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14 Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

14 Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

To ensure a successful and professional-looking installation, it is important to be aware of the most common mistakes that people make when laying laminate flooring. By avoiding these mistakes, you can save yourself time, money, and a lot of headaches as these mistakes are a lot more common than you may think. In this article, we will discuss the top 15 mistakes to avoid when installing laminate flooring, so you can achieve a beautiful and long-lasting result that you can be proud of.

What is Laminate Flooring and what are Its Advantages?

Laminate flooring is a synthetic flooring product that is composed of multiple layers. The bottom layer is a moisture-resistant backing, followed by a core layer made of high-density fiberboard. On top of the core layer is a decorative layer that mimics the look of wood, stone, or tile, and is protected by a clear, durable wear layer.

The installation process for laminate flooring typically involves a click-lock method, where the planks are designed to snap together easily without the need for glue. This makes installation quick and relatively simple, even for DIY enthusiasts.

One of the main advantages of laminate flooring is its resistance to moisture and scratches. The moisture-resistant backing helps to prevent warping and damage from water, making it a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

Overall, laminate flooring offers a cost-effective and low-maintenance alternative to traditional hardwood or tile flooring, with the added benefits of easy installation and excellent durability. However, more often than not, many people make mistakes that make them regret choosing to do laminate flooring.

Common Laminate Flooring Installation Mistakes to Avoid

Here’s a list we put together of the most common mistakes majority of people make during laminate flooring process.

1. Laminate floors are not suitable for every room

Laminate flooring has its limitations when it comes to different rooms within a home. One of the main limitations is its susceptibility to moisture. Hence, rooms like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens are not suitable for laminate flooring due to the high levels of moisture present. Laminate flooring can warp and become damaged when exposed to excessive moisture.

Another limitation of laminate flooring is its ability to withstand heavy foot traffic. While it is durable, it may not be the best option for areas with constant high foot traffic, such as entryways and hallways. Heavy foot traffic can cause the laminate to wear down and lose its aesthetic appeal over time.

2. check the floors for any unevenness

Before installing laminate flooring, it is important to thoroughly check the subfloor for any unevenness, soft spots, or imperfections. These issues can cause the laminate to not lay flat or can lead to damage over time. Using a straight edge or level can help identify any areas of concern.

To address any unevenness in the subfloor, a self-leveling compound or other levelling solution should be used to create a smooth and level surface. This step is essential for achieving the best possible result when laying laminate planks. It is essential to prioritize this step before beginning the installation process.

3. Choosing the Wrong Type of Flooring

There are several factors to consider. The size and layout of the room, as well as the intended use, should all be taken into account. For example, a larger room may benefit from wider planks to create a more spacious feel, while a high-traffic area may require a more durable laminate to withstand wear and tear.

Selecting the appropriate type of laminate flooring based on specific needs is crucial. For areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms or kitchens, it’s important to choose laminate with high moisture resistance to prevent any damage. Similarly, for high-traffic areas, a more durable laminate is essential to ensure longevity.

Choosing the wrong type of laminate flooring for a particular location can lead to various consequences. This includes the risk of buckling or warping due to moisture exposure, bubbling from improper installation, or the need for frequent replacement due to wear and tear. It’s crucial to carefully assess the specific needs of each area to avoid these issues and ensure the longevity and quality of the laminate flooring.

4. Taking Too Long to Install Laminate Flooring

Timely installation is crucial to prevent potential problems such as warping or buckling. If the installation process takes too long, the laminate flooring may be exposed to moisture, temperature changes, or other environmental factors that can cause it to warp or buckle, leading to an uneven and unattractive surface.

To ensure a timely and proper installation, it is important to consult with a professional installer beforehand. 

5. Insufficient Floor Maintenance

Poor floor maintenance can lead to a range of consequences, including uneven and unsightly floors. Neglecting to properly care for floors can result in stains, scratches, and wear, giving the surface an unattractive appearance. In addition, failing to maintain floors can lead to more severe structural problems, such as warped or damaged floorboards, which can be expensive to repair.

Common mistakes to avoid when it comes to floor maintenance include using wet mops or steam cleaners on laminate flooring. Excess moisture can cause laminate flooring to warp or bubble, leading to irreparable damage. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper care and maintenance to avoid these potential problems. This includes using the recommended cleaning products and techniques for each type of flooring.

6. Not Allowing for Temperature Acclimation of laminate flooring

Allowing laminate flooring to acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity for at least 48 hours before installation is crucial for a successful and long-lasting floor. Laminate flooring is sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, and failure to acclimate the flooring can result in post-installation issues such as expansion, contraction, gaps, or even buckling.

When laminate flooring is not properly acclimated, it can expand or contract after installation, leading to gaps between the boards or buckling of the flooring. This can ruin the aesthetic appeal of the floor and may require costly repairs or replacement.

