How to lay and fit laminate flooring

Fitting your laminate flooring yourself

Laminate flooring can be fitted almost anywhere now, with new products that are suitable for bathrooms. If your floor is an uneven concrete or screed floor, use a self levelling compound to smooth out the surface first and to ensure an even fit. For wooden floors, again, ensure all obstacles are attended to before fitting, like loose or prominent nails, or loose boards. If there is evidence of damp, you will need to fit a waterproof membrane before installation.

Tools required

No specialist equipment is needed, but you will need a tape measure, a saw to cut the boards to length, a hammer, and possibly a jig saw, or coping saw to cut around awkward shapes.

Laminate flooring underlay

Adding a layer of laminate underlay will help smooth out any minor imperfections, improve sound insulation and heat insulation. There are different types available which you will find in our underlay section. Laminate can, in most cases, also be used with underfloor heating, but please check the product specifications.

Fitting underlay

Laminate underlay is simple to fit. It's easy to cut and it comes in manageable size rolls, or boards. Fit the underlay up to the edge of the wall, covering the entire room, and taking care to join the lengths underneath with tape to prevent movement when laying the flooring.

Fitting laminate flooring

Laminate flooring comes with an interlocking system, which holds each board, along its width and length tightly together. No glue is required. The joint can also be ‘unlocked’ should you ever need to replace a board, or move the flooring.

Laying and joining the planks

The first step is to acclimatise the flooring before you install it. All laminate flooring naturally expands and contracts with heat and humidity, so it should be left in the room you are fitting it in for approximately 48 hours before beginning the fitting process.

Expansion gap

The most important thing is to allow for an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room. Never fit the boards right up to the edge of the wall as slight expansion will cause them to lift at the joints. A gap of approximately 10mm should be left. Use spacers for this purpose and then hide the gap with matching Scotia beading at the base of the wall/skirting for a professional finish. Alternatively, you can remove the skirting boards and fit them back on top of the flooring, providing that an expansion gap remains between the boards and the wall.

Laying the boards

Ideally, lay the boards lengthways, towards the main source of light, or along the longest wall. Mix all your boards up, ensuring no two boards have the same pattern when they are are adjacent to one another. This will create a more natural appearance.

Stagger the planks and ensure no two identically printed planks are adjacent to one another

Lay the boards end to end along the length of the room (i.e. joining the short edges using the drop-click system). When you get to the opposite wall, cut the last board to length using a good, sharp saw, or laminate floor cutter. (Cut into the top of the board to prevent chipping the edge of the laminate). And don’t forget to leave an expansion gap.

Join the planks using the simple drop click system to lock them together

Now, continue on the next adjacent row of planks back to where you started the first row. All the planks should be staggered / offset for strength and to give a natural appearance. so, providing your cut-off is of sufficient size, you can use this piece to begin the next row (with the short cut end facing the wall). Use the drop click system on the longer length of the plank to join to your previous row and slide it into position. Continue this process right across the entire room.

For doorways, it is much easier to fit the plank beneath any architrave, rather attempt to cut around it, see video.

Use a carpenter's 'square' or another plank as a guide to ensure that your cuts are at 90 degrees
Fitting around doorways
Finish, by refitting the skirting, or fitting scotia beading around the perimeter - NEVER glue to the flooring... only the wall to allow for expansion and contraction