DIY laminate installation vs Hiring a professional
Thinking of DIYing your new laminate flooring? We’ve outlined the pros and cons of DIY vs hiring a professional laminate installer.
Laminate is a great, cost-effective option for anyone thinking about changing their flooring. Laminate is a fantastic option if you have pets or children in your home too; it’s spill and scratch-resistant so most stains can easily be wiped away. Laminate can also be laid on top of most existing floorings, making the installation in most cases slightly easier than say vinyl.
This guide will outline the pros and cons of installing laminate yourself vs hiring a professional laminate installer from Checkatrade.
Common mistakes made when DIY installing laminate flooring
DIY’ing a new floor is a risky task for an amateur. Below are some of the common mistakes DIY floor installers make.
- Failure to seal laminate in water-sensitive areas. When installing laminate in potentially wet areas, it’s vital no water seeps under the laminate. All moisture-prone areas should be sealed with laminate floor sealant or mould resistant silicone to prevent moisture damage.
- Installing on an uneven floor. Installing laminate on an uneven surface is a recipe for disaster. The flooring will begin to warp and flex, giving an unattractive finish.
- Not leaving room for edge expansion. In hotter weather your floor will contract and move in the heat, it will also move as it is walked upon and used in everyday life. Laminate is a flooring overlay, it will naturally move as time goes on. It’s important not to cut your laminate floors too tight to your wall, or else it will crease and buckle.
DIY laminate installation
One of the reasons laminate is so popular is its affordability. So if you’re looking for savings on materials, it would explain your determination to save on labour too. But beware, any issues you face on the job may require a professional to come in and rectify issues, leading to more costs and potentially, a waste of your time.
Consider the following points before starting a DIY project:
Are you comfortable with measuring?
If you’re considering DIYing your new laminate floor, you will firstly need to evaluate how good you are with a tape measure. This may sound silly, but you would be surprised how difficult it can be to accurately measure a space alone.
The layout and size of your space will have to be measured perfectly in order to have a high-quality fitting. You will also need to be fully confident with figuring out the square footage of your home. If you’re comfortable with a tape measure, you can work out the square footage of your space by doing the following:
- Measure the dimensions of the space where you are installing the laminate floor. Multiply the length by the width to get the square footage.
- Add at least 10% to the square footage total. This will allow for mistakes’ leave room for any cuts you have to make.
- Place your order with the manufacturer based on the number you received.
Consider the costs of DIY
DIY is often chosen out of a desire to save money, as home improvements can quickly become expensive. It’s important to note, however, that DIY is not free. You will have to purchase an array of materials and tools before you can get going.
Aside from your laminate flooring, you will need to purchase:
- Wall spacer blocks
- Tapping block
- Rubber mallet
- Saw (miter saw or power jigsaw)
Aside from materials and equipment, you will need to invest in some protective gear, like knee pads, heavy-duty gloves, and a dust filtering mask.
If you already have some of these materials your DIY will be cost-effective, however, if you have to buy/rent a lot of equipment, hiring a laminate floor fitter could end up being cheaper.
Whilst installing laminate flooring looks easy as you apply one sheet of flooring, most of the work is done before the flooring is laid.
Before you begin installing laminate flooring, you will need to assess the condition of your subfloor. The base floor must be clean, level and smooth before you begin working. As laminate flooring is quite thin, it is recommended that you apply an underlayer to help it feel less hollow underfoot.
If your subfloor is not perfectly flat, imperfections or chips in your subfloor will show through the laminate flooring, giving a low-quality finish.
Attempting to DIY fix your sub-floor could be a recipe for disaster. Tampering with your sub-floor, if you’re not a professional, could damage your home’s structural integrity and value, whilst being a very expensive mistake to correct.
It may be best to hire a professional floor fitter to do this for you. If your floor requires underlay, this will add more time to your project, you will need to factor this into your project time management.
Why hire a professional laminate installer?
Hiring a professional to install your laminate flooring saves you the hassle and stress of fitting it yourself. A first-time DIY can be stressful, particularly if you are not familiar with the tools or equipment. If you have just moved into a home and have lots of interior work to do, you may be best focusing your efforts elsewhere.
A professional will be able to get the job done a lot quicker than an amateur, depending on the size of your space, a floor could be fitted within a day. A professional will also know how to troubleshoot your floor and how to deal with less-than-perfect surfaces.
As there are a variety of subfloor underlayments you can purchase for your flooring, they will know which is best for your space. If an issue arises, a professional installer will also have the necessary equipment and knowledge to fix any problems.
As outlined, installing laminate flooring requires a variety of equipment and tools, which a floor installation specialist will already own. If you DIY, you not only will have to rent or source this equipment, but you will have to learn how to use it also.
As it is recommended you order excess laminate to account for mistakes, you may feel compelled to order even more excess material to allow more room for mistakes. A professional will only need to order a regular amount of excess, as they are likely to make fewer mistakes.
With all of these factors considered, DIY may not be as cheap as it sounds. Unless you have all the necessary materials and equipment, hiring a professional will work out cheaper than a DIY. It costs on average £175 to install a laminate floor, which is very affordable.
If you would like a full breakdown of laminate floor installation costs visit our cost guide.
Are you still considering DIY?
If you’re set on DIYing your new laminate flooring, our detailed guide to laying laminate flooring may be of some help.
Is it worth it to install laminate flooring yourself?
Installing laminate flooring yourself will take a lot of time and planning. A professional will be able to quickly fit the flooring to a high standard.
What is the best DIY flooring?
Peel and stick vinyl stickers are the easiest type of flooring to install yourself, however, they are not particularly durable.
Should you hire someone to install laminate flooring?
If you have spare time and are confident in your abilities, DIY is a great option for you. If you have never fitted flooring before and want a high-quality-looking finish, we recommend hiring a laminate floor specialist.
Should you choose to explore hiring a professional laminate installer, then obtain at least three quotes from our trusted tradespeople.