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If you are trying to save money, installing new flooring in your own home can seem like a good place to start.

Buying just the materials and tools you need instead of paying for installation can definitely save you money – provided you have the know-how to do the job properly.

So, how do you lay laminate flooring?

Why choose laminate flooring?

Laminate wood flooring remains a popular choice for use in domestic environments, thanks to its durability once installed and the wide range of colours and styles now on the market.

That’s before we even mention the price which, compared to solid wood flooring, can be thousands less per room!

Laminate flooring is made up of a particleboard wood base topped with a high-definition image of wood and sealed with a transparent layer of resin – which protects the image beneath and stops floors from absorbing water and warping.

Suitable for even the hallway, by the front door, and the kitchen, this construction lends itself to almost any room in the house – and if laid correctly, can last between 15-25 years – or more!

Laminate flooring: a step-by-step guide

Following our step-by-step guide will ensure that your laminate flooring is laid successfully and looks beautiful once completed.

As click-lock or drop-lock laminate is the most popular type on the market, this is the type of laminate flooring we will be referring to throughout.

Acclimatise your flooring

All laminate flooring should be left to acclimatise in the room it is going to be laid in – so leave unopened packs flat for at least 48 hours.

It is preferable to wedge something underneath so air can circulate around each pack but remember not to lean them against the walls or furniture, as this can cause bending.

Start with underlay

Underlay is essential for reducing noise, helping to keep rooms warm, adding comfort underfoot, and extending the lifespan of your laminate.

With a wooden sub-floor: consider a fibreboard underlay.

With a concrete sub-floor: choose any underlay that also has an integrated damp-proof membrane.

Be sure to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing your underlay, as ill-fitting underlay can ruin finished flooring.

Choose the direction of the flooring

The direction you choose to lay your floorboards in is up to you, but there are some general tips worth remembering:

Laying towards a light source makes the joins less visible.

Laying horizontally or vertically will influence perspective and make the floor seem wider or longer – you can use this to your advantage if you want to make your room feel bigger!

You can lay out your laminate to see the effect before you start, which should stop you from changing your mind halfway through!

Lay the first plank

Starting in the left corner of the room, lay the first plank with the tongue facing the wall.

Once placed, move it slightly from the wall (about 10-15mm) and use a flooring spacer to hold the gap.

This gap is essential, allowing for the planks to expand and contract with temperatures and humidity without bucking or warping.

Add planks until the floor is covered

As most people use click-lock laminate, your second plank should simply click into place alongside the first.

From this point, you can continue to cover the whole floor with full planks, remembering to maintain the 10-15mm gap around the perimeter of the room.

Cut the remaining planks to size

Unless you are incredibly lucky, chances are you will have to cut the remaining planks to size to help them fit alongside the existing laid laminate flooring.

To do this, turn the board you need to cut 180° and lay it next to the previous board – with a flooring spacer at the side.

Use a pencil and line square to draw a line across the board, level with the end of the previous one. Then, double-check the fit, cut to size and insert to complete the first row.

Then continue, moving down the room.

Cut the last plank

Depending on how you have chosen to lay the flooring, you may have to cut the final planks to fit the last gap.

In this case, measure the gap between the last full row and a flooring spacer. Check your measurement again, then cut the board to size and lay as normal – remembering to allow for expansion gaps.

Fit the laminate skirting and trim

If your original skirting boards are wide enough to cover the 10-15mm expansion gap, simply replace the skirting boards.

If not, remove the spacers and measure the lengths you will need – double-checking to be sure.

Then cut the laminate skirting and trim, using 45° cuts to join the corners neatly.

Fix the trim to the wall or the skirting boards using grab adhesive and/or panel pins.

Consider professional flooring installation for your laminate flooring

If all of this sounds like far too much hard work, WJD Flooring Ltd can help.

Our professional and very competitively priced flooring fitting service is ideal for buildings of any size, shape, or purpose, and can deliver the perfect finish in line with your expected timeframes.

For more information, or to enquire about fitting, call us at 01744 885514 or email us at and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Apr 17, 2024 By Samantha Thompson