How to Install Laminate Flooring to Make a Room Look Wider
Laminate flooring is a popular choice for DIYers looking for new flooring options. One of the key advantages of laminate flooring is that it comes in a variety of colors and shapes. This can be used advantageously, such as when you want to install laminate flooring to make a room look wider.
Measure the room to determine the square footage. You need to purchase this amount of laminate flooring, plus 10 percent for overage. So, for example, if you are flooring a 10 x 10 foot room, you need to purchase 110 square feet (10 x 10 = 100 plus 10 percent of 100 = 110).
Pick the right laminate flooring. Light colors make rooms look larger and wider, so stick to the brighter wood colors such as pine or maple. When you purchase your flooring, pick quarter round moulding (attached in the last step) which is the same light tone as the floor. Moulding that matches the floor color is another trick that will make a room look wider. One last thing to consider is that thinner laminate planks will make the room look wider than thick planks.
Plan your installation to take advantage of the light. Aligning the planks so that they are parallel with the major source of outdoor light in the room will help to give the room a wide and spacious feeling.
Purchase foam padding and a moisture barrier, if needed. The foam padding will provide a cushion for the laminate. The moisture barrier is a thin layer of plastic that will keep moisture from seeping into the laminate. This is only needed on locations with concrete subfloors.
Clean the subfloor with the broom and vacuum. On wooden subfloors, any humps need to be sanded down. Remove any nails or screws. Concrete floors need to have valleys leveled out. You can purchase a liquid self leveler for this purpose.
Set the laminate flooring, still in the containers, in the room at least 48 hours before installation. This will allow the laminate to acclimate to room temperate and help prevent warping.
Lay out the moisture barrier to cover the floor, if needed. Overlap pieces by at least 8 inches where they come together. Secure with tape. Lay the foam on top of the padding. Do not overlap these and do not tape them together.
Lay the first plank in the corner of the room. Use the plank spacers to keep it at least 1/4 inch away from the wall.
Use the table saw to cut your second plank in half. Cutting the planks allows you to stagger them for a more realistic looking floor. Turn this so that the cut end is facing the wall. Insert the plank spacer. Hold this lengthwise against the first plank at a 45 degree angle. Insert the tongue in the plank into the groove on the second. Slowly lower the plank to the ground until you hear it snap into place. Tap this into place with the rubber mallet to ensure a good fit.
Take your third plank and set it against the wall so that the short end of this plank butts up against the short end of the first plank. Tap this plank into place with the mallet. Be sure to put the spacers between this plank and the wall.
Repeat this process, alternating the first and second rows until you reach the opposite wall. You will have to measure and cut the last pieces that fit next to the wall. Because of the tight fit, use the pry bar to wedge them into place.
Continue laying down the rows of planks, two at a time, until the room is finished.
Remove the spacers along one side of the room. Measure and cut the moulding to fit along the wall. Nail this into place over the gap between the flooring and the wall. This moulding serves to cover the gap and will also hold the floor in place. Repeat this process for the other walls.
Things You Will Need
- Measuring tape
- Laminate flooring
- Quarter round moulding
- Moisture barrier
- Foam padding
- Laminate spacers
- Table saw
- Safety equipment
- Rubber mallet
- Pry bar
- Some laminate flooring comes with built-in padding and/or moisture barrier. In that case, you do not have to install any yourself.
- Set furniture or other heavy objects over the planks you have completed to keep them in place as you work.
- Always use the proper safety equipment when using power tools.