the Right Humidity and Temperature

Avoid installation during the cold winter months if you live in Gauteng where temperatures of between 3°C and 17°C are the norm during the chilly part of the year. Why?

Because wood laminates should be installed only when the temperature is between 14°C and 29°C. Also, installation can only be done if the humidity factor is less than 60%.

But what if you stay in Durban where the humidity factor is often 73% in the summer? In this instance, explore options for creating a temperature-controlled environment.

laminate flooring living room

Know Your Surface

Want to lay the wood laminates in a newly built home? Then wait until the screed is dry. This can take three to six months. Check every month to see if it has settled.

Then the floor of an old home where you have removed the carpet should be perfect? Not without installation of a moisture-barrier.

And here’s why: many old houses don’t have damp proofing in place. Others had at some stage, but the damp-proof eroded. The moment the plastic is placed on the old screed it pulls moisture through the concrete. This can even be from the sides. You need to create a moisture barrier first.

Bottom line… only install on dry subfloors.

Click  here to ask our expert installers how to create the right moisture barrier.

Level the Subfloor Before Installation

Wood laminates are thin. Laying the wood laminate flooring on the existing floor without levelling the subfloor is a huge mistake. Walking on the floor if it is uneven causes the wood laminate planks to bend or flex. If the plane range is more than 3 mm, then the weight put on the planks can cause the locking system to crack. The planks can move and pull apart. It is a good idea to install self-levelling beforehand to create a level surface with cushioning and adequate support. Here is a video to explain self-levelling.

Choose the Best Wood Laminate

How long do you want the flooring to last? The thickness of the laminate indicates how strong it is and how long it will last. Wood laminates have an international rating system of AC1 to AC5. Only install quality wood laminates rated AC3, AC4 or AC5. Thickness varies from 7 mm to 12 mm. The 12 mm is more expensive. Choose the best wood laminates here.

Use the Right Tools for the Job

Don’t skimp on this. It is a precision job, requiring specific tools:

Electric saw with a carbide blade,
Tape measure,
Pull bar,
Utility knife,
Tapping block,
Spacers,
Hammer,
Pencil. 

Follow the Correct Procedure

  • Plan the installation layout – you have a set number of planks and an area in which to fit. Exact planning helps to avoid wastage.
  • Only use the tapping block if allowed by the manufacturer – many modern types simply click in and excessive tapping can damage the tongues.
  • Allow for expansion gaps –  leave space at the walls for expansion to prevent buckling.
  • Don’t install underneath cupboards – the weight prevents shrinking and expansion.
  • Inspect all the planks – check for inconsistencies, broken tongues, and the wrong colour. Continue to do so from the installation of the first to the last row to prevent having to redo a huge job.

Where to Get Help

Want a stunning floor surface? We give you peace of mind with a R2 million installation guarantee.

Click  here to reach out for expert help at Top Carpets and Floors to install wood laminates the right way, the first time.

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