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Installing click Laminate Flooring

Updated on May 13, 2013

I recommend that laminate flooring is easier to clean and much more manageable in a rental.

4 stars for Laminate Flooring
Front Room
Front Room
Dining Room toward kitchen This is the same floor as above, I just used the flash on the camera so appears lighter.
Dining Room toward kitchen This is the same floor as above, I just used the flash on the camera so appears lighter.

Recently I installed the flooring to the right in a rental unit I own. I have been renting for some time now and do most all of my own work.

It is very important for me to tell you this: Never buy low grade/cheap/thin laminate flooring. First you will spent 2 to 3 times as much time installing it as it does not go together as easy. Second, it will not last as long as you might wish for it to. The top will not be as durable and will scratch or peel off far quicker than a good quality 12mm or thicker product. Finally, install it properly on a level surface with the appropriate backing or underlay.

Each unit is different and requires different types of flooring. Some require carpeting through most of the rooms while others like this one requires it to have little or no carpeting at all. Tenants in the building tend to have dogs or cats. There is also a growing need for people who have allergies and need to have a place without carpeting so that there is less dust collected and easier to clean.

Installing this floor required very simple tools and my time.

Tools:

  • Jigsaw - to cut corners
  • Chopsaw - to cut lengths quickly (a circular saw would also work)
  • Paint stir sticks - I brought 4 with me and broke them into 3 pieces each
  • Smaller flat bar
  • rubber mallet
  • pencil
  • clamps
  • cutting table
  • Measuring Tape (s) (I always have two and leave one on saw, the other on floor)

Installation

Installing your laminate floor is not difficult but it does take time and patience.

First I like to decide what direction the flooring should be installed to look the best. It may not be the easiest way to install the floor but I always want it to look the best when it is finished.

Second, once i have decided on the direction of flow, I decide where I need to start first. Usually the best place to start is on the wall that is the most square and requires the least amount of cutting/trimming. It should also be level.

Third, I make sure that if there is a doorway on the starting wall, or on the head wall that i adjust measurements so there are as few small pieces in the doorways. The last thing you want is for a small one or two inch piece in a traffic area. This may come loose or unclipped from the main section and cause issues later on.

Fourth, I set down the first row against the wall inserting pieces of paint sticks as spacers against the wall. I always use trim and quarter round to cover the edges. This works well for me. Once you lay down the first row, and you cut your first piece, decide if you want to just move that cut piece to the start of the next row or cut every other piece into halves so that you will keep the ends of the flooring lined up or staggered. If you can scan in on the images, you should see that I attempted to keep the flooring equal across the floor. Every other board ends at the same location across the width of the room.

Inserting the second row into the first and snapping together will hold the lengths together. Be sure to measure the correct ends to be cut off and leave just a little room (1/4 inch) from the walls. As you move along, you will have a piece or two that cannot be used and you may use this as a link piece to 'tap' the next ones together. Using the rubber mallet and this extra piece, click the piece into the next new row at intervals and tap to lock them together.

Move along the floor slowly and carefully so fewer mistakes are made in cutting. Take your time and do it right the first time. Measure twice, and cut once.


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I do like to keep / bring larger pieces of cardboard with me if there are walls that are not square. This way you can easily cut the cardboard to the rounded surfaces then trace it on the flooring to be cut.

Cutting with the jigsaw will require a table and clamps if you do not have anyone else to hold the pieces.

In the end when all the flooring is laid down you will have one or more locations to add capping/edging too. Take your time to install this carefully. There are many different types of edging from vinyl to laminate, laminate to carpet, laminate to laminate. Be sure to measure it and get the correct thickness. You can always just buy the metal strips and screw them down but it does not look as nice.

Final thoughts

I have used all forms of flooring in my rentals. Laminate seems to be a very usable and durable product. I generally purchase one extra box so that I can repair and damages between rentals. There are laminates that can be use in the kitchens and bathrooms that are more of a rubber compound allowing less water damage. These floors are easily cleaned and withstand many years of wear. Even the more economical flooring are of great value in a rental. Vinyl in the kitchen is another great value in a rental.

Please let me know of your experiences with laminate flooring

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