Installing a Laminate Kitchen Floor

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ April 23, 2010

I've seen so many laminate floors in kitchens and baths lately that it seems an obvious choice for many people. Putting down laminate flooring is so much easier than a hardwood floor because the sections snap or glue together. A floating floor, laminate installs directly over your current kitchen floor.

Your first step is to calculate square footage so you can price and order the materials. Measure the room, taking any cutouts or islands into account. Then add about ten percent on top for a little insurance against overruns. Home improvement or flooring stores sell laminate flooring, vapor pads, and the underlayer materials you need. Glue-together planks are harder to install, but offer better moisture protection than the snap-together flooring.

Prepping the Kitchen, Installing the Floor

Bring the laminate into your home and let it adjust to the ambient temperature and moisture for 48 hours. If you're replacing kitchen cabinets along with the remodeling, install the cabinets first and let the materials dry thoroughly before touching the floor.

Before you can install a laminate floor, you need to pull up any carpeting, padding, and nails, remove baseboards and shoe molding, and repair the surface or subfloor--if necessary. If you don't know how to patch or level a floor, you may need to call in a contractor.

Remove any material that sticks to the original flooring and vacuum it up. Cut the flooring planks where necessary to fit around islands, pipes, or corners. Once the surface is prepped, lay down the underlayer pad, taping together the pieces with plastic tape (or packing tape).

If you have snap-together laminate flooring, simply start your row, staggering the arrangement of the connectors-that's what strengthens the fit. When you reach the wall, be sure to leave room for your baseboards. Stop the planks a quarter-inch from the wall and tap in spacers to support the floor at the edge.

Calling in a Professional

If you decide to call in an installer, you may want to wait until you choose the laminate flooring. That's because some manufacturers qualify contractors to work with their products. Armstrong, like other makers of laminate flooring, offer product installation guides for do-it-yourselfers.

You're not limited to laminate. There are also "green" flooring materials like bamboo, cork, or recycled wood. And if you'd rather stick with your old kitchen floor, you can always paint wood floors in colors or patterns that look fantastic.

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