Laminate Floors – A quick change
Many of us frown at the thought of laminate flooring. We get pictures of badly laid flooring with scuffs and scratches. But these days some very good quality and attractive laminates exist and they can improve the look of a room in no time at all and for a very reasonable price.
Generally laminate floor boards use an interlocking tongue and groove system to join together. This means that the use of nails and glue is very limited. The top layer is usually a type of resin which is incredibly durable. Under this layer is a picture of the wood or pattern on the laminate. All this sits on a backboard.
Some people may also believe that boards with layers of real wood are also laminate. In many cases they can be laid in the same way and have the added advantage of being able to be sanded back and re-finished. These are actually known as hard wood floors but do look very similar to laminate.
Bear in mind that laminate can be noisy for downstairs neighbours. Try adding some underlay to deaden the sound, but bear this in mind when calculating the depth.
Don't over wet laminate or use a detergent which is not designed for the type of flooring you have. It can seep into the joins and cause them to distort.
Laying a laminate
- Ensure the floor is level and very clean
- Use spacers to ensure that the laminate does not touch the walls, this will allow for expansion. Lay the boards with a groove side facing the wall and cut each to length. Stagger the joints.
- Use a fitting tool to bang the joins together. Don't use a hammer directly onto the board as you may damage it.
- When fitting a board around a pipe cut a wedge from the wall to the pipe into the board. Then glue the wedge back into place once the board is fitted. Remember to include an expansion gap around pipes.
- Fix skirting boards over the flooring or use a decorative moulding. Use thresholds over all the doorways.
It really is as easy as that and can be achieved in just a day or two. The important thing is to take your time to get the best results. Before you know it your front room could go from old carpet to gleaming new floorboards in no time.
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