What Are the Best Tips for DIY Laminate Flooring?

Maggie Worth

DIY laminate flooring can be a manageable home improvement project for many people. Tips for installing the product with a minimum of difficulty and few mistakes include choosing flooring carefully, understanding product installation instructions completely before beginning and using the right tools for the job. Homeowners should also follow the "measure twice, cut once rule" and should plan to allow enough time for the installation. Additionally, purchasing extra DIY laminate flooring can prevent last-minute trips to the home improvement store.

Laminate flooring is an inexpensive alternative to hardwood flooring.
Laminate flooring is an inexpensive alternative to hardwood flooring.

Replacing flooring is a fairly substantial project, so it is best to choose the right flooring the first time. Homeowners should carefully evaluate the many available varieties of DIY laminate flooring. Appearance, installation method, price and warranty are all important considerations.

There are many types of DIY laminate flooring available, and each has slightly different installation requirements. In general, this type of flooring is either "floating," meaning that it is not attached to the subfloor, or it is attached with special adhesive. Depending on the type purchased, the underlayment might come in a separate roll or may be pre-attached to each plank. Most flooring comes with installation instructions, and additional information often can be found online. In addition, many flooring and home improvement stores sell instructional videos, and some offer free or low-cost classes.

Choosing tools can be almost as important as choosing flooring. Homeowners should use the tools recommended by the installer. Other tools are often ineffective and can damage flooring.

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One of the most important tips for installing DIY laminate flooring is to measure twice, cut once. What this really means is to make absolutely sure that measurements are correct before cutting. An incorrect cut may mean wasted product — and wasted money.

Mistakes are, however, virtually inevitable in any home improvement project, and unless the room is the width of an even number of boards, a certain amount of waste will naturally occur. The occasional faulty board is not unusual, either. For all of these reasons, it is wise to purchase slightly more product than appears to be required. Most flooring manufacturers have a recommended "overage" percentage.

Unless the homeowner has installed DIY laminate flooring before, the process is likely to take somewhat longer than anticipated. It is always wise to plan additional time into the schedule so that delays in installation do not hold up other projects. Installing flooring on the same day as a party or other event is not recommended for this reason.

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