Where Do You Start When Laying Laminate Flooring?

When laying laminate flooring, it is best to start in the corner of the room that is most visible when entering. This is typically the corner that is closest to the door. Starting in this corner allows for the most visually pleasing and natural-looking installation. Before starting, make sure that the subfloor is clean, level, and dry, and that you have all of the necessary tools and materials on hand.

It is possible to start laying laminate flooring in the middle of a room, but it may not be the most visually pleasing or efficient method. Starting in the middle of a room can create symmetry issues and may require cutting more planks to fit around the edges.

It is generally recommended to start laying laminate flooring in a corner of the room. This allows for the most natural-looking installation and allows for the most efficient use of planks. Additionally, it is best to start laying the planks parallel to the longest wall in the room, this will help to create the most visually pleasing look.

If you choose to start laying laminate flooring in the middle of the room, it is important to ensure that the subfloor is clean, level, and dry, and that you have all of the necessary tools and materials on hand, including an accurate measuring tape, saw and a tapping block, read this article on best things to use to clean laminate floors

What gap do you leave laying laminate?

When laying laminate flooring, it is important to leave a gap around the perimeter of the room to allow for expansion and contraction of the flooring due to changes in temperature and humidity. The standard gap size recommended by manufacturers is between 1/4″ to 3/8″ inch. This gap should be left around the perimeter of the room and should be covered with a matching baseboard or shoe molding to give a finished look.

It’s also important to note that some manufacturers may have different recommendations for the gap size, so be sure to consult the manufacturer’s instructions for specific recommendations. It’s also important to note that you should not use any adhesive or fasteners to secure the planks together or to the subfloor, this will allow the flooring to expand and contract properly.

Additionally, If you are installing the laminate over an existing floor, you will need to measure the height difference between the two floors and use spacers to ensure that the gap is consistent and correct throughout the installation, I wrote this article on do you need an expansion gap for laminate flooring.

Which side of laminate do you start with?

When laying laminate flooring, it is important to start with the tongue side facing towards the wall. The tongue is the side of the plank that has a protruding edge, while the groove is the side with a recessed edge. By starting with the tongue facing the wall, the plank will lock securely into the previous plank, ensuring that the flooring is stable and secure.

It’s also important to note that most laminate flooring planks are designed to be installed as a floating floor, meaning that the planks are not fastened to the subfloor, but rather they interlock with each other. This allows for the planks to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity.

Starting with the tongue side towards the wall will also make it easier to install the last plank of the row as you can slide it under the tongue of the first plank and you have a snug fit.

It’s also important to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific recommendations regarding the installation of their laminate flooring.

Common mistakes when laying laminate flooring

  1. Improper subfloor preparation: The subfloor must be clean, level and dry before installing laminate flooring. Any imperfections or unevenness in the subfloor can cause the laminate to buckle or lift over time.
  2. Not allowing for expansion: Laminate flooring expands and contracts due to changes in temperature and humidity. It’s important to leave a gap around the perimeter of the room, usually between 1/4″ to 3/8″ inch and also follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the gap size.
  3. Not using the proper tools: Laying laminate flooring requires specific tools such as a tapping block, pull bar, and a saw. Using the wrong tools can cause damage to the planks or make the installation process more difficult.
  4. Not checking for moisture: Moisture can cause the laminate to warp or buckle. It’s important to check for moisture in the subfloor and room before installing laminate flooring.
  5. Not following manufacturer’s instructions: Each manufacturer has specific instructions for installing their laminate flooring. Not following these instructions can void the warranty and cause issues with the installation.
  6. Not using the proper underlayment: Using the wrong type of underlayment or not using any at all can cause the laminate to sound hollow and feel less stable underfoot.
  7. Not cutting the planks correctly: Incorrectly cutting the planks can cause them to not fit properly or leave unsightly gaps. It’s important to measure and cut the planks accurately, using the appropriate tools, here is a detailed article on common mistakes when laying laminate flooring.
  8. Not allowing the planks to acclimatize: Laminate planks should be left in the room where they will be installed for at least 48 hours before installing. This will allow the planks to acclimatize to the room’s temperature and humidity.