Tuesday, April 23, 2024

7 Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

If we need to get on our hands and knees, we certainly don’t want to make mistakes!

I spent 2 knee-bruising weeks of floor laying in my living room, where I encountered a few errors. To give you a head start, I’ve documented the most common mistakes when laying laminate flooring.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can lay your laminate flooring with peace of mind that it will go as efficiently as possible. Let’s get it.

Table of Contents

Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

The Top 9 Most Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

Here are my top 7 common mistakes when laying laminate flooring.

Neglecting the Expansion Gap

The first lesson I learnt was valuable in my quest to install laminate flooring in my home. The importance of creating an expansion gap around the room’s perimeter.

Overlooking this step was the first common mistake I made.

With the UK weather, laminate flooring requires space to expand and contract. This is in response to ever-changing temperature and humidity. Without this crucial gap, the flooring can buckle and distort over time.

Give your laminate floor the breathing room it needs to withstand UK conditions. This is important for a long-standing floor and to save your knees from future wear and tear.

Ignoring the Importance of a Level Subfloor

I quickly learned that a level subfloor is crucial for success. An uneven subfloor can lead to issues like squeaks, shifting, and snapping. Before laying the laminate, make sure to thoroughly prepare the subfloor:

1. Ensure it is clean, clear, dry, and level.

2. Check for bumps with a straightedge or level.

3. Used a self-levelling product for any uneven areas.

These precautions are essential, resulting in a stable and durable laminate floor.

Always take the time to prepare the subfloor. It is a critical step in ensuring a smooth and trouble-free installation. If you’re laying underfloor heating under your laminate, ensure that you insulate your subfloor evenly.

Before Laying Laminate Flooring:

  • Ensure the subfloor is clean, clear, dry, and level.
  • Check for bumps with a long straightedge or level.
  • Consider employing a self-levelling product to produce a level surface if any uneven regions are discovered.

These extra precautions will result in a more stable and long-lasting laminate floor.

Using the Wrong Tools

Another common mistake when laying laminate flooring is needing the right tools.

Incorrect tools can complicate the process and risk damaging the boards. Here are the essentials that will make your life easier than mine:

1. Power saw: A fine-tooth blade ensures clean and precise cuts, preventing chipping.

2. Pull bar: Tighten boards for a snug fit during installation.

3. Tapping block: Gently tap planks into place without causing damage.

4. Spacers: Maintains the expansion gap and ensures consistent board width.

Trust me, it’s not fun when you’re not equipped for the job. Always invest in the right tools. It certainly contributes to achieving a professional-looking result.

Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

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Leaving Your Floor Unfinished

Ignoring the finishing touches to your flooring is a mistake that can happen and leaves it not quite finished.

Leaving things like transitions or mouldings incomplete can leave your new laminate flooring scruffy. Make sure to finish it, including the last little jobs.

Not using an Underlay

When picking out a laminate floor, you need to use an underlay during installation. Skipping the underlay will almost certainly cause you issues down the road.

Laminate flooring is a floating floor, meaning it’s not attached to the subfloor. This can lead to some shift and buckle over time, especially if there’s any moisture involved.

That’s where the underlayment comes in – it helps stability and keeps your floor from going wonky.

Skipping the Acclimation Time

In my laminate flooring installation experience, I learned the importance of acclimation. Let the laminate boards adjust to the room’s temperature and moisture before cracking on.

To avoid issues like buckling or gaps, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Leave the planks in the installation room for at least 48 hours.

Keep them in packaging and lay them flat during this acclimation period. This simple step will be key to a smooth and trouble-free installation.

Installing Laminate in the Wrong Direction

The direction in which the flooring is laid certainly impacts the overall appearance of the space.

Avoiding putting down planks backwards will help prevent the room from looking small and disrupting flow.

Consider the room’s primary natural light source when deciding on the direction. Installing the planks parallel to the light source creates a sense of expansiveness. Installing them perpendicular to the floor joists is also recommended for stability.

Take the time to carefully consider the orientation of the laminate. It can make a significant difference in the final outcome. It’s a small detail that plays a big role in shaping the overall look and feel of the room.

Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

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Failing to Clean the Subfloor

I quickly grasped the importance of a clean subfloor for a successful installation. Dust lurking on the subfloor can hinder the proper adhesion of laminate boards. This can lead to the nightmare of squeaky or loose flooring.

To avoid this headache, make it a priority to thoroughly clean the subfloor before laying down the floor.

I grabbed a vacuum and hoovered any loose dirt or debris. If there are any stubborn stains, take the extra step of cleaning the subfloor with a light detergent and warm water.

Always ensure it is dried thoroughly before kicking off the installation. This simple pre-installation cleanup will play a significant role in a successful job.

Neglecting Good Aftercare

The last common mistake when laying laminate flooring is neglecting proper maintenance.

This is key to its longevity and appearance. Here are some of my essential tips to stay on top of the quality:

1. Regularly sweep or vacuum to remove dirt.

2. Quickly clean up spills with a damp mop or microfiber cloth.

3. Be cautious with moisture, as laminate isn’t waterproof.

4. Use furniture pads to prevent scratches and dents.

5. Avoid wearing high heels to prevent surface damage.

Following these tips (especially the last one) will help you keep your laminate looking great for years.

The Most Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring FAQ's

common mistakes when laying laminate flooring

There is, without a doubt, a wrong way to lay laminate flooring.

Doing the following can all account for laying your laminate flooring incorrectly.

  • Poor subfloor preparation
  • using the wrong underlayment
  • failing to acclimatise the flooring
  • not leaving enough expansion gaps
  • improper plank orientation
  • failing to undercut door jambs
  • ignoring moisture concerns
  • mixing planks
  • rushing the installation
  • using the wrong tools

The above are the most common mistakes when laying laminate flooring.

1. A subfloor that is uneven or has holes beneath the laminate.

2. Incorrect or insufficient underlayment.

3. Moisture problems or insufficient acclimatisation.

4. Inadequate room for expansion and contraction.

5. Poorly made flooring materials.

Check the subfloor and use proper underlayment. Remember to also maintain ideal humidity levels and follow installation instructions.

If the problem persists, get advice from a flooring professional.

The following common mistakes frequently cause laminate floor lifting during installation:

1. Inadequate subfloor preparation.

2. Need for expansion gaps.

3. Moisture problems.

4. Inadequate underlayment.

5. Incorrect locking mechanism engagement.

6. Hasty installation.

To avoid your floor lifting, ensure correct subfloor preparation and adequate gaps. Make sure to also treat moisture and use appropriate underlayment.

If the problems still persist, get advice from a flooring specialist.

When laying the laminate, leave a space to allow for the material’s natural expansion. This is due to changes in temperature and humidity.

This gap minimises buckling and makes repairs quicker. It can also create a finished appearance when combined with baseboards or moulding.

Always stagger to avoid the above common mistakes when laying laminate flooring. Staggering enhances structural integrity and creates a natural appearance. It will also minimise wastage and prevent pattern repetition.

This can lead to issues like buckling, damage and visible gaps.

It’s a crucial step to ensure the floor’s longevity and stability in the years to come.

It takes for laminate flooring to settle or acclimatise generally between 48 hours. [1]

One of the most common mistakes when laying laminate flooring is not allowing for sufficient acclimation. This can result in buckling or warping after installation.

Your preference and the room’s layout will determine how you lay laminate flooring. When laying your flooring, common faults include failing to consider the room’s dimensions and layout.

Vertical installation can lend depth to more extensive areas. While horizontal installation can make smaller rooms appear more expansive. Finally, it comes down to personal taste and how you want it to look.

The Bottom Line

Laying laminate flooring can be a rewarding DIY project for us dads. However, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes that can lead to costly errors.

By being mindful of the common mistakes above, you can achieve a successful and long-lasting flooring you can be proud of.

With the proper knowledge and attention to detail, you can enjoy the beauty of laminate flooring in your home for years to come.

Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

Thank you for reading our article on the most common mistakes when laying laminate flooring. If you found it useful, please head over to our blog HEREfor more DIY tips and advice tailored for dads.



I'm Chris, and my life revolves around two profound passions: embracing the joys of fatherhood with my energetic 2-year-old son and channelling my skills into transforming every nook and cranny of our home.
Dads tool shed

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