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Install Laminate Flooring Like a Professional Tradesman

Calculating Flooring Materials

To calculate how much flooring to buy, all you really need to know is the square footage of the floor in the room you are installing the laminate flooring in. To figure the square footage multiply the length of the room times width. That works well in a sq room but what if the room is not square.

For complicated shapes, divide the room into sections based on simple shapes then measure each separately, write your calculations on a sheet of paper, and add them up. Add 10 percent for waste while installing and to have a few planks left over for future repairs.

Make a list of any new trim pieces and don’t forget transition strips if you need them where the floor covering is different.

Tools you will need

  • Pry Bar
  • Carpenter’s level
  • Large putty knife
  • Floor scraper
  • Belt Sander
  • Jamb Saw
  • Miter saw
  • Circular Saw or Table Saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Drill
  • Tape Measure
  • Plastic Putty Knife
  • Compass
  • Utility Knife
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Coping Saw
  • Hacksaw
  • Combination Square
  • Nail Set
  • Claw Hammer
  • Caulking Gun
  • Power Miter

Installing your Laminated Floor

There are only two basic types of laminate flooring: square or rectangular tiles, which are usually made to simulate stone or ceramic tile, and plank flooring, which resembles wood. The individual planks or tiles have tongue-and-groove edges that are simply snapped together. The biggest difference between laminate flooring and traditional flooring materials is that laminate flooring is not fastened to the subflooring and allowed to “float” on a layer of underlayment. Quarter-inch expansion gaps at the edges of the floor allow it to expand and contract with seasonal changes in temperature and humidity.

Typically, the installation instructions supplied by manufacturers are pretty good — t. But they leave out a lot of the tricks of the trade that make the difference between a substandard installation and a really professional job.

Obstacles

This is where the DIY person needs to have a thorough understanding of Laminated floor installations You’ll have to modify planks to fit around obstacles such as pipes and cabinets. If you’re lucky, you can drill holes in the piece then slip it over the obstacle, but you’re more likely to have to cut it. Whenever you can, remove the object, install flooring under it, and replace it. If you can cut the flooring to fit around the obstacle, always leave a 1/4″ gap for expansion. Fill these gaps with silicone caulk. Caulk keeps moisture out of the core of the planks. It’s especially important in a bathroom or kitchen.

Installing the Transition Strips

The trim pieces are fastened with a metal track. The track comes with the screws you need to install it. Simply cut the track and molding to length, screw the track in place, and press the molding into the track. Press down on the edges to ensure a tight, even fit.

Now that the flooring installation is complete, and the transition trim is added, you’re almost done.

Cut a piece of molding to butt in the corner. Cut the molding you will cope longer than the expanse it will cover – by one molding thickness for each coping joint on it. Cut its end at a 45º angle. With a coping saw, cut the end to fit around the first molding. Follow the line made by the 45º angle cut. Usually on an outside corner the cut will be 46º instead of 45º to compensate for drywall mudding.

Maintaining Your New Laminated Floor.

Laminate flooring is a tough and durable choice for flooring, and usually easy to keep clean. Just sweep or vacuum. Damp mop when needed with a bit of ammonia or vinegar in water. Don’t flood the floor, as this can cause damage.

Some common products – such as soap, floor polish, scouring powder, and steel wool – are not recommended for laminate flooring. They can damage the wear layer, voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.

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