How to install laminate flooring
Laminate flooring was first introduced into the USA in 1982, and has since experienced double digit growth at the expense of other flooring materials. Their popularity lies not only in their ability to withstand heavy wear and tear, but also due to the ease with which they are installed and maintained.
Since their introduction, laminate floors have undergone many improvements due mainly to advancements in laminate technologies. Most notable of these improvements was the introduction of glue less laminate floors which has resulted in a floor that can be installed today and walked on tonight. Glue less laminate technology has opened the door to the DIY enthusiast, by offering a product that can be installed with the aid of a manual and no specialized experience.
It is important to allow time for laminate floors to acclimatize to their environment prior to installation. Laminate flooring expands and contracts, some more than others, and needs to stabilize to the room temperature in which they are to be installed. Failure to do so can result in the boards shrinking creating gaps, or expanding and creating peaks. The amount of time required to acclimatize varies by manufacturer, however a period of 48 hours is usually sufficient for most laminate flooring brands. It is not necessary to remove the laminate floor boards from their packaging during the acclimation process. See manufacturer’s specifications for recommended guidelines.
Start off by preparing the area in which you plan on installing your laminate floors, by sweeping and inspecting the floor for undulations or protrusions. One of the advantages of laminate flooring is that they can be installed over floors that are uneven; however the presence of a high or low spot can cause the joint to loosen, resulting in floor boards that squeak when walked upon.
There are two types of locking mechanisms available, the click system and the tap and lock system. Each system requires a slightly different method of installation and may require different tools. If the manufacture specifies the use of a tapping block, be sure to buy their recommended brand, as they are calibrated for individual floors.
When installing a laminate floor in the kitchen or bathroom, ensure that the laminate you purchase has water resistant tongue and grooves. Many laminate manufacturers use some form of water repellent on the joint mechanism, usually an impregnated parafine wax or silicone. It is a good idea to use a waterproof adhesive in the tongue and groove of the boards within a two foot radius of wet areas i.e sinks and baths. The adhesive adds additional water proofing. This can be done on glueless laminate floors for extra protection
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