How to lay laminate flooring
Popular and durable, laminate flooring brings a wealth of benefits to any home. With affordable options available, you can look forward to an easy to clean, low maintenance and stain-resistant floor. Find out how to lay laminate flooring in our handy guide.
Popular and durable, laminate flooring brings a wealth of benefits to any home. With affordable options available, you can look forward to an easy to clean, low maintenance and stain-resistant floor.
With a wide variety of colour, style and texture options, laminate flooring is a must for style-conscious homeowners. Read on to learn more about the process of laying laminate flooring with sections including how to lay laminate flooring underlay and how to lay laminate flooring around doors.
If you would like to price up the job, or find a specialist to install it, you may also like our guide on laminate flooring fitting costs.
How to lay laminate flooring
Learning how to lay laminate flooring can be a fun and fascinating experience. Plus, it is a handy skill to have. Below, we will look further into the different steps you need to follow when laying laminate flooring.
Step 1: Before you begin
Materials you will need:
Before beginning, check you have the following essential materials:
- Underlay: Specifically for laminate flooring, you can choose from fibreboard or foam.
- Damp-proof membrane: This ensures any leaks, spills and rising damp cannot affect your new flooring.
- Waterproof tape: The perfect choice when installing a damp-proof membrane.
- Laminate underlay joint tape.
- Polythene sheet: This is important if the floor beneath your laminate is made of concrete and you have no moisture meter.
- Timber off-cuts or batons: These can be useful to fill holes in wooden sub-floors and to assist your new floor in acclimatising.
Tools you will need:
Once you have the above materials, make sure you also have the following tools ready for use:
- Nail punch (important if your sub-floor is made from wood)
- Utility knife
- Handsaw or jigsaw (for cutting to size)
- Sander or sandpaper (essential if the flooring beneath your laminate is wooden)
- Combi drill (if you are working with a lower wood floor)
- Wood adhesive (also for use with a wooden floor)
- Vacuum cleaner or broom (to tidy up afterwards)
- Metal rule
- Pull bar
- Carpenters square
It can be expensive purchasing such a wide variety of new tools and materials. Hiring a professional to lay your laminate flooring eliminates the need to purchase any extra tools.
With any DIY job, the safety of you and your family is crucial. Hiring a tradesperson will guarantee you remain safe in your own home. If you do wish to learn how to lay laminate flooring yourself, consider the following:
- Kneepads: Kneeling for long periods of time can put a lot of strain on your knees and using kneepads will help to protect them.
- Ear protectors: Laying laminate flooring will require the use of power tools that are very loud and dangerous for your ears.
- Dust mask: To protect your lungs from dust and airborne debris.
- Safety goggles: Particularly important when cutting boards and laminate, to keep your eyes safe from flying debris.
- Please note if you are planning to cut boards indoors, ensure your workspace is well ventilated.
Step 2: Preparation
- Work out exactly how big your room is and the amount of flooring you will need. Allow packs to acclimatise by storing them in the room for about two days.
- You will need to remove your current floor to make room for your new laminate. At this point, check the sub-base is clean, smooth and level.
- If your lower floor is made of concrete, install a damp-proof membrane to prevent moisture damage.
- Consider using underlay to improve sound and heat insulation. This should be installed in the opposing direction to your laminate.
Step 3: Fitting
- Always begin laying your laminate flooring from a corner with the tongue side of the first row facing the wall closest to it.
- Before beginning, please note that you may need to trim your first row of boards to make sure your last row is upwards of 10cm wide. This can be done with a handsaw or jigsaw.
- As you attach the laminate boards together, ensure they click into place.
- Make sure you also lay spacers in between your laminate boards and the closest wall. Leave an 8 – 10mm gap for expansion.
- It will likely be necessary to trim the last board’s length to get a good fit. You can utilise the extra that has been cut off to begin your next row of laminate boards as long as it is 30cm or longer.
- Stagger the joints of your boards as you click them into place side by side. The spacers are important to keep a gap between the laminate planks and your wall.
- You can work out the width of the last plank by laying it on top of a board from the prior row. Use another board with its tongue touching the wall to measure your needed width. Next, utilise a pull bar and hammer to neatly slot it into the space.
- Always make sure your laminate flooring does not come into contact with any door frames, walls or pipes otherwise it can move position and be damaged.
Step 4: Finishing touches
Keep reading to learn more about fitting laminate flooring around any obstacles in your room.
How to lay laminate flooring in a hallway
As this is a tricky job for a beginner, it is no surprise how many people are searching for ‘how to lay laminate flooring in a hallway’. Hallways are often narrow and long, and as laminate boards come in standard sizes this can mean a lot of cutting and trimming planks to fit the space.
Installing laminate in a hallway yourself can also take a long time and generate a lot of waste. In this situation, hiring a professional to install your hallway flooring can be an excellent choice. In fact, it can save you time and money that would be wasted due to human error.
How to lay laminate flooring in an L shaped hallway
Different shaped rooms will present a unique challenge when laying laminate. This is particularly true for L-shaped rooms. The below steps will take you through how to lay laminate flooring in an L shaped hallway for a fantastic finish:
- Begin by placing the initial row of laminate next to the wall that is located on the inside of the L.
- Move along the wall always allowing a ¼ inch of space so the flooring has room to expand. Move from the initial wall, laying half the laminate all the way to the opposite wall.
- As laminate uses a locking system, the boards will follow a straight path to the opposite wall. Using a carpenter’s square, it is important to make sure the laminate is perpendicular to the wall.
- After fitting the penultimate course, check how far you are from the wall. You can then trim the final board to fill the space available. Remember to always leave ¼ inch space.
