Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

Laying laminate flooring is a popular DIY home improvement project, but being aware of common laminate flooring mistakes is crucial. Even small mistakes during installation can greatly affect how the floor looks and lasts. One common oversight is not letting the laminate adjust to the room’s climate before installation, which can lead to warping or buckling later on. Problems can also arise from not properly preparing the subfloor or not leaving enough space around the edges for the floor to expand. These might seem like small issues, but they can lead to bigger, expensive problems if not handled carefully.

What other simple steps might be causing issues for even the most careful homeowners?

Key Takeaways

  • Not checking for dampness, which can make the laminate bend and swell.
  • Not preparing the floor first, which can make it uneven and not stick well.
  • Forgetting to leave space around the edges, which can make the floor buckle and get damaged.
  • Putting the underlay down wrong, which can make the floor uneven and let moisture in.
  • Not following the setup guide correctly, which can cause the floor to be put down wrong and waste materials.

Ignoring Moisture Levels

Not checking the moisture levels is a common error when laying down laminate flooring. Laminate is strong but can get easily damaged by moisture. This can cause the flooring to warp, swell, and even break down. Additionally, moisture can lead to creaky laminate floors.

To avoid these problems, it’s crucial to check the moisture and humidity where you plan to install the flooring. Using a moisture barrier helps protect the flooring, especially in very humid places.

Also, letting the flooring sit in the room for at least 48 hours before installation can help it last longer. This step helps the flooring get used to the room’s climate, which can prevent moisture issues later on.

Skipping Surface Preparation

Skipping surface prep can cause uneven floors and damage later. Before you put down your laminate, make sure the base is smooth and flat. If you skip this step, your floor might not look good and could have problems later.

Here are three important steps for preparing the surface:

  1. Check the Subfloor: Look carefully for any cracks, dips, or bumps. These issues can make the laminate pieces not fit right or break.
  2. Make the Surface Flat: If you have a concrete floor, use a self-leveling mix. If it’s a wooden floor, sand it to make it flat. Subfloor preparation may also involve sanding plywood floorboards to ensure a smooth surface.
  3. Clean Well: Get rid of all dirt, dust, and marks so the glue sticks well to the floor underneath.

Neglecting Expansion Gaps

Not leaving space for expansion when installing laminate flooring can cause problems. The floor needs room to grow and shrink with changes in temperature and humidity. Including small gaps, about a quarter-inch wide, around the edges and near walls or doorways is important. Without these gaps, the floor may buckle or lift up, which looks bad and can be a tripping hazard.

Laminate flooring is often installed as a floating floor to allow for expansion and contraction.

To keep your floor looking good and lasting long, always check the manufacturer’s instructions for the right size of expansion gaps.

Improper Underlay Installation

Just like it’s important to leave space around the edges of laminate floors, it’s also crucial to install the underlay properly.

Here are important points to remember:

  1. Thickness and Type: Pick the right thickness and type of underlay for your laminate floor. Different kinds offer various benefits like noise reduction, moisture protection, and comfort.
  2. Coverage: Ensure the underlay covers the whole floor smoothly without overlapping or leaving any spaces. Overlapping can make the floor uneven, and spaces might not protect well against moisture.
  3. Sealing: Make sure the edges of the underlay are tightly sealed, especially near walls and doorways, to stop moisture from getting in and to keep the floor level.

Proper underlay installation is essential to ensure laminate planks fit correctly and enhance the room’s appearance.

Misreading Installation Instructions

Not following the maker’s instructions during the installation process can cause big mistakes when putting down laminate flooring. Each guide is made just for that type of floor, and it tells you important things like how long to let the floor sit before you start, how to line everything up, and the order to install it.

If you don’t follow these steps, the panels might not fit right, leaving ugly gaps or causing the floor to fail later. For example, if you don’t let the flooring adjust to the room temperature, it might bend or lift up. Also, if you start in the wrong spot or lay the panels the wrong way, the whole floor could look off, wasting materials and costing more money.

Always read and understand the guide from the maker before you start to make sure the floor goes in well and looks good.

