Laminate flooring installation tips from National Floors Direct

Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

The laminate flooring industry is massive. It's so popular that it reached almost $1 billion in sales across the U.S. in 2020, grossing a cool $947 million. Today, it's one of the most popular flooring options for homeowners and it's not hard to see why. 

Floor laminate is hard-wearing, versatile, low-maintenance, and looks great for years to come. Not to mention the fact that you can install your own laminate flooring in a mere few hours. 

However, it's vital that you avoid these common mistakes when laying laminate flooring. Check out the rest of this blog for more. 

1. Laying Laminate in the Wrong Environment 

While laminate flooring is robust, it only holds up well in the right environment. Don't make the mistake of laying laminate flooring in rooms exposed to constant moisture. This includes bathrooms, utility rooms, and busy kitchens. 

If you're dead set on laying laminate flooring in these areas, like the kitchen, for example, you'll need to ensure it's moisture-protected with a sealant. Otherwise, your flooring could face bubbling, warping, and discoloration over time. 

2. Failing to Seal Laminate Flooring 

Even if you choose to lay laminate flooring in areas that aren't exposed to much moisture, it's still a good idea to seal your flooring. This way, you can protect it from accidents that involve liquids, such as spills, a burst water tank, etc. 

Opt for either a glue or silicone caulk sealant and make sure to quickly clean up any spills to keep warping or discoloration at bay. 

3. Neglecting Acclimation Time 

Laminate flooring comprises natural wood fibers, so it needs time to expand and acclimate to your home's internal climate. One of the most common errors homeowners make is not allowing the material the time it needs to get used to this environment. 

In order to keep warping and buckling at bay, carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions on how long to allow for acclimation, before you lay your flooring. 

4. Laying Flooring on an Uneven Surface 

It's absolutely vital that the surface underneath your laminate flooring is as level as possible. If not, this is a fast-track way to sagging, soft spots, or bumps in your flooring that could lead to floor deterioration. 

Always do a once-over of the flooring surface before you lay your laminate, ensuring there is no more than a 1/8 of an inch tolerance. You might need to grind or sand the flooring surface down before you lay your flooring for the best end results. 

5. Neglecting to Use an Underlay 

Laminate flooring is thin and streamlined -- this is one of the reasons it's so popular. But because of this, it needs a little extra protection and padding before you lay it down. Opt for a low-pile, high-density foam padding. 

Always ensure that you use an underlay material to protect the structural integrity of your flooring. This also adds a shock-absorbing effect and additional insulation to your home. Underlay can also help to even out the surface of the ground underneath the laminate.

6. Forgetting About Edge Expansion

The overall design of laminate flooring means that each piece interlocks with another. Essentially, the flooring moves as a whole over the surface underneath it, i.e. it floats. This is why it's so important to leave room for edge expansion as the floor will shift around as you walk or put pressure on it. 

Always leave a small amount of space around the edges between the flooring and your walls to prevent damage or floor buckling. 

7. Failing to Prioritize Expansion Joints 

If you're laying laminate flooring over a large area that's over 22-feet wide or 32-feet long, it's super important to include expansion joints in your flooring.

Why? Because of the above point. Laminate flooring is interconnected, and over a large surface area it is prone to warping and buckling without the support of these joints. Basically, these joints allow the flooring to expand and contract as needed, without becoming damaged. 

8. Ignoring Floor Laying Instructions 

No matter the brand or manufacturer you purchase your flooring from, it will always come with a set of instructions to follow. This is because not all brands or models of flooring are the same. Many designs fit together in their own, unique fashion. 

It should be your top priority to read the manufacturer's installation instructions first and ensure you follow them to a-tee. 

9. Neglecting the Finer Details

As the saying goes, ''the devil is in the details''. And when it comes to DIYing your own laminate flooring, it makes all the difference if you follow through and complete the job down to the smallest detail.

This is the difference between flooring that looks like it's DIYed and flooring that looks professionally installed. Make sure you take time to complete and perfect flooring transitions. Properly replace all your moldings and install those quarter rounds correctly. 

These details will take your DIY job to the next level. 

10. Poor Floor Maintenance 

Okay, so this doesn't really tie in with laying laminate flooring, but if you want your flooring to stay in top condition, you need to prioritize its maintenance. Again, you want to read the manufacturer's instructions on how to adequately care for your laminate flooring. 

For most laminate floors this means you shouldn't use wet mops or steam cleaners. Always mop up spills and accidents after they happen. Use the right type of floor cleaner -- avoid harsh chemicals that could strip and ruin the floors. 

Avoid These Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring 

This is a DIY job that's far simpler than most people realize if you follow the instructions and avoid these common mistakes when laying laminate flooring. But if you don't have the time or energy to do it yourself, this is where National Floors Direct is here to save the day. 

We'll not only get the job done for you, but you can shop for your ideal home flooring direct from our website. Take a browse of the laminate flooring options we offer and book your free next-day installation!