Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Laminate Flooring Installation

By Mark J. Donovan

I recently decided to update my kitchen flooring and decided upon laminate flooring. I elected to go with laminate flooring due to a number of factors. First laminate flooring installation is relatively easy to do. Due to the fact that laminate flooring is a floating floor it simply snaps, or interlocks, together. Yes, there is some preparation required before installing it, and a foam pad may need to be installed on the subfloor if it is not already attached to the underside of the laminate flooring pieces, but otherwise it is straight forward to install.

The second reason I went with a laminate flooring installation is that laminate flooring is an extremely durable product. It is almost impossible to scratch or ding, and in a kitchen where silverware, plates and pans occasionally get dropped I felt it was a much better alternative to vinyl, tile or wood.

There are two downsides to laminate flooring that are important to consider. Laminate flooring is constructed via a plastic type surface covering a print (e.g. wood, stone, etc), which is then backed by a wood product. With some brands of laminate flooring a pad is also attached to the back of the wood surface, eliminating the need for a separate pad to be installed on the subfloor first. Though small liquid spills are okay landing on the surface of the laminate flooring, it is important to wipe them up quickly. If liquid works its way in between the joints, and/or to the underside of the laminate flooring, it will swell and become damaged.

The other downside is the sound of laminate flooring when you walk on it. It has a hollow sound when you walk on it. This I believe is due to the fact that it is a floating floor. It does take some time, but after awhile you do get use to the sound.

As I mentioned earlier, laminate flooring installation is relatively easy to do, however it is important to make sure the subfloor is level and free from any lumps, bumps or warping. We also found it best to remove the kitchen cabinet toe boards and install the laminate flooring right up to the base of the cabinets. We then trimmed the toe boards and reinstalled them. Likewise, we chose to remove the original baseboard trim and replace it with new baseboard. The alternative is to install quarter-round onto the bottom of the baseboard trim to cover the edge of the laminate flooring.

Our laminate floor has really dressed up our kitchen, and hopefully it will provide us with many more years of service compared to our previous vinyl floor.