7. Wrong Underlayment for Laminate Flooring 

When selecting an underlayment, it is important to consider comprehensive support, as this will provide stability and prevent shifting and buckling of the laminate flooring. Protection from harmful chemicals and vapors is also essential for creating a safe indoor environment. Additionally, it is crucial to ensure that the underlayment meets emission standards, as this will contribute to better air quality in the home.

Using a quality underlayment for laminate flooring is important for several reasons. The underlayment provides stability, prevents shifting and buckling, and deadens sound, creating a more comfortable and quieter living space. Without a proper underlayment, the laminate flooring may not perform as expected, leading to potential issues such as increased noise, reduced durability, and an uneven feeling underfoot.

8. Not checking for subfloor moisture

It’s important to check the moisture levels in the subfloor using a moisture meter or Relative Humidity (RH) reader before installation. Aim for a reading of around 30% to ensure the subfloor is dry enough for laminate flooring installation.

If the moisture levels are higher, it’s important to take the necessary steps to dry out the subfloor before proceeding with the installation. This may involve using a dehumidifier or allowing more time for the subfloor to dry naturally.

9. Not sealing your laminate floor

Not properly sealing your laminate floor can leave it vulnerable to water penetration and potential damage. Without sealing at the joints, using waterproof glue, or applying silicone caulk during installation, moisture can seep into the laminate and cause warping, swelling, discoloration, and even mold or mildew growth.

Also, promptly clean up any spills or water on the laminate floor to prevent moisture from seeping into the joints or edges. Regular maintenance and vigilance can help maintain the laminate floor’s integrity and appearance.

10. Dirty, Dusty Floor: Not cleaning the subfloor

Any dirt, debris, or dust left on the subfloor can prevent the laminate planks from lying flat and even, making the flooring susceptible to bulging or warping. Additionally, these particles can create noise underfoot as the flooring shifts or settles.

Furthermore, a dirty subfloor can affect the adhesive used to secure the laminate flooring, potentially leading to areas of the floor lifting or separating over time. To avoid these issues, it is crucial to thoroughly clean the subfloor before installing laminate flooring.

Using a vacuum to remove loose debris and then mopping to eliminate any remaining dirt and dust helps ensure a clean, smooth surface for the laminate flooring to be laid on. 

11. Measuring the room incorrectly

Once you have the measurements, recheck them to ensure accuracy. It’s also important to double-check the dimensions of your laminate planks before starting the installation. This will help prevent issues such as needing to cut pieces shorter than the recommended length or width.

In addition, consider adding a break in the floor between rooms if the dimensions don’t perfectly align. Getting as close as possible to the recommended dimensions will help make the installation process smoother and prevent any difficulties or inconsistencies in the final floor appearance.

12. Ignoring Floor Laying Instructions

It is vital to read and adhere to the manufacturer’s installation instructions. These instructions provide crucial guidance for ensuring the flooring is properly installed, which is essential for its longevity and functionality.

Ignoring these instructions can lead to serious consequences such as sagging, soft spots, or bumps in the flooring. This not only affects the aesthetic appeal of the flooring but also poses safety hazards and compromises its structural integrity.

13. Not Leaving Room for Edge Expansion

Laminate flooring is made of composite wood that can expand and contract due to changes in temperature and humidity. Without proper room for expansion, the flooring can buckle, warp, or develop gaps, leading to an unsightly and potentially hazardous floor.

To address this issue, it is recommended to leave a perimeter gap of at least 1/4 inch around the edges of the room. This gap allows the laminate to expand and contract without causing damage to the flooring. Additionally, it is important to use spacers during installation to maintain this necessary gap.

14. Not caring for your flooring after it’s installed

Regular care and cleaning for laminate flooring is crucial for maintaining its beautiful appearance and ensuring its longevity.

A recommended maintenance routine for laminate flooring involves weekly vacuuming or sweeping to remove dirt, dust, and debris that can cause scratches and wear. Occasional damp mopping with a manufacturer-approved cleaner will help to keep the flooring looking its best. It’s important to remember to use minimal water when damp mopping, as excess moisture can damage the laminate.

Preventing dirt and debris build-up is essential in avoiding unnecessary wear and tear on the laminate flooring. Not only does regular care and cleaning help maintain the appearance of the flooring, but it also protects it from damage, ultimately extending its lifespan.

FAQ

Why Is My Laminate Floor Buckling After Installation?

Excessive moisture exposure is a common culprit, as moisture can cause the planks to swell and buckle. Improper acclimation of the flooring to the installation environment, an uneven subfloor, inadequate expansion gap, and poor installation technique can also contribute to buckling.

Why Does My Laminate Flooring Keep Separating?

There are several potential reasons why laminate flooring may keep separating, ranging from improper installation to changes in humidity and temperature. You need check for each seperately to ensure why it’s seperating.

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