Snap-together laminate flooring is a great alternative to regular hardwood flooring. Often times, laminate flooring looks just as good as hardwood flooring and sometimes better. It is a less expensive option and easier to lay.
Snap-together laminate flooring is essentially a thin layer of décor paper that looks like wood grain glued and pressed on to high-density backing board, the whole protected with a tough film. This film is stain- and scratch-resistant, making laminate flooring low maintenance. Putting down snap-together laminate flooring requires no messy glue and is quite literally… a snap.
Preparation of the Flooring and Room
First, remove your snap-together laminate flooring from the box and allow the pieces to acclimatize to the moisture of your home for about two days. Meanwhile, prepare the room by removing all existing moulding, then sweep and clean the floor.
If there’s a door the flooring will pass under, be sure to check that there will be enough clearance by slipping one of the floor panels under the door as a test. You may need to adjust the clearance of the door if the flooring doesn’t fit. It’s better to know this now instead of after you start laying the floor.
If everything is going fine to this point, lay down some moisture-proof foam and tape any cut pieces together with moisture-resistant tape to fill any gaps. Now, you’re ready to start laying your floor.
Laying the Snap-Together Laminate Flooring
Before you lay your first piece, formulate a pattern to follow to create that staggered wood floor look. One suggestion would be to take panels from different packages, as they tend to be of a slightly different tinted stain from each other. Also, it is best to lay the flooring so that the grain is lengthwise along the longest part of the room.
This will make the room appear longer and bigger. You can start laying snap-together laminate flooring anywhere, but for an aesthetically pleasing floor, use your first pieces in high-traffic areas like in front of your entrance. This will ensure that your longest pieces of snap-together laminate flooring are the most visible.
Read the Manual
Laying instructions for snap-together laminate flooring vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Be sure to read the instructions for the best way to connect them together. The basics are pretty much all the same. They all connect together like a jigsaw puzzle and are sealed together using a tapping block and a hammer.
Continue snapping together the panels until you finish the room. As you go along, remember to place spacers along the sides and the front of the wall. These 5/16th wide spacers normally come with the laminate flooring and serve as a means for the floor to expand and contract without breaking as you lay the floor.
End-boards are the hardest ones to get into place. Sometimes they need to be shortened to fit properly. Use a tapping bar as opposed to the tapping block to lock these pieces to the rest of the floor. Remove the spacers from around the room and nail the moulding back into the wall.
There are cases when the new snap-together laminate flooring doesn’t match well to the floor in connecting rooms. If this is the case, the manufacturer provides a connecting strip that must be glued down between the rooms to bridge the gap.
Unless there are any unforeseen problems, this whole process should take less than a day.