Laminate flooring has become very popular for homeowners looking to update their floors on a budget. Laminate mimics the look of real hardwood or stone but is made from synthetic materials, making it more affordable. It’s also easy for DIYers to install themselves.
Installing laminate flooring over concrete can transform the look and feel of any room. Laminate flooring is durable, easy to install, and comes in various styles that mimic wood or tile. You can have beautiful new floors by knowing how to install laminate flooring cover concrete.
Easy Steps to Install Laminate Flooring Over Concrete
There are a few more things to consider when installing laminate flooring over concrete. With the right equipment, supplies, and preparation, basements, kitchens, and bathrooms may have new laminate flooring installed. This article covers 7 steps for putting laminate flooring over concrete.
Step 1: Clean and Prepare the Concrete
The first step is cleaning the concrete and properly preparing it for the laminate installation. Start by:
- Sweeping the floor to remove any debris, dirt, or dust that could interfere with installation. You can use a broom or shop vac.
- Check the concrete for holes and fractures. Concrete filler can be used as a patching material to balance any bumps. It is recommended to wait for the patching material to cure before continuing.
- Use either a calcium chloride or plastic sheet test to determine how much moisture is in the concrete. Laminate might deteriorate with too much moisture exposure. If a lot of moisture is found, a second moisture barrier might be necessary.
- Clean the floors thoroughly with a general household cleaner. Concrete can accumulate oils, waxes, or other residues that must be removed over time.
Proper prep is crucial for the laminate planks to adhere directly to the concrete subfloor. Before moving on, ensure the concrete surface is clean, flat, and dry.
Step 2: Install Foam Underlayment
Foam underlayment acts as a moisture barrier and helps smooth out minor imperfections in the concrete. Look for underlayment designed specifically for laminate flooring. Roll out the foam underlayment and cut it to fit the room.
Extend the underlayment a few inches up the wall. Tape seams as needed per the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a utility knife to trim the underlayment around door jambs and other areas. The underlayment should cover the entire concrete floor. Making tight seams and wall joints will help reduce noises and pops when walking on the finished laminate.
Step 3: Lay Out the Floor and Install Spacers
With the underlayment in place, you can now do a dry layout of the laminate flooring planks to plan how they will fit across the room. Lay planks across the floor without locking them together to visualize spacing. Mix boards from multiple boxes during installation for the best variation of pattern and color.
Measure the room and calculate how many full planks will fit, allowing a 1/4-inch gap along the walls. Make sure you mark the last row. Use spacers along the wall studs before installation. Spacers allow for slight expansion of the laminate over time.
Take time to lay everything out and properly space with spacers. Planning will make installing the laminate go smoothly and ensure even gaps around the perimeter.
Step 4: Tap and Lock the Laminate Planks
Always use safety goggles, gloves, and a dust mask when cutting laminate materials. Start installation from the far left corner of the room. Work from left to right across each row. Lock the short end of the first plank into the previous plank first with light pressure. Then, lock the long side into place. Use spacers along the wall edge to maintain proper 1/4-inch gaps.
Carefully tap planks into place using a rubber mallet and tapping block to protect the locking edges. Randomly stagger end joints from row to row by at least 6 inches for best appearance. Use a table saw to cut final planks to fit against walls. Make any intricate cuts needed.
Take your time laying the laminate flooring to get clean locking connections between each plank. Cut carefully for a professional-looking finish.
Step 5: Use Transitions Near Doors and Openings
For high-traffic areas like doorways or transitions between rooms, use metal transitions to connect smoothly between floor surfaces. Measure and cut tracks to fit door frames and other openings.
Tap into place with a hammer. Where needed, drill small holes in transitions to install with screws into the subfloor for extra stability. Use transition glue or silicone caulk to adhere tracks firmly in place along the edges.
Attach reducers, T-moldings, or end caps onto tracks to connect laminate between rooms.
Properly installed transitions protect laminate edges from damage and allow the floor to shift naturally. Make sure to attach transitions firmly in place.
Step 6: Seal All Gaps with Caulk
The last important installation step is applying caulk around the floor’s perimeter where it meets the walls.
- Let the laminate flooring sit for 24 hours after installation before caulking.
- Clean all gaps thoroughly to remove dirt, debris, or dust for the best caulk adhesion.
- Apply painter’s tape along the walls to keep excess caulk off baseboards.
- Apply a silicone caulk bead into all perimeter gaps and gaps around door jambs.
- Smooth the caulk with a damp fingertip before removing the tape. Allow the caulk to cure fully.
Properly sealing the gaps will prevent moisture and debris from getting under the laminate and damaging the subfloor. Take time to caulk for a polished look neatly.
While this may seem like many steps, installing laminate over waterproof concrete floor can be an easy DIY project, given the right preparation. Planning and having the proper tools will help the installation process go smoothly.
The finished product will bring a major impact, transforming any room with durable, beautiful laminate floors. Follow each step carefully, be bold, and ask experts for advice. Take pride in the floors you installed yourself – you may even consider tackling laminate in other rooms after enjoying the results!