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How to lay laminate flooring :: Posted by: Admin on September 3rd, 2013

How to lay laminate flooring

Laminate and hardwood flooring has become very popular as an alternative to carpets in recent years. Laminate can suit most peoples budgets whereas hardwood flooring can be an expensive alternative to carpets.

When looking to buy laminate flooring look out for the thickest boards you can buy, the more expensive it is normally means it will look more like real wood and last longer. If you are fitting laminate flooring in bathrooms or kitchens look out for flooring suitable for these damp area’s.

Measuring for flooring

To measure for your laminate or hardwood flooring, measure the length and width of the area to be covered, then multiply these two figures together, so if your room is 10 feet (3 metres) by 12 feet (3.6 metres) you would need 120 sq ft (10.8m² metres) of laminate flooring. You should always add on around 10 % for cutting and wastage to this figure.

Type of laminate flooring

The easiest type of laminate flooring to lay is by far the click together type as opposed to the glue together as the click together systems give you a good solid connection between boards and is faster as you don’t need to wait for the glue to dry. I would always recommend the click together systems over the glue together for ease of use and speed.


Do you need underlay, yes you do. Underlay will deaden the noise as you walk over the flooring, underlay comes in boards or as a roll. The underlay will help provide a good more even surface for the laminate floor to be laid onto.

Tools required for laminate flooring


You will need the following tools and item to lay laminate flooring :

  • Laminate flooring
  • Laminate flooring underlay (boards or roll)
  • Laminate flooring fixing kit (block, spacers, pull bar)
  • Hammer or Mallet
  • Saw (panel and optional coping saw)
  • Drill and wood drill bits
  • Tape measure
  • Craft knife

Skirting boards

When you lay your laminate flooring you need to allow a gap between the edge of the flooring and the wall around the whole perimeter to allow for expansion, so you have two options, you can remove the skirting (or fit new) and re-fit the skirting over the expansion gap, or you can leave a gap from the flooring and the skirting boards and use a quadrant to cover the gap, this way you can leave the skirting boards on.

If you go for the quadrant option make sure you buy this at the time of buying the laminate flooring so you buy the correct colour to match the floor. Laminate flooring manufactures make the quadrant the same colour and look as the flooring so remember to buy it if you go for this option. The quadrant can be pinned or glued to the skirting board, not the floor.

Laying the laminate flooring

Ideally you should have all the packs of laminate flooring in the room you intend to lay it in 24 hours or so before you lay it, this allows it to acclimatise and reduces the risk of expansion or shrinkage after fitting the boards and the joints opening.

The next job is to prepare the area, remove furniture, old floor covering and to make life easier any door that opens into the room. Make sure you remove any dirt, dust, and lumps from the floorboards, use a vacuum cleaner to pick up any debris.

Once you have cleared the area and cleaned up, you can now lay the underlay, cut the underlay with a craft knife, you can cover the entire floor with underlay in one go, or just cover enough to lay a few boards and then lay more underlay as required.

Read the instruction that come with the flooring to see how much of an expansion gap is required, then place spacers along the longest straightest wall, do this around every half metre or so, then take the first board and lay it on the floor, butting it up to the spaces along is long side and it’s end. Then lay the next board, glue or click the ends together, again making sure you are leaving the required gap.

Continue doing this along the length of the room, when you get the the end of the room you may have to cut a board to get it to fit, measure and cut and then lay, you can use the pull bar to get it to click into place or get a tight glued joint.

Laying the second and remaining rows

Once you have completed the first row and ensured the spaces are in place you can continue laying the second and subsequent rows. If you are using a click together system you do not need to wait but if you are gluing together you may wish to wait for the glue to dry to give you a more solid stable row to work from.

Start the second row but ensure the joints are broken, by this I mean make sure that the joint along the short side doesn’t marry up with one on the first row, make sure the joint on the short side of the first board on the second row is at least 300mm from the joint on the first board. Continue this staggered process as you move across the floor.

Make sure you firmly fit the boards together as any gaps found later maybe impossible to rectify.

Pipes and other obstacles

If your heating pipes come from the floor you will need to cut a hole to accommodate the pipe, mark the board where the pipe is to come through, next drill a hole large enough for the pipe but allow extra for an expansion gap, so for a 15mm pipe, cut a 20mm hole. Once you have drilled the hole, cut the board along the short side from the edge of the board to the centre of the hole, do this in both directions.

Now you have cut the board with the hole you will need to fit the smaller board behind the pipe and then but the larger board upto the smaller piece, use a small amount of glue to fix the two boards together.

If you prefer not to see the hole in the board once the laminate flooring is finished, you can buy radiator pipe collars. Again, these are available in the colour and finish of the flooring. The collars come in two halfs that clip or glue together around the radiator pipe covering the larger hole in the floor.

You can deal with any other obstacle coming out of the floor in the same way.

Doorways and door frames

When it comes to fitting laminate flooring around door frames you need to cut away the bottom of the architrave and frame to allow the edge of the laminate floor to go under the frame and architrave.

To do this you will need a scrap of underlay, an offcut of floor and a saw, lay the underlay and flooring on the floor up to the frame and architrave, take the saw and lay it flat on the offcut of floor, saw away the architrave and frame, try to keep the saw as level as possible, once you have done this remove the cut frame and architrave, you may have to chisel any remaining wood away, try the flooring underneath the frame before trying to complete the flooring in this area.

You should take care when cutting away the frame and architrave to to slip and injure yourself.

The finishing touches

Once you have done the floor you can either refit the skirting boards or fit the quadrant by gluing or nailing to the skirting board, not the floor because if you attach it to the floor and the floor shrinks slightly the quadrant will move away from the skirting, fixing it to the skirting boards will allow the floor to shrink and expand under the quadrant.

If you have done one room and not a complete floor level, such as a ground floor, you need to have some kind of threshold bar to help protect the edge of the board, and so you don’t trip up over the edge of the board, there are a number of these available in different materials, colours and profiles. Think about what you have in the next room, for example tiles or hard flooring or carpet as there are different types of profile depending on what you have.

You can now fit the radiator pipe collars and finally clean the floor.

Caring for your laminate floor

Laminate flooring makes cleaning easy, you can sweep up pet hairs, you can wipe up dirty marks, it isn’t advised to mop the floor with lots of water as the water can soak into the joints and discolour or lift the laminate. Wipe over with a soft damp cloth and occasionally some laminate floor cleaner. Stones can scratch the laminate so pick these up as soon as possible.

By looking after your laminate flooring you will enjoy it for many years to come.

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