Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Tips on Laying Laminate Flooring on an Uneven Surface

Laminate flooring has become a remarkably popular flooring option for many homeowners not only because of its stylish finish but also because of its low maintenance quality. Laminate timber flooring is amazingly durable, is available in such a wide variety of styles, colours and finishes that it is easy to find one that suits any taste or decor.

Laminate flooring is simply a plank of composite wood with a layer of resin on top that has been imprinted to appear like a real timber finish. Laminate timber flooring is much cheaper than hardwood timbers and requires less maintenance to keep up its great appearance.

Most laminate flooring systems are relatively simple to install using its simple tongue-and-groove locking system. As this flooring is usually a floating floor system, this means it's connected to each other plank, but not attached to your walls or floors. It is vitally important when you are planning to install your own laminate flooring to prepare the floor surface correctly before you lay your flooring.

If you have existing flooring already installed, remove it completely. If you previously had carpet, then pull it up and dispose of this and the old underlay padding beneath it. Take particular care to remove any tack strips around the edges of the room that would have secured the old carpet in place. Some floors may need to be scraped back to remove any excess padding or other items stuck to the floor.

Be sure to clean the floor thoroughly, either with a vacuum or a stiff bristled broom. Once the floor is clean and clear of debris you will be better positioned to determine if the floor is even or not.

When installing laminate timber flooring, it is important you create a floor surface that is as even as possible. Laminate is quite thin, so any imperfections or bumps will be noticeable beneath your flooring. Without taking adequate care to level the sub floor beneath your floating floors, you may find the floorboards may dip or bow in areas that are uneven.

If you have a concrete floor and you notice that the surface is uneven or pitted with holes or other imperfections, you can skim on a layer of thin set to create a flatter surface. This thin set is like a very fine gypsum underlayment that you simply pump over your existing floor and level out using a spirit level to ensure your screed layer is evenly spread across the floor. Once this has set, you will be left with a very smooth level surface that will be ideal to install your laminate onto.

However if you have a plywood subfloor, you may need to spend some time repairing any damaged sections you find in the plywood. Plywood can absorb moisture and break down over time, which then causes the damaged section to bulge, creating an obvious bump in your floor. In order to repair sections of plywood subflooring, you may need to cut out the damaged section and replace with new plywood.

Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who represents a number of UK businesses. For tips on installing your flooring, he recommends Completely Flooring, one of the UK's leading suppliers of Laminate Flooring.

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