How do I lay laminate floors

Laying laminate: You should avoid these 7 beginner mistakes

Laminate is one of the most popular floor coverings. The inexpensive alternative to the more expensive real wood flooring has special click and lock systems that make laying a real breeze. Do you believe.

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When the first laminate panels are pushed up or nasty edges appear after a few weeks at the latest, it becomes clear: Something may have gone wrong after all. We present seven beginner mistakes and give you tips on how to avoid them when laying laminate in the future.

Error 1: Lay the laminate immediately

Sometimes laying laminate cannot be done quickly enough. After all, the old carpet should disappear as quickly as possible. But anyone who installs the new laminate floor immediately after purchase is making a serious mistake that often only becomes apparent later.

If the laminate floor has not had enough time to acclimatize, individual panels can later push themselves up or the floor corrugates. You will then like to get stuck with your socks on the resulting edges.

Our tip: Manufacturers recommend placing the laminate and its packaging in a horizontal position in the middle of the room for 48 hours before installing it. So it can optimally adapt to the room temperature. This should be between 18 and 30 degrees Celsius. The humidity should not exceed 70 percent. With a hygrometer * (from 10 euros) you can measure how high it is.

Error 2: Ignoring the depth of the room at the beginning

The last row of laminate has become much too narrow. Instead of starting all over again, the only thing that often helps now is to put furniture on it and make the error disappear underneath. The sofa should actually be on the other side of the room.

Our tip: Tearing it all out again now would really be a chore. Next time, we therefore recommend that you measure the depth of the room beforehand and determine how many rows you will have to lay in total.

If the last strip of laminate becomes too narrow according to your calculations, you can also adjust the first row by shortening it in the same way. The first and last rows are identical and the result is a harmonious overall picture.

Mistake 3: Laying laminate without impact sound insulation

Often this mistake is not yours, but rather your neighbor from above: If you can follow every step he takes through the apartment, he is probably walking across an old wooden floor or has actually forgotten the sound insulation when laying the laminate. Nobody then wants to become an unloved philistine neighbor and bump the broom against the ceiling or have to ring the bell.

You can isolate the sound with a suspended ceiling. But if you yourself are the trampling neighbor who has already rang the bell, you should definitely read on.

That is why you should lay an impact sound insulation under the laminate

In contrast to carpets and PVC floors, laminate has a harder surface that transmits footfall sound when it occurs and transfers it to the substrate and the rooms below. This is not to be confused with the walking noise that you perceive in the room itself.

Impact sound insulation prevents the sound from being transmitted and can even compensate for small unevenness on the floor surface. We assure you that your neighbors and fellow human beings will thank you forever.

We have already presented you with suitable materials, costs and tips for laying impact sound insulation. Laminate manufacturers such as Logoclic even offer laminate floors in which footfall and walking noise insulation is already integrated.

If you should get the idea to use your old cork floor with underfloor heating as impact sound insulation, you should read the following article beforehand:

Error 4: Forgot the vapor barrier film under the laminate

Although you live on the first floor and are not exposed to direct moisture from the ground, your freshly laid laminate suddenly begins to curl. At the time, you found vapor barrier film to be superfluous when you laid your floor.

Our tip: Mineral floors made of screed, concrete or asphalt are made with water and can give off moisture. And it doesn't matter which floor you live on. The vapor barrier film prevents the moisture penetrating from below from causing the floor to swell or warping. So always check beforehand on what ground you are going to lay the laminate. Laminate manufacturer My Floor explains how you can best lay out the vapor barrier film.

Mistake 5: Laying the laminate without an expansion joint

If the laminate floor pushes itself up in some places, there is another possible cause in addition to a lack of acclimatization of the laminate and too much moisture: You forgot the expansion joint when laying.

Our tip: The expansion joint is important because laminate floors often consist of more than 90 percent wood or wood-based materials. And wood is alive: Depending on the temperature, it can shrink and swell, natural wood up to ten percent and laminate, according to the manufacturer, a maximum of 0.1 percent (depending on the direction).

Doesn't sound like too much at first. But better safe than sorry. Experts therefore recommend keeping an expansion distance of 10 to 15 millimeters to the wall. You can use spacer wedges * for this. They ensure that the newly laid laminate always has a bit of air to move.

If you've already laid the floor without an expansion joint, here's how you can fix the problem:

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Mistake 6: Don't worry about laying patterns and directions

The laminate floor is neatly laid, so far no boards have pushed their way up. But something still disturbs the overall picture. Then you should take another look at the laying pattern and direction.

Our tips for the laying direction of laminate

There are three different ways to align your laminate:

  1. Longitudinal direction: The laminate panels are aligned parallel to the long side of the room.
  2. Transverse direction: The laminate panels are aligned parallel to the short side of the room.
  3. Diagonal: The laminate is laid at an angle, i.e. not at a right angle to the wall.

Whether it is correctly or incorrectly laid - there is no clear answer to that. Depending on the room, you have to decide individually how the laminate panels should run. However, there are a few rules of thumb that you can use as a guide so that a harmonious picture emerges in the end:

  1. Aligns the panels parallel to the window or the primary light source. This makes the room look larger and longer. In addition, when the sun is low, the joints do not cast any shadow.
  2. You can visually stretch a room if you lay the laminate parallel to the long wall.
  3. You can also compress a hose-like room by laying the laminate parallel to the short wall.

Our tips on laying patterns for laminate

For a harmonious picture, an offset of between 30 and 50 centimeters is usually recommended, depending on the length of your panels. Otherwise a step-shaped pattern is created that can appear restless.

On the Baublog-Werder site you will find an installation planner with which you can calculate the offset and length of all individual panels and even display them.

Mistake 7: Buying too little laminate

And in the end you have to go to the hardware store again because you haven't bought enough laminate. This is not only annoying, it also takes time.

You have probably already calculated the area beforehand to find out how much laminate you need. But the calculation does not work out equally for every room.

Our tip: Most laminate manufacturers recommend adding five to ten percent waste to the floor space of your room. It gets more complicated in angled rooms. If you have a lot of heating pipes, corners and niches in the room, you should therefore add up to 15 percent in order to be able to lay enough laminate at the end.

Especially if you are new to laminate, it is worthwhile to have a few extra panels on hand in case something goes wrong while sawing.

You haven't made up your mind yet which soil you want it to be in the end? Then we have put together an overview of all floor coverings for you here:

* Product information is purely editorial and independent. Through the affiliate links we have placed, we receive a small portion of the commission when the purchase is made.