Manufacturer’s guidelines are the best possible source of information on laminate flooring. Each product has its own list of specifications and installation techniques. Generally, the following is applicable:
- Acclimation – most laminate products have no specified acclimation period, as long as the room or home where the laminate is being installed has a climate controlled environment before, during and after the installation. Some manufacturers recommend acclimating the product for 48 hours prior to installation. Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions as to acclimation, optimal temperatures and relative humidity.
- Preparation – subfloors must be prepared and levelled. For glueless products that are recommended for installation directly over an existing floor covering, careful attention must be paid to ensure a dry, clean and level surface.
- Moisture Test – refer to the manufacturer’s recommended maximum allowable moisture content.
- Subfloor – for concrete subfloors, a polyethylene sheeting is often used as a vapour barrier. With a wood subfloor, depending on the product used, a barrier is often not necessary.
- Installation with and without glue – many manufacturers use a glueless floating system for laminate floors with a click system of joining the boards together. Some give you the option of using a joint sealant that is applied between the tongue and groove portions of the boards where they join up.
- Radiant Heating Systems - laminate flooring is thin and dense, and can offer great stability over radiant heat systems if it is deemed suitable by the manufacturer. Proper care and attention must be paid to the bonding of the layers in the lamination process. Surface temperatures of the subfloor must be maintained to the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure that the laminate does not become dried out and ruined. Failure to follow proper recommended guidelines could void your warranty.
- Transition mouldings – to help your laminate floor transition nicely with another flooring surface, different types of mouldings are used. For surfaces that are of equal thickness, a T-moulding is often used, particularly at doorways. Reducer mouldings are used when the two floors have a slight difference in thickness – laminate to wood, vinyl, and ceramic. When laminate meets most types of carpet, there is often a more extreme height difference, and an end moulding is used.
- Care and Maintenance after installation – refer to the manufacturer’s care guide for the best instructions on how to care and maintain your laminate floor. Remember that all moisture and spills must be removed immediately from your floor.