- Then you can fit the trimmed planks and snap them into place with a pry bar.
- Next, move in the opposing direction and fit the rest of your laminate flooring.
- Finally, re-install any skirting boards to the walls of your room. These will keep your new flooring in place. Skirting boards can be fiddly, so if you’re not confident in your skills, it’s worth getting a professional in.
How to lay laminate flooring underlay
You can choose from a wide range of underlay, depending on your flooring material. Even better, some types of underlay have a barrier against moisture. This is perfect if your floor is made from concrete.
In fact, you can even purchase underlay that is sound-proof and insulates your room. This can be used in second floor rooms to keep bedrooms quieter and more peaceful for your neighbours.
Learning how to lay laminate flooring underlay is relatively easy. Simply trim to the size of your boards with a utility knife and butt any edges together. You can then start laying your laminate.
How to lay laminate flooring around doors
For flawless results, it is always best to hire a professional. Having said this, while it is challenging, it is possible to learn how to lay laminate flooring yourself. You can either trim your laminate boards to fit your door frame or cut a thin slither off the door itself to allow the laminate to be installed underneath.
- For those who would prefer to cut the laminate to fit around the door frame, always ensure the boards are clicked into place before beginning.
- It can be easier to trim the door frame than the laminate itself. First, check how deep your planks are, then use a saw to carefully cut a slice off the bottom of your door frame.
- You may not be able to lock the laminate plank into place. In this case, consider sanding down the board’s tongue and affix it to the next board using wood glue.
- If you are struggling to fit your laminate boards around radiator pipes, try using a drill to create a keyhole-shaped hole in the plank and sliding into place. Make sure you carefully measure the size of hole you need before damaging your laminate flooring.
- Also, it is worth noting the laminate planks should never come into contact with your radiation pipe.
How to lay laminate flooring on floorboards
While floorboards can be a beautiful way of enhancing any home, they can become worn down over time. They also may not fit the style of your space, in which case installing new laminate flooring can give a much-needed lift to any tired, dull rooms.
You may be wondering how to lay laminate flooring on floorboards, but, in general you will simply need to use the same installation process we have already looked into. Furthermore, using a layer of hardboard can ensure your new flooring is even, level and durable.
It is also worth noting that no matter how minuscule the difference in height between your floorboards, this can have a big effect on the finish of your room.
How to lay laminate flooring on concrete
Learning how to lay laminate flooring on concrete can save you time and money during the installation process. As we previously mentioned, for floors made of concrete, you will need to install underlay which comes with a damp proof membrane.
It is always worth taping your underlay into place using strong tape and ensuring that your underlay covers a minimum of 5cm up your walls. This keeps your flooring waterproof and long-lasting.
How to lay laminate flooring in kitchen
Laying laminate flooring in a kitchen is not too different from installing this stunning flooring material in another room. You will need to follow the standard process but be extra careful that your finished laminate flooring is watertight.
You can do this by using a sealer specially designed for kitchens, or even bathrooms. These are usually silicone-based and combined with the proper underlay will ensure your floors last for years to come.
How to lay laminate flooring on stairs
Stairs present a unique challenge when installing laminate flooring. Follow the below steps to make sure your new flooring looks great:
- Always trim any overhanging laminate from your stairs.
- Measure and measure again to be certain your calculations are correct.
- Please note when trimming your laminate to size, there are three different shaped and sized pieces needed for every staircase, as follows:
- Stair nosing (overhanging corner pieces).
- Tread pieces (the part of the staircase you walk on).
- Riser pieces (the pieces that fit to the vertical parts of each step).
- Install in the order of tread pieces, riser pieces then stair nosing.
- Laminate boards in standard sizes may not completely cover each step. It may be necessary to trim a piece from another board.
- Always adhere your stair laminate boards with wood glue.
- It is essential you check that every part of your laminate is properly aligned.
- Leave a little space between tread and riser pieces for the stair nosing pieces.
- Lastly, trim the stair nosing to the exact length of the other two pieces.
How to lay laminate flooring in a bathroom
As with laying laminate in a kitchen, a bathroom must be watertight to prevent damp and mould from setting in. Use the standard insulation process but use a silicone-based sealer as well as a damp proof underlay.
How to lay laminate flooring around a toilet
As long as your bathroom laminate is leak-proof, it should be durable and long-lasting. Having said this, when it comes to working around a toilet or sink, it can be tricky to get the installation to a professional finish.
In this case, hiring a tradesperson will guarantee the quality of this difficult job. However:
- It is possible to install laminate around your toilet but cutting the boards to the exact shape you need is tricky, even for professionals. If not done well this can lead to leaks and an unattractive finish.
- A better and safer option involves removing the toilet and laying the flooring underneath. To start with, you will need to remove your toilet and sink before installation begins. This is not easy, and you may even need to raise your toilet flange to fit new laminate flooring underneath.
How to lay laminate flooring with skirting
There are two ways of installing laminate flooring with a skirting board. The first method is to remove the skirting, lay the flooring then reattach the skirting. The second method is to leave the skirting boards in place and trim a thin layer from the bottom to allow your flooring to fit underneath.
How much to lay laminate flooring?
Hiring a tradesperson to lay your laminate flooring is a very wise decision, especially if you are not confident in your DIY skills. This will eliminate any risk of damaging your home plus you can guarantee a professional result.
For an accurate guide to the average laminate flooring fitting cost, please see our helpful guide on laminate flooring fitting costs. Essentially, you will be charged by how many square metres your room is or on a daily rate.
The average laminate flooring fitting cost is £10 per m2 or £175 per day.