How to Guide: Hardwood Laminate

Hardwood laminate flooring, also known as engineered hardwood, is a popular and cost-effective choice for homeowners who want to achieve the look of traditional hardwood flooring without the high price tag. It is a durable and versatile flooring option that can mimic the appearance of various wood species. If you are considering installing hardwood laminate in your home, this informative guide will walk you through the process and provide you with the necessary information to make an informed decision.

Step 1: Planning and Preparation

Before you begin installing hardwood laminate flooring, it is essential to plan and prepare the area. Start by measuring the dimensions of the room and calculating the required square footage of flooring. Add an extra 10% to account for any mistakes or waste. Next, remove any existing flooring and ensure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level.

You will also need to acclimate the laminate flooring to the room’s temperature and humidity for at least 48 hours before installation. This step prevents the laminate from warping or expanding after installation. Stack the flooring planks in the room and leave them in their boxes, allowing air to circulate around them.

Step 2: Installation

Begin the installation process by laying down a moisture barrier or underlayment over the subfloor. This layer helps to reduce moisture-related issues and provides a smooth surface for the laminate flooring. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the underlayment, ensuring it covers the entire floor area.

Next, start laying the hardwood laminate planks along the longest wall of the room, leaving a 1/4-inch expansion gap between the planks and the wall. This gap allows the laminate flooring to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity. Use spacers to maintain the gap, and remember to remove them once the installation is complete.

Continue installing the planks row by row, interlocking the tongue-and-groove edges. To achieve a natural hardwood look, stagger the joints between planks to avoid creating visible patterns. Trim the planks as needed to fit around doorways, corners, or other obstacles using a saw or a laminate flooring cutter. Finally, install baseboards or shoe molding to cover the expansion gap around the edges of the room.

Step 3: Maintenance and Care

Once the hardwood laminate flooring is installed, it is important to properly maintain and care for it to ensure its longevity and appearance. Regularly vacuum or sweep the floor to remove dirt and debris that can cause scratches or damage. You can also use a damp mop with a mild wood floor cleaner to remove tougher stains.

Protect the laminate flooring from excessive moisture by promptly wiping up any spills. Avoid using excessive water, abrasive cleaners, or wax-based products on the laminate surface as they can cause damage. Additionally, consider using furniture pads to prevent scratching from heavy furniture or chairs.

In high-traffic areas or places prone to scratches, consider using rugs or mats to protect the laminate flooring. Trim pet nails regularly and avoid wearing high heels or shoes with sharp objects that could cause dents or scratches on the surface.