Inadequate Sealing Measures

When putting in laminate flooring, it’s just as important to seal it properly as it is to follow the installation guide. If the sealing isn’t done well, the floor can get damaged by water, swell up, and eventually break down.

Here are three simple steps to ensure good sealing:

  1. Use Good Sealant: Apply a high-quality sealant along the edges of the floor, particularly close to walls and doorways, to keep water out.
  2. Use the Right Underlay: Choose an underlay that resists moisture. This helps protect the floor from water coming from underneath.
  3. Fill Expansion Gaps: Be sure to fill in the gaps that allow the floor to expand with silicone caulk. This keeps the floor stable and stops dirt from getting in.

Incorrect Cleaning Practices

Cleaning laminate flooring the wrong way can really hurt its look and how long it lasts. For example, using wet mops or steam cleaners can make the floor warp or swell.

It is important to use a laminate floor cleaner for proper maintenance and to ensure the best and longest lasting results. Using rough chemicals and tools can scratch and make the floor dull. It’s best to use special cleaners made just for laminate floors to keep them shiny and undamaged.

Try not to use too much water and clean up any spills quickly to stop water from getting between the planks.

Lack of Regular Maintenance

Not taking care of laminate flooring regularly can cause it to get damaged quickly. To make sure your floors stay nice and last longer, it’s important to clean them often. Additionally, maintaining the laminate floor properly ensures its longevity and keeps it looking tidy.

Here are some simple steps to keep your laminate floors in good shape:

  1. Clean Often: Sweep or use a vacuum to pick up dirt that can scratch the floor.
  2. Deal with Spills Right Away: Wipe up any spills as soon as they happen to stop water damage and marks.
  3. Use the Right Cleaners: Choose cleaning products made just for laminate floors to avoid harm from strong chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Laminate Flooring Be Installed Over Old Tile or Carpet?

You can put laminate flooring over old tile floors if the tile is flat and not damaged. But, you should not put it over carpet.

If the tile has any cracks or bumps, fix these first. You need to take out the carpet because it’s too soft and can make the laminate bend or move out of place.

Always follow the instructions from the laminate flooring maker for the best outcome.

How Long Does Laminate Flooring Typically Last?

Laminate flooring usually lasts from 15 to 25 years if it is put in right and taken care of well. How long it lasts can change depending on how good the flooring is, how much it is used, and how well it is maintained. Most laminate floors have a typical lifespan of 15 to 25 years.

To help it last longer, make sure it is installed properly, use the correct underlayment, and keep it clean and dry. This makes laminate flooring a strong option for homes and businesses.

Is Laminate Flooring Safe for Pets and Children?

Laminate flooring is usually safe for pets and kids. It is strong and easy to clean, and it doesn’t scratch or stain easily. But, it’s good to pick high-quality, non-slip types to make it safer. Laminate flooring is composed of natural wood fibers, making it a safe and durable option.

Also, some laminates are sealed better against liquid, which helps when there are spills. Keeping the floor clean by sweeping regularly and cleaning up spills quickly will keep it safe and looking good.

Are There Eco-Friendly Laminate Flooring Options Available?

Yes, there are eco-friendly****laminate flooring choices that are good for the environment. These products use materials that are better for the Earth and are made in ways that don’t harm the environment as much. Not all laminate flooring is the same, and some options are more eco-friendly than others.

Also, many of these laminates help keep the air inside homes cleaner by reducing harmful chemicals in the air. Choosing these kinds of floors helps the planet and makes living spaces healthier.

Does Laminate Flooring Impact Home Resale Value?

Laminate flooring can affect the resale value of a home. When it is put in properly and kept in good shape, it looks nice and lasts a long time. It’s cheaper than hardwood but still attractive to buyers.

The quality of the laminate and how well it is installed are very important. Good quality laminate that looks nice can help increase the value of a home.


In summary, laminate flooring installation seems easy but requires careful attention and accuracy. Common mistakes like not checking for moisture, not preparing the surface well, and not following the installation instructions can really damage the quality and look of the floor.

Surprisingly, about 90% of problems with laminate flooring come from mistakes made during installation. So, taking the time to carefully follow each step ensures a strong and good-looking floor.

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