Ease of installation is one of the features that has made laminate flooring the fastest growing product in the flooring industry. Laminate floors are referred to as "floating" floors. This means that they do not adhere directly to the wood or concrete subflooring. With limitations, this ability to "float" allows the laminate to be installed over some existing flooring products. Your sales associate can help you determine the proper requirements based on the material selected.
It is important to determine what furniture and/or appliances can and will be moved by the installer. Typically, there are select items, such as antiques, pianos, and aquariums, for which moving services may not be available. Most flooring installers are not licensed to disconnect or reconnect water or gas. It is recommended that a licensed professional be retained to take care of plumbing, electrical and electronic needs. If you are doing the furniture and appliance removal and replacement yourself, be sure to have the work areas cleared before the installer arrives. Often, there are manufacturer restrictions on the amount of time required after installation before walking on or replacing furniture onto the new flooring. Please consult your sales associate for more specific information.
Typically, there are two installation methods for laminate flooring: tongue-and-groove systems that require glue and glueless "snap-lock" systems. More and more, manufacturers are moving toward the easier, faster snap-lock systems. Consult your sales associate for details on the method used by your selected product manufacturer.
The most critical aspect to consider when installing laminate flooring is the degree to which your existing floor is level. There is little variation allowed for the substrate to be deemed acceptable. Periodically, you may discover concealed damaged once your old floor covering has been removed. It is at this time that a qualified installer will be able to determine any repairs necessary to bring the floor into compliance with manufacturer specifications and allow it to properly accept the new flooring.
It is important to note that the possibility or presence of moisture is another consideration when installing laminate. Although most products are manufactured to resist moisture, there are specific guidelines to follow depending on the type of subfloor and location as it relates to grade.
Typically, expansion gaps must be left around the perimeter of the floor and at certain points throughout the job. These gaps are usually covered by coordinating moldings or transitions. These accessories help ensure proper installation and a finished look to your new floor. Be sure to ask your sales associate about the availability of coordinating pieces for your product selection.
Whether you choose professional installation or do it yourself, a laminate floor, when properly installed and maintained, will bring you years of enjoyment.