5 Challenges With Glueless Laminate Flooring Installation

You might have heard about how easy it is to put in a glueless laminate flooring installation. It was designed to be accommodating for DIY enthusiasts who do not put flooring in very often. Pretty much all you have to do is make sure it goes in straight and interlocks smoothly. However, we've found that putting in glueless laminate flooring is not quite like putting a puzzle together and hoping for the best. It's fairly easy for beginners to make these common mistakes that might lead to having to redo the flooring installation.

Related: Read our article on the best kind of laminate flooring.  Including reviews and comparisons!

Common Mistakes You Can Make

Forgetting to store the flooring in the room for a few days

It's understandable if you brought home the new flooring and want to install it right away. However, most experts recommend waiting a few days because it needs time to adjust to conditions in the room. If possible, keep the temperature of the room between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit while storing and installing it. This is especially a concern if you live in a climate that might cause the laminate to expand or warp, so it does help to calculate for this expansion when putting in your new flooring.

Cutting the laminate in a way that will lead to chipping

If the laminate is not cut properly, it can cause chipping in the top layer of the laminate, which can lead to a more unsightly surface damage over time. The top layer is a printed design on a thin material that is very easy to damage if cut from the bottom or in a way that could make the entire end of the board uneven. Make sure you use a saw with a blade that is as sharp as possible and cut into the face with the printed surface on top so that any chips will be less likely to be exposed.

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Not knowing the pattern that repeats itself

Most laminate makes use of only a few printed patterns. Putting two planks with the same pattern beside one another is actually a pretty easy mistake to make, but you'll definitely notice later when you see that two side-by-side boards look practically identical with maybe a slight variation in color from having been made in two different batches. Laminate is never going to fool an expert who knows how to look for the difference between laminate and natural hardwood, but it looks especially fake if it was installed in a way that puts two identical patterns beside one another. A lot of people solve this problem by arranging boards from two or more different boxes in a way that no two boards from the same box will be installed beside one another.

Forgetting about the underlayment

The underlayment can shift, especially if you're walking on it a lot between the time you take up the old flooring and the time you have your new flooring completely installed. The underlayment may also have been damaged by exposure to hidden water deposits or normal wear and tear. These are issues that might cause unnecessary degradation in your glueless laminate flooring installation if the underlayment is not repaired or replaced before you put it in. If you are uncertain about the condition of your underlayment, an expert can point out any issues that will need to be addressed before you can safely put in the glueless laminate flooring installation.

Trying to force a locking mechanism that won't go in easily

This is where you can carry over some techniques for putting together a picture puzzle. If it goes in easily, it fits and you can lock it firmly into place. If it doesn't, you're going to damage an ill-fitting “puzzle piece” by trying to force it into place. Most of the time, this won't be a problem because the glueless laminate is designed to fit together like completely identical puzzle pieces. Sometimes, though, you might run into a piece that won't go in easily. A lot of the time, this can be solved by sanding the piece where the problem exists or just using another piece.

Putting in a glueless laminate floor installation is actually pretty easy if you can avoid these five mistakes. Its interlocking pattern was designed for people who would rather save money on the installation by doing it themselves. One thing we like to tell beginning DIY floor installers is to take their time so that they can avoid making a mistake that could lead to damage of their new flooring over time.

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