Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

How to lay laminate flooring?

Laying laminate flooring can be a do-it-yourself project for DIYers because it is easy to install and can significantly change the look of a room but also it’s really important to avoid mistakes and do it as neatly as you can. Not being properly prepared can lead to swellings on your floor which will shorten your floor longevity and lifespan. The secret is to prepare well and take the time to do it properly.

Firstly, the subfloor should be levelled using an extended level. If there are any dips or high spots more than 1/4 inch, then it is necessary to apply a coat of self-leveling compound to deal with the issue. Make sure your subfloor is free of any foreign material and dust. Then, it would help if you put a foam or cork underlayment on the entire floor area. This ensures that the roof does not leak and also helps in soundproofing.

Tongue-and-groove laminates are meant to snap together perfectly. The majority of laminate flooring requires an expansion gap of 1/4 to 1/2 inch along the walls to allow for the expansion that takes place with temperature and humidity changes. Being with the first row of planks in one corner, snap the ends together. Stick spacers directly against the wall and then leave the expansion gap.

Keep on adding the rows while staggering the end joints so that they are not lined up with the previous row. It provides a more natural appearance for wood. Saw or cut the pieces to the desired length at the ends. Finish the floor by rolling over the whole floor with a laminate roller once.

Finally, nail the baseboards or quarter-round trim to fill the expanding gaps. A laminate floor is a great alternative to hardwood and will add a fresh look and a durable surface to your space.

Tip: Check out how to install flooring.

What Are The Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring?

How to lay laminate flooring?

  1. Poor Subfloor Preparation: One of the most frequent errors when laminate flooring installation is inadequate preparation of the subfloor. Laminate flooring requires a clean, dry, and level subfloor. Failing to address imperfections, debris, or moisture can cause the laminate to warp, buckle, or create noise underfoot.
  2. Ignoring Acclimatization: Laminate planks need to acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity for at least 48 hours before installation. Skipping this step can lead to expansion or contraction post-installation, causing gaps or buckling.
  3. Incorrect Underlayment: Underlayment provides a moisture barrier, sound insulation, and cushioning. Using the wrong type or neglecting it entirely can lead to moisture damage and an uncomfortable walking surface. Additionally, some laminates come with pre-attached underlayment; adding an extra layer in these cases can result in an uneven floor.
  4. Inadequate Expansion Gaps: Laminate flooring expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity. Failing to leave appropriate expansion gaps around the room’s perimeter can result in buckling or warping. Typically, a 1/4-inch gap is recommended.
  5. Incorrect Plank Staggering: Properly staggering the planks is crucial for both aesthetics and structural integrity. Aligning seams too closely together weakens the floor and creates a less appealing look. A common mistake is creating a uniform, repetitive pattern rather than a natural, varied appearance.
  6. Using Wrong Tools: Using inappropriate tools can damage the laminate planks and result in a subpar finish. For instance, using a hammer directly on the planks without a tapping block can cause chipping and damage.
  7. Neglecting Manufacturer’s Instructions: Each laminate flooring product comes with specific installation guidelines. Ignoring these instructions can lead to errors and void warranties.
  8. Improperly Cutting Planks: Cutting laminate planks without proper measurements and tools can lead to uneven edges and gaps. It’s essential to measure twice and cut once, using the right tools like a laminate cutter or a circular saw with a fine-tooth blade.

Laying Laminate Flooring on Floorboards

Laying Laminate Flooring on Floorboards

Laying laminate flooring over existing wood floorboards can be a great way to rejuvenate the appearance of a room while leaving the floor underneath, protected. This type of installation presents an extra level of difficulty that is not needed when you install it over a subfloor.

The initial important task is to guarantee that the floorboards are solid and do not make any noise. Make a complete sweep and countersink any nails or screws that are projecting and tighten any loose boards. A levelling compound can be applied to even the dips or valleys between boards that are more than 1/4 inch thick.

Keep in mind that, the underlayment should be installed over the floorboards which are designed specifically for the laminate over the wood floors. This will serve as a shock absorption, an expansion and contraction of the laminate, and a proper joint locking.

While laying the laminate flooring, make sure to begin from a side that goes parallel to the natural direction of the floorboards. The end joints should be set at least 12 inches away from the joints in the boards underneath so they are staggered. This helps the adhesive to bond well to the wood surface without any lines appearing on the laminate.

Do it carefully, insert spacers, and sweep over the entire floor with a laminate roller after you are done to make the edges flat where they aren’t pressed together completely. Moisture vapor barrier could also be required between the boards and underlayment if there is a moisture concern.
Besides adding a fresh look to your floor, laminate installation also protects the floorboards underneath so that they can be refinished in the future.


In summary, laying laminate flooring over existing floorboards is a very satisfying project that not only enhances the appearance of your house but also provides an added value. The provided directions will help you to ensure that the installation is done correctly and the surface is beautiful and lasting. Make sure to grab hold of this opportunity and add to your casual outfit a touch of class.