A DIY guide to installing laminate flooring in your Aussie home

Laminate flooring is synthetic flooring that simulates the look of natural wood. It comprises multiple layers of compressed wood, with a wear-resistant top layer. Australian homeowners favour laminate flooring because it’s easy to install and maintain and more affordable than solid hardwood floors.

It has several benefits, including ease of installation, durability, and low maintenance. You can install laminate flooring over any subfloor, including concrete, wood, and vinyl. Installing laminate flooring is a relatively easy DIY project.

8-step instruction guide

1. Choose your laminate flooring

When selecting laminate flooring, it’s essential to consider the thickness of the boards, the wear layer, and the design. The thickness of the boards ranges from 7 to 12mm. The thicker the boards, the more durable they’ll be. The wear layer is a transparent protective coating that protects the board from scratches, stains, and fading. The design of the laminate flooring should complement the style of your home.

2. Prepare the subfloor

The first step in preparing the subfloor is to clean it thoroughly. Remove any dirt, dust, or debris. Next, level the subfloor by filling in any gaps or uneven areas. Once the subfloor is level and clean, you can install the laminate flooring.

3. Install the underlayment

The underlay is a thin material sheet placed between the subfloor and the laminate flooring. It provides cushioning and absorbs sound. When installing the underlayment, overlap each piece by at least 4 inches (10 cm).

4. Lay the first row of boards

The boards’ first row should be perpendicular to the sun’s direction, which will help prevent the boards from expanding or contracting due to temperature changes. Once the first row is in place, use a saw to cut the boards to fit along the walls.

5. Continue installing the boards

Start with a full-length board to continue installing, and work your way down to shorter pieces. Ensure you leave a ¼-inch (0.6 cm) gap between the wall and the flooring. This expansion gap allows the boards to expand and contract without damage.

6. Install transitions

Transitions are necessary where the laminate flooring meets other types of flooring, such as carpet or vinyl. Transitions create a smooth, seamless look and help protect the edges of the laminate flooring from damage.

7. Remove excess glue

If you’re using tongue-and-groove boards, they’ll be glued together. After placing and gluing the boards, ensure that you wipe away any excess glue.

8. Install the moulding

Moulding covers the expansion gap and gives the laminate flooring a finished look. Several types of moulding are available, including T-molding, reducer strips, and baseboard moulding. Once you’ve selected the moulding, install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Various types of laminate flooring

In Australia, there are various types of laminate flooring available. You must select the most suitable type for your needs.

Water-resistant laminate flooring

Water-resistant laminate flooring is ideal for rooms prone to moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms. It has a waterproof core and a water-resistant wear layer, which protects the floor from spills and leaks.

High-pressure laminate flooring

High-pressure laminate flooring is one of the most durable types of laminate flooring. It has a high wear layer that protects the boards from scratches, stains, and fading.

Low-emitting laminate flooring

Low-emitting laminate flooring contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which makes it safe for indoor use. VOCs are harmful chemicals that can cause health problems.

Hybrid flooring

Hybrid flooring is a type of laminate flooring containing wood and plastic. It’s high-quality and easy to clean, making it a popular choice for busy households. It is a combination of laminate and vinyl flooring. Hybrid flooring is available in various styles and designs to help you find the perfect match for your home.

Engineered wood laminate flooring

Engineered wood laminate flooring contains natural wood, making it more expensive than other types of laminate flooring. It’s also more durable and looks more like solid hardwood. However, it is also far more costly than other types of laminate.

How to care for your laminate flooring

Sweep or vacuum the floor regularly

To avert dirt and grit from scratching the surface of the laminate, sweep or vacuum the floor regularly. Use a soft-bristled brush attachment to avoid damaging the floor.

Mop up spills immediately

Mop up any spills immediately to prevent water damage. Use a moist mop or cloth and a mild cleaning solution. Avoid using too much water, which can cause the laminate boards to swell.

Place mats at entrances

Place mats at entrances to your home to remove dirt and debris before it has a chance to scratch the floor.

Protect your floors from furniture

Furniture can scratch or dent laminate floors. To avoid damage, place furniture pads under the legs of heavy furniture.

Avoid using cleaning products with harsh chemicals

Cleaning products with harsh chemicals can damage the surface of laminate floors. To avoid this, use mild cleaning solutions and avoid using abrasive scrubbers.

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