How to Install Interlocking Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is becoming a really nice alternative to hardwood floors for many reasons. First of all, due to the advanced printing techniques used to simulate wood grain today, laminate looks just as good as real wood, and due to its hardness, it resists scratches. Laminate requires very little maintenance, is cheaper than wood and it installs quickly, if you know what you are doing. If you have tried to install interlocking laminate flooring and failed, a few tricks will help.1. Rip up the old flooring material and remove it. Sweep the floor and clear it of any and all obstacles. If it is a concrete floor, patch all holes deeper than two inches with a concrete floor patch compound. If installing on a wood sub floor, rip up and remove any rotted or broken flooring boards, or lay down new wood flooring over the entire surface of the floor if the floor is weak or unstable.
2. Lay the a laminate flooring vapor barrier over the entire floor. Tape the seams of individual pieces of barrier with waterproof tape to form a single, water proof barrier across the entire floor space.
3. Install the first row along the longest wall. Set the first plank board on the floor with the tongue facing towards the next row, or away from the wall. Lay down the next board in the row by tilting it at an angle and pressing it into the side groove of the board.
5. Measure and cut the final board in the row with a miter saw, and snap it into the row. Leave 1/4 inch of space between the wall and flooring, your molding will cover up the gap.
4. Install the next row. First, cut the first board for the row in half to stagger the planks, or use the leftover from the cut for the previous row. Kneel on the board in the first row, tilt the next row’s board at a 45 degree angle to the floor and push it into the groove in the board in the first row. Push them together hard and press down, then slap the board into place. This push and slap motion will interlock the tongue and groove. There’s no need to use glue or adhesive with interlocking laminate flooring.
5. Continue to interlock the flooring panels in this way to cover the entire floor.
6. Mount the threshold strips to the floor with masonry screws or wood screws (in wood floors).
7. Slide the threshold into the slots. Or, glue the thresholds to the floor, if your manufacturer has glue down thresholds. The edge of the flooring should be about 1/8 of an inch from the edge of the threshold base (not the top flange).