» ADVICE » Floor laying guide » Guide to laying laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is an inexpensive and easy to install floor covering. Over tiles or concrete screed, this type of flooring is to be laid on an underlay. And this, in any room of your home. Generally speaking, laminate flooring can be laid in various ways. Depending on the type of model and the nature of its support, you have several installation techniques at your disposal. You can also choose the laying direction of your floor and the pattern you wish to obtain. It remains to be seen how to proceed in a professional manner. In this article, we offer you a small guide to help you install a laminate floor. Follow us for more details.


Laminate flooring: what is it?

First of all, let’s take a closer look at what laminate flooring really is. It is a false floor, more seriously an image glued on a more or less thick support. The laminate floor is therefore the subject of a parquet pattern, but the floor in question is not made of wood. It is, so to speak, a parquet floor that is very easy to install and inexpensive.


Also known as a floating floor, laminate flooring is a parquet floor that is designed using four well-defined layers. These include the base layer, the fibreboard core, the decorative layer and the protective layer. This type of flooring is usually made from melamine or HDF fibreboard, which makes it extra durable. It also has a finish that imitates various materials such as wood, concrete, natural stone and ceramics. This is the reason why laminate flooring can easily blend in with all styles of decor.


How to lay a laminate floor

As with any large-scale work in your habitat, there are certain procedures that must be followed to complete your project. As its name suggests, a floating installation consists of leaving the parquet floor uncoupled from the support on which it rests. A floating floor allows you to work freely and avoids the use of glue or nails during installation.


Most home supports can accommodate laminate flooring. You can therefore lay it on tiles, an old wooden floor or even on a concrete screed. However, it is important that the subfloor be straight and stable enough to make a quality installation. The use of an underlayment is also highly recommended, both to ensure better flatness, good insulation and to preserve the floating floor. And of course, the support on which it will be placed must be of high quality and resistance.

The tools needed to lay a laminate flooring

For the installation of a floating floor, you will need a few tools. The tapping block is the first material you will need, it will prevent you from damaging the floor during the entire installation. Then a mallet to tap the tapping block and a blade puller to make it easier to fit the boards together. You will also need expansion wedges to be inserted between the floor and your walls or other obstacles to maintain a constant clearance, while supporting the subsequent expansion of the floor. Note that if they are bevelled, the shims can easily rise at the end of the installation and a gap of 7-8mm is on average correct for a successful installation.


Essential tools for cutting and measuring

You will first need a jigsaw for cutting around obstacles. For this, there are blades with inverted teeth to prevent splintering on the face of your blades. Or you can simply choose to cut them upside down. A guillotine is also available for large surfaces. This is a handy material to cut your blades precisely and without the shadow of dust. A square and a dummy square also extend the list of tools needed to lay your laminate flooring to trace your cuts with precision. And don’t forget the tape measure and the fine pencil for taking measurements and tracing the cuts accurately.


Protective equipment for greater safety

Since the installation of a laminate floor is not a project to be taken lightly, it is important to be well equipped before proceeding. Depending on your work situation, you will need to be in possession of a few pieces of equipment. Namely a respiratory protection mask and protective gloves. Protective goggles will also be useful, as well as hearing protection and some work clothes.


The right steps to take when laying laminate flooring

The installation of a laminate floor is usually done in a few steps.

Installation of the polyane film and the underlayment

For this first step, you need to lay polyane or polyethylene sheeting before the underlay. The fact is that when installing a floating parquet floor on a concrete screed or a floating floor, it is essential to lay a polyane film. And normally the latter must be installed before the concrete is poured to avoid any form of expansion of the parquet due to variations in temperature or humidity. To do this, you need to install a bed of about 15 to 20 centimetres of aggregate which will form the first part of your uncoupling layer. Also, to ensure a good seal, the ideal would be to make the film go up along your walls. In all cases, this is a step that should be done by the concrete finisher and not by the floor installer for efficiency reasons.


Once this has been done, you now need to install the underlayment, also known as the flooring membrane, under the floating floor. This is a step that should not be neglected since it will ensure that the laminate floor will be easy to install later on, in addition to providing good thermal and acoustic insulation. Note that to proceed properly, it is imperative to follow the recommendations for installing the underlayment. First the direction of installation, preferably perpendicular to the floorboards, then the covering and finally the jointing with sealing tape. Little advice: do not rush to lay the underlay, avoid folds and handle it with care.


Consider the squareness and laying direction of the laminate flooring

A good start is essential for the floor to provide a harmonious visual appearance and for easy installation. The direction of the boards mainly follows the direction of the light in the room, so they will be perpendicular to the wall with several windows. In the case of the corridor, the boards should be placed parallel to the length of the corridor. In the case of a classic room, however, the easiest way is to start at the junction of two walls that form a right angle, this guarantees a straight and safe installation.


Once you have defined the direction in which you want to lay your laminate floor, continue by checking the squareness of your room. If your room has a slight angle, make sure you have a chalk line to draw a straight line on the floor, perpendicular to one of your walls. This will ensure that your parquet floor is optimally positioned.


Installing the first floorboards

For this step, you must first install expansion blocks. To do this, take the first board and transfer the angle given by the walls with a false square. Then, cut out and lay it on the underlay by inserting the expansion wedges in the length and width of the board.


Then assemble the boards one by one, taking into account the technique recommended by the manufacturer. Also, check that no clearances appear on the board. Using a wedge and a mallet, tap the blade lightly to bring them together. Don’t forget the expansion wedges along this first row. When you reach the end of the row, measure the length of the last board by deducting the 0.7 mm expansion gap. Continue by cutting and inserting the board against the wall. Then use the waste to spread out over a new row and repeat the installation technique described above.


Cut the rounded shapes of the floor at the level of the frames

Transfer the exact cut-outs to the planks by soaking the expansion space. Depending on your ability to handle the jigsaw and take a measurement, the result will be even more beautiful. As far as the frames are concerned, you have two choices. Between cutting the frames to the thickness of the blade to be able to insert it underneath and cutting the blade to the desired shape to fill the unsightly gap with a joint of the same colour as this one.


Installing the laminate floor finishes

For this last step, you need to remove the expansion wedges, cut off the polyane and the underlay that protrudes. Then, install the baseboards or finishing strips. These can generally be nailed, screwed, glued or clipped together. Their installation method is indeed specific to their type. Finish by laying the threshold bar and the finishing strip, which will serve to hide possible cutting errors or areas that cannot be covered with the parquet floor. Just be careful to choose the colour closest to your laminate floor and you’re done.