Difficulty rating: Medium
These tasks may be tricky so will suit you if you're experienced in DIY, or simply love a challenge.
Before you get started on any of our 'how to' guides, please take a moment to read through our DIY safety tips.
Step 2: Measuring up
- Measure the width of your room at the widest points, then measure the length. Multiply them together to give you the area of your room in m2. Add 10% for wastage. Example: width 5m x length 4m = 20m2+ 10% = 22m2of laminate flooring.
- To work out how many packs you need, check the pack size - say it's 1.243m2<. Then divide your room size by that number. Example: 22m2divided by 1.243 = 17.6 packs. Round this up to 18 packs.
Watch how to measure up for laminate flooring
When laying laminate flooring, it's important to get the correct measurements. This guide will show you what to do when measuring up.
Step 4: Preparing the sub floor
- You can lay laminate flooring on any smooth, flat sub-floor as long as it's dry, firm and level.
- Make sure floorboards are firmly screwed down and flatten all nails with a hammer.
- If you have a newly laid concrete floor it must be completely dry.
- If you have an old, uneven concrete floor use a self-levelling compound. This is a free-flowing, self-smoothing material that dries flat and level. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Before fitting boards over concrete always put down a damp-proof membrane (DPM) to stop moisture coming through.
Watch how to prepare the subfloor for laminate flooring
If you are laying laminate flooring, it is important to correctly prepare the subfloor. This guide will show you which type of underlay is most suitable for your project.
Step 5: Putting down an underlay
- This is the thinnest type of underlay used under laminate flooring and is good for any firm, dry and level sub-floor such as chipboard, plywood or hardboard.
- Prepare the floor and lay a combined underlay and DPM if necessary. Lay the underlay over the entire floor area and trim to fit. Cut a 16 mm gap around pipes.
- Lay lengths side by side and secure them with masking tape.
- The good thing about combined underlay is that you only have to fit one layer not two, whatever the sub-floor.
- It's thicker than polyfoam underlay so absorbs very slight irregularities in the floor. It gives you good sound insulation too.
- Make sure you tape the joints to keep the product damp-proof.
Wood fibre boards
- This is the thickest underlay. Use if you have floorboards or a slightly uneven sub-floor. It gives good heat and sound insulation.
- Always 'acclimatise' the boards in the room for 24 hours before laying. This lets them expand or contract according to the conditions. Prepare the floor and lay a DPM if you need to.
- Lay the boards. Stagger the joints, leaving a 10mm expansion gap around the edge of the room and 5mm between boards.
Insert cork expansion strips in all perimeter gaps before finishing the edge of the room with skirting or beading to help control the boards' natural movement (see pack for instructions).
Step 11: Real wood flooring
Laying real wood flooring is very similar to putting down laminate. You'll need spacers and expansion strips to fit real wood flooring - as you're creating a floating floor you have to leave room for expansion.
Solid wood will require a little more expertise, but with care anyone can do it! For solid wood, you'll want to use tension straps, as you'll be pulling together the glue between each slat.
If you feel gluing each individual slat will be just too messy, we sell very handy self-adhesive underlay. It glues each slat automatically simply by you pressing down.
Step 12: Finishing off
- When you've finished laying the boards, remove the spacers, insert cork expansion strips and put the skirting board back over the new boards. Alternatively, fix a scotia or quadrant moulding over the expansion gap around the perimeters of the room. Pin the moulding to the skirting board and paint or varnish as needed.
- Fit a metal or wooden threshold over the edge of the flooring in all the doorways.
Watch how to finish off laminate flooring
Once you have fitted your laminate flooring here are some tops tips on how to finish your flooring to a professional finish.
To get a smooth edge around your radiator pipe, drill a hole 16mm bigger in diameter than the pipe itself. This will allow for expansion. Radiator pipe rosettes round the fitting off nicely.
When finishing off your flooring into a doorway, place a piece of laminate flat next to the architrave. This gives you a guide for where the flooring will come up to. Then you can saw just the right amount off the bottom of your architrave, and place the laminate firmly and snugly underneath. The video here shows you how to do this.
To finish off the laminate flooring altogether, use a threshold strip to create a neat connection between the other flooring.
Finally, you can remove the spacers and replace with cork explanation strips. These allow the flooring to expand and contract. After placing the cork explanation strips around the room, fix scotia to skirting boards to create a neat finish.
Watch how to care for laminate flooring
Here are some useful tips for the maintenance and care of laminate flooring.
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