Installing Laminate Flooring

Installing laminate flooring is one of the easiest home remodeling projects that the average homeowner can do themselves. In most cases, you should be able to complete a room within a single day -- or less, depending on the type of product you're using.

All laminate flooring is installed as a "floating" floor - meaning it is laid on top of your existing surface without being glued down or attached in any way. When you fit together your planks, you must remember not to make a perfect wall-to-wall floor - leave a small gap along all walls to allow for any expansion caused by humidity and heat, and cover the gap with baseboard moulding.

Laminate flooring planks (or tiles) come with locking tongue-and-groove designs so they fit perfectly together.

Before beginning the job, however, you will also need to put down an underlayment of cork, foam or similar product to cushion the floor and absorb sound. Some laminate flooring brands come with the underlayment already attached, eliminating one more installation step!

All manufacturers provide detailed instructions to make the job go smoothly. Make sure to follow those instructions closely, or you may void your product warranty.

Installing laminate flooring has never been easier, thanks to some recent design innovations.

Do-it-yourselfers now have three choices when purchasing laminate flooring:

Traditional planks that are glued together according to the manufacturers' specifications. This forms an incredibly secure bond, but can be time-consuming and require extra time for cleanup.

Pre-glued planks that you wipe down with water (to activate the glue) before setting into place.

Glueless flooring that is held in place by a variety of locking mechanisms or joints attached to the underside of the planks. Today's glueless brands are as secure traditional laminate flooring but often are more costly.

In the end, your choice may depend on your budget, your time available and your personal preference. Some do-it-yourselfers like the challenge of installing flooring with glue.

On the other hand, if you choose a glueless variety, there will be no cleanup and you can begin using the floor the second the final board snaps into place!

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