Installing and looking after laminate flooring advice, Home floor installation guide, House style quick tips

Top tips for installing and looking after laminate flooring

30 May 2024

Laminate flooring is both practical and durable and it can give you the look of a wood floor but with a much smaller price tag. So, it’s no wonder that it’s such a popular choice for the home. However, not all laminate flooring is the same and the way you install it and maintain it can make a big difference to how it looks and how long it lasts. With this in mind, it’s worth knowing a few tricks to get the most out of a laminate floor.

Installing and looking after laminate flooring

Choosing the right product

When you’re installing laminate flooring, you really want to go for the best you can afford. Afterall, the better the flooring, the more durable it should be. But how do you find good quality laminate flooring?

Well, there are a couple of things to looks out for. The first is to go for a product with a high-density core. So, you want a product that’s made from HDF rather than MDF. Another good indicator of quality is a high AC rating. AC ratings are based on wear factors like impact and abrasion as well as their resistance to staining, heat and scratches. An AC1 rating would really only be suitable for low-traffic areas of the home, while an AC3 rating would mean it’s much more suitable for high-traffic areas such as hallways. You should also look for laminate with high-resolution printing, so your wood-effect floor looks convincing. Typically, the best way to gauge this is by looking at and comparing samples.

Perfecting the finish

Once you have your flooring, there is one crucial step to do before laying it and that’s to leave it in the room it’s being fitted in. Allowing the flooring to acclimatise for at least 48 hours before fitting should prevent the boards from shrinking and expanding too much after fitting. Not doing so could mean that even with an expansion gap around the edges of the room, your boards may separate or lift when temperatures change.

Aside from acclimatising your flooring, there are a few good ways to achieve a good finish with laminate. The first is not to underestimate the importance of your underlay. Underlay plays a big role in how your floor feels, boosting cushioning for extra warmth and comfort. It can also improve durability by helping to keep the laminate level and free from moisture. Thermally insulating underlay is a good choice for many floors but if you have underfloor heating, you need one that won’t hinder heat transfer. Those with an acoustic layer will help to deaden the sound of feet, making them good for bedrooms, landings and high-traffic areas of the home.

Edging your laminate floor will cover up the expansion gap, creating a neat finish. So, make sure you don’t skip this step. This type of edging is known as Scotia beading but is also referred to as floor trim. It’s a good idea to get beading samples, so you can accurately match it to your flooring and create a cohesive finish. There are different shapes, including bevelled and quadrant, that you can opt for. There’s no hard and fast rule to which one you choose, so go with whichever you like the look of most.

Protecting your laminate floor

After your laminate floor has been fitted, maintenance is going to play the biggest role in keeping it durable. Although it should be fairly resistant to daily wear and tear, there are a few things you can do to maximise its lifespan.

Ideally, you want to minimise dents and scratches, so it’s a good idea to start your floor maintenance at the front door. A doormat should stop gritty dirt from being dragged in and taking shoes off should prevent marks from heels. In other areas of the home, it’s wise to add felt pads to the feet of furniture, so they won’t drag across the floor and leave scratches. You might also want to throw down a few rugs too, to protect those high-traffic areas.

laminate flooring installation help guide
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Keeping it clean

Regular cleaning is the other way to maintain your laminate floor for a long lifespan. And the first thing to do is to keep the manufacturers care instructions somewhere handy. These will usually come with recommended cleaning products along with some important dos and don’ts.

Understanding these instructions will help prevent damage from using harsh chemicals and abrasive materials but in general, it’s always best to avoid using products such as bleach, strong detergents and scouring pads as they may ruin the laminate’s protective layer. You should also avoid soaking your floor. So, use a soft mop and minimal water when cleaning. And when spills happen, clean them up straight away.

You may find a solution of distilled vinegar and water is a good way to keep your laminate floors clean without leaving nasty residues or streaks. After cleaning it’s also crucial to dry the floor, so either go over the floor with a dry mop or open the windows and allow it to dry naturally. But before you begin any mopping, sweep the floor with a soft brush to remove loose dirt and prevent scratches.

Comments on this guide to Installing and looking after laminate flooring article are welcome.


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