7 Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

December 12, 2022

It’s not unusual for homeowners to make common mistakes when laying the laminate flooring, resulting in an unsightly finish. However, your new floors can look their best with the right tools and techniques. Additionally, avoiding these mistakes helps reduce the risk of water seeping under those new floorboards, protecting your home against damage.

Of course, professional installation is the best choice for ensuring a stunning new floor in your home. But, if you’re still determined to do this job yourself, check out a few things to avoid. These tips will ensure a stunning, strong floor you’ll love for years to come.


Tools used for laminate flooring installation

Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

In addition to these tips, ensure you read all manufacturer instructions for floors. Most laminate floors install similarly, but some might require a few added steps for a proper fit. Also, after browsing these tips, don’t hesitate to call a professional if you’re still unsure about your skills! Investing in their help can mean a job done right that lasts for years.

1. Laminate floors shouldn't go in every room

Laminate is tough, durable, and excellent for homes with kids and families. However, it’s not always the best choice for every room in the house! For example, moisture buildup tends to erode laminate adhesives and layers. In turn, it’s not always the right choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Also, consider adding a dehumidifier and waterproofing if you plan on putting laminate floors in a basement.

2. Don’t skimp on the underlay

Most laminate floor options are skinny, which allows them to float and bend easily when you walk across them. On the downside, those thin floors don’t always feel comfortable underfoot. You don’t want to skip or even skimp on the underlay. High-quality underlayment ensures comfortable floors and protects your home’s subflooring as well.

3. Ensure level floors before you begin

Some homeowners mistakenly assume that because laminate floors float over existing flooring, you can install them over any bed. This is a common mistake, as you must ensure level floors before laminate installation. Installing any flooring over uneven surfaces risks those floors pulling away from the home’s framing.

Also, uneven subflooring allows pressure on various areas of the laminate. This can mean cracks and other damage. Use a self-leveling compound over fresh drywall to create the proper surface for your new flooring, no matter the material.

4. Laminate flooring needs to acclimate

Many flooring options, including laminate, need to acclimate before installation. This refers to the flooring adjusting to the environment. Laminate, wood, and similar materials absorb moisture, expand, and shrink when they dry out.

Not letting floors acclimate to your home’s environment risks having them go through this expand-shrink cycle after installation. As a result, the flooring might pull away from its adhesive, or planks might expand against one another. To avoid these risks, have the flooring material sit for 72 hours in your home before installing it.

5. Leave room for edge expansion

Since laminate floors float over the flooring underneath them, they’ll shift as you walk over them. In turn, they need room around the edges for expansion and movement. One common mistake when installing laminate flooring is installing them against far walls. This can risk damage to the floorboards and walls! Instead, leave a slight gap for that natural movement of the flooring.

6. Create expansion joints between rooms

If you’re installing laminate in more than one room, leave a gap between those rooms or the room and hallway. As with edge expansion, these gaps allow the laminate to expand and push against itself without damage. Then, cover these gaps with unique strips available at the hardware store. These strips prevent tripping and ensure a cohesive look between rooms.

7. Don’t forget to stop and check your work as you go!

One common mistake when installing laminate flooring is not checking your work until you’ve installed an entire room. This is a surefire way to end up with uneven or unsightly floors. Instead, check your laminate flooring often for a pristine finish, ensuring straight lines and the desired finish. You can make corrections as needed before you finish the job.


common mistakes when laying laminate flooring

Does It Matter Where You Start Installing Laminate Flooring?

Another common mistake when laying laminate flooring is to start against a wall and allow it to guide your first row. However, remember that walls aren’t always straight! Even if the wall angles slightly, this risks uneven flooring rows.

Instead, start your flooring by measuring the width of one plank plus 1/4 inch. For instance, for 5-inch planks, measure away from the wall by 5-1/4 inches. Then, snap a chalk line parallel to the wall at that measurement.

Next, use the chalk line rather than the wall as a guide. In turn, you’ll have a straight line with that 1/4-inch edge expansion gap mentioned above. Lastly, ensure you stop often and check your work to adjust it as needed.

Why Is My Laminate Floor Buckling During Installation?

Buckling during installation typically signals moisture coming up from the home’s subflooring. In many cases, a vapor barrier installation before flooring addresses this issue. Also, not acclimating the floors risks buckling and separation during and after installation.

Lastly, low-quality flooring tends to buckle and warp more than higher-quality brands. In turn, investing in the best quality you can afford is good. Your investment pays off in terms of better-looking floors that stay in good repair for years.

Why Does My Laminate Flooring Keep Separating?

There are a variety of reasons why laminate flooring can start to separate. One of the most common causes is when it was not properly installed. Laminate flooring must be installed correctly to ensure a sturdy and secure fit over time. This means that it should be laid out in an overlapping pattern, with the edges firmly butted against each other. If the flooring was installed in any other way, then it can cause separation to occur over time.

Another reason why laminate flooring can separate is due to high levels of moisture and humidity. Laminate flooring is not designed for wet or humid environments, so if your home has a lot of humidity, it could be causing the flooring to expand and start to separate. If you notice that this is happening, it’s important to reduce the humidity levels in your home as soon as possible.

Lastly, if your laminate flooring has started to separate, then there could be an issue with the subfloor that was laid beneath it. Poorly-prepared subfloors can cause the laminate to separate, so if this is the case, then it’s important that you get a professional in to inspect and repair it. A good quality subfloor will provide a strong foundation for your laminate flooring and help prevent separation from occurring over time.

A Word from Our Company

Bradenton Flooring Pros is happy to explain more about typical mistakes when laying laminate floors. Hopefully, you’ve found these tips and reminders helpful. On the other hand, our Bradenton floor installation contractors guarantee a job done right! You can save yourself the time and hassle of DIY floor installation by calling us. We’ll start with a FREE inspection and price quote for your project. Also, we’re happy to help you choose the right flooring for your property. To find out more, call us today.


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