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Not since the invention of linoleum has a flooring product captured the hearts and minds of people from all walks of life. Rising from an obscure Swedish manufacturer called Pergo to becoming the most popular flooring surface in American took less than 10 years and now there are thousands of varieties of laminate flooring.
The big draws for laminate flooring is that it is cheap, looks like real wood flooring and doesn't need a professional flooring contractor to install it. In addition it comes in convenient packages and enough flooring to do a regular bedroom can be loaded into the back seat of a car.
Anatomy of Laminate Flooring
Buying Laminate Flooring
AC Ratings: Quality-control tests are done on major brands of laminate floor planks that cover such things as a floors resistance to burns, abrasion and stains. These ratings are numerically ranked from 1 to 5. AC 1 is the lowest rating. These products should only be used in areas of light traffic. Most residential flooring will have the AC 2 or 3 ranking. However, the premium floors will be AC 5, an extremely strong flooring product.
Thickness: Some products boast an 8mm thickness while other have a 10mm and these manufacturers will say that "thicker is better." The truth is that thickness is not the only determining factor. A good joining system that guarantees multi-fitting is a better laminate plank as it will be strong enough to be taken part and put back together many times.
How Much? Just like buying tile or other products buy more laminate floor that you think you will need. It is better to have "more" than "not enough" planks. If you are short you may go back to the store only to find that your design has been sold out. Also get more to:
For a standard floating floor a roll of thin underlayment should be put down. Not only will this prevent squeaks but adds a cushioning and sound-dampening quality.
Tools For Installing Laminate Floor
When installing a floor make sure you buy the right tools. They are not expensive and you can use them for future jobs:
- Laminate flooring pull bar (This great tool helps you to get the floor fastened tightly together)
- Bumpers (These are plastic pieces that fit on the edges of the plank so that the edges can be hit with a mallet for tightening and not deform the plank fasting system)
Installing the Floor
Start in the corner of the room and put spacers along the two adjoining walls.
Planks should be staggered. Cut one plank in half and use to start the second, fourth and sixth rows ( and so on. The other cut pieces from each plank can be used at the other end
Attach primary cut piece to a first row plank and then the planks should be equally staggered up the rows. The spacers will keep the floor 1/4" away from the walls as you get the floor started. Once the floor is halfway across the floor start the third row. Use the pulling bar to tighten the ends of the planks together and place bumpers on the edges and tap them with a mallet to get the side edges tight.
For objects that stick out, like a pipe, use the coping saw to cut the plank to fit around it.
Reinstall old baseboards or put new ones done but do not nail into the planks. The floor should not be attached to either the baseboard or floor.
For a qualified professional to install your laminate floor consult our Contractor Directory or simply post your project online and a contractor will contact you.