Laminate Flooring

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DIY Installation

Are your floors looking a little worn-out? Or perhaps you’ve just built a new home and are wondering what type of floor finish to install. One of the simplest, cheapest and easiest types of flooring is laminate, and you can quite easily do-it-yourself (DIY).

Laminate flooring comes in a wide variety of colours and finishes.  Take a look around your favourite building supplier and you’ll get a good idea of what’s on offer and what suits your budget.

As with most DIY jobs, the result depends on the pre-installation work. Get that right and the finished job will be something you’ll be proud to have accomplished.

So let’s start with the basics.  Make sure you buy enough laminate flooring to cover your proposed area, allowing an extra 10% for wastage. Bring your packs of laminate flooring indoors at least 24 hours before you intend to start the job.

While you’re waiting for the laminate to acclimatise to your indoor conditions, you can begin the preparatory work. Carefully remove the skirting boards around the base of the walls and vacuum clean the floor surface thoroughly. If you’re laying the floor on a newly poured concrete slab, make sure the concrete has thoroughly cured and dried out.


You’ll need to lay a plastic vapour barrier before starting the laminate floor installation. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for this. Some require that the edges of the barrier be butted, others that the edges overlap.

If you have any door jambs in the entrance to your room, you’ll need to trim the base of these according to the thickness of your flooring. The easiest way is to lay an off-cut of flooring against the jamb and saw off the base of the jamb with a flat saw or coping saw.

The first row of flooring should be placed against the longest wall, with the groove side facing the wall. Remember to use ½-inch spacers between the flooring and the wall. This gap will allow the flooring to expand and contract without buckling. You should also use similar spacers at the ends of each row.

Continue with the next rows of flooring, remembering to stagger the joints along the planks to avoid a too-uniform look, which can also weaken the floor.  Tap each plank into place using an off-cut to avoid damaging the edge of the plank. The final plank will need to be trimmed to fit. Don’t forget to use spacers between this plank and the wall as well.

Finally, re-install your skirting boards and add any edging trim where the flooring ends, for example in a doorway.

Now, put the kettle on, sit back with a nice cup of tea and admire your handiwork. Job Done!


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