Laminate flooring has come a long way in the last five years. There are more varieties, colors and grades than you can imagine. Not only is it more reasonable than hardwood, but it’s so easy to install that the average do-it-yourselfer can take it on. The result is a high quality floor that looks almost like wood, and if installed correctly, supports a hefty warranty period. Some brands warranty their laminates for over 25 years.
Here are the steps for installing the Torlys Quick-Step flooring and some of the details you need to be aware of that apply to most laminate flooring.
Place the boxes of flooring in your home and allow 24 to 48 hours to climatize before installation. If installing in a new home, you may want to run a dehumidifier for one week prior to installation. The humidity should be approximately 40 to 60 percent.
Thoroughly clean and level the sub floor using self-leveling concrete for anything more than 1/12″ per 39 1/2″.
The flooring basically floats, but it requires a 3/8″ expansion gap around the outside of the room or any fixed objects. If your baseboard will not cover the gap you can either add quarter round trim or undercut the drywall and slide the laminate under the wall.
When laying over concrete floor, it’s important to determine whether you have a moisture problem. Tape pieces of clear polyethylene plastic in several places on the floor, leave for 24 hours and check whether condensation has formed. Any extensive water build-up or leakage need to be fixed before laying the floor.
Before placing the laminate, start with a 2-mm layer of underlay of antimicrobial foam with attached self-sealing moisture barrier which provides sound absorption and warmth. The underlay is placed in the same direction as the planks. Generally, these are run parallel to the flow of natural light or to the longest wall.
Overlap the underlay about 4″ up the wall to create a vapor barrier. In doorways or cut ends, seal with damp-proof or tuck tape. When attaching one row to another, pull back the foam, removing tape on adhesive strip and replace foam to form a continuous vapor barrier.
Lay down a test row of laminate planks, ensuring the last plank will not be less than 8″. For the first row, begin in the corner and move left to right keeping the groove in front of you. This small step will make the rest of your job easier.
When you’re ready to begin, open several boxes and choose packs randomly from different packs, inspecting each before laying.
Saw off the tongue off the long side of the first row of planks (and the short side of the corner board), so they will fit nicely against the outer edge and create the 3/8″ expansion gap. Don’t cut your last plank until all the pieces in the first row are clicked in place.
Uses the wedges provided by the manufacturer to create your expansion gap for the outer perimeter. When starting the second row, it should be smaller than the first piece you used in the previous row, but no less than 8″. This will stagger the joints as you go along. Click the board into place by angling it slightly, insert tongue into groove, and rock it into place. Click in a scrap at the joints to keep both planks level, and using the tapping block, lightly tap into place.
When installing the last plank in the row, use the board puller to securely attach the plank.
Apply molding to finish off the edges in the doorway, still allowing for an expansion gap. Use T-molding to transition between two types of flooring and snap into place.
wedges (provided by manufacturer)
tapping block (provided by manufacturer)
board puller (provided by manufacturer)