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HERE'S HOW- Install Laminate Flooring PDF Print E-mail
Written by PAT LOGAN, Creators Syndicate   
Thursday, 06 January 2011 03:37

Dear Pat: Between one husband, two dogs and three kids, my hallway/living room carpet is ready to be ripped out. I would like to install an easy to clean floor. I heard plastic laminate flooring is easy to install, but does it look cheap? — Mandy B.

Dear Mandy: Plastic laminate flooring is made to look just like a hardwood floor, and it is great around kids as well as animals. It comes in a wide variety of designs and color options.

Below the glossy, clear top coating is a paper sheet with the hardwood or other patterns printed on it. You can even choose from an exotic wood or common wood look.

Essentially, laminate flooring is a plastic laminate surface that has been adhered to a high-density fiber or particleboard and a paper or laminate backing material. The surface is applied to the core using heat and pressure. Put together, these layers create a very durable and easy-to-install flooring option. The flooring is stain and cigarette burn resistant, and you can even wipe away streaks left from markers and wet feet.

Getting a new look for your entryway and living room can be very simple. Make sure you come prepared with a little patience and a knack for following instructions. As long as you have those, your new floor can be completed in about eight hours, depending on the room size.

A laminate floor is a floating floor, one that is not attached to the sub-flooring, but “floats” above it. The flooring is installed over a plastic moisture barrier and a layer of foam to reduce noise and offer a stable foundation. The layer of foam also contributes to the comfort you will feel when walking around in bare feet.

The way this floor is installed allows it to move during expansion and contraction that comes with changes in temperature and humidity. The one-quarterinch gap, hidden under the baseboard trim on the edges, allows it to grow and shrink.

The pieces of laminate floor are linked to each other by gluing their tongue and groove edges together. Once attached, the pieces make one large piece of laminate flooring.

With the proper tools and instructions, laminate flooring can be installed by anyone with reasonable do-it-yourself skills. If you are a little apprehensive about tackling this project, first try to install the floor in a small area, such as a closet, and get as much information as possible before you begin on the larger room(s).

To prepare your flooring for its new look, be sure you have a suitable sub-floor and the plastic laminate has acclimated to the temperature for 48 hours before the installation.

Pre-planning your layout can make the job much faster. One good tip to cut down on dust is to make cuts in a separate room.

Begin by removing the baseboard trim strips with a pry bar. Next — and this is the part you have been waiting for — rip up your carpeting and pad. Now just follow the detailed installation instructions included with most flooring. Once the floor is in place, the edges of the room will need to be finished with a wall base or quarter round. Now, let the kids run wild with muddy feet!

Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit