You’ve chosen the perfect color for the floor, you’ve found this incredible, drop-dead gorgeous texture, and now you’ve come to that big decision: Do I install the new floor myself? Or get someone to do it for me?
Many people are choosing to DIY! And why not? The majority of laminate floors currently on the market have some type of locking system that lets you click planks together for a faster, easier installation. All manufacturers offer installation instructions with their products and most companies put some type of printed instructions on their website. In addition, there are a plethora of step-by-step installation videos available on YouTube.
But before you decide to DIY, assess your skill level. And be honest! If you’ve never used a power tool before … seriously … is this the time to start? Your retailer can arrange the installation for you. It will be easy-peasy, and you can let the professionals worry about the sharp implements.
However, if you’re a moderate to skilled DIYer … go for it! Installing a Quick•Step floor with the Uniclic® locking system is actually a great weekend project for a pair of seasoned DIYers.
Before you install there are a few things you should know. You’ll need to read the installation instructions and make sure you’ve got the appropriate tools handy.
These usually include a hammer, saw, pencil, and a tape measure. In addition, you’ll need to purchase a laminate installation kit that includes a pull bar, spacers, and Uniclic® adapted tapping block.
- Begin by letting your planks acclimate to the room in which they will be installed. The amount of time needed will vary by product requirements and the relative humidity of the area. Reference the installation instructions to determine the right length of time for your home.
- Check to ensure you have the appropriate subfloor. Keep in mind that laminate can be installed on, above, or below the grade. So it works great for basements. However, if you’re installing laminate over a concrete subfloor you’ll need to use a moisture barrier in addition to the underlayment, or choose an underlayment with a built-in moisture barrier. It’s critical to test the moisture of concrete following instructions in the installation guide. We recommend you use a Quick•Step underlayment that is suitable for use with the Uniclic joint and include an attached moisture barrier.
- Will you be floating your floor above an existing floor, or will you need to remove the existing floor? This will obviously affect the project’s degree of difficulty. If extensive work is needed to tear out the existing floor or repair the subfloor, you may want to reconsider doing it yourself.
- Clean and inspect the subfloor. Make sure it’s flat. Any unevenness greater than 1/16” should be smoothed out with floor leveler. Then make sure the subfloor is dry and stable.
- Don’t forget the underlayment or you’ll be sorry. Underlayment serves a variety of functions. It is used to help level the subfloor. It provides thermal insulation, sound insulation, and a moisture barrier. It even helps the final floor sound and feel more like hardwood.
- Make sure you’re prepared to finish and trim the floor. Because laminate is a wood product it expands and contracts depending upon the temperature and humidity in the home. When you install the floor, you’ll leave a 3/8” expansion gap around the perimeter and all fixed objects. This needs to be covered by molding and trim. You can find coordinating molding and trim from your retailer or you may opt to purchase unfinished or prefinished white molding, depending upon your personal preference.
- Always follow the instructions. Reading them completely before you start the job will make it so much easier. In fact, grab some popcorn, and cozy up to watch the installation video accompanying your product! It’s well worth the few minutes it will take.
Now that you’re armed with a little more knowledge, go ahead and tackle that installation project. At the end of the day you can say … I did it myself. What a great feeling!