Laying new laminate wood flooring over your existing vinyl flooring is a relatively inexpensive way to add value, durability and good looks to any room in your home. Installing laminate wood flooring is much easier to do than other types of flooring, because the wood laminate planks lock together, much like a puzzle, without the need for nails or glue. With the right tools and materials, you can update any average-sized room in your home with beautiful laminate wood flooring in just one day.
Measure the room you wish to install the new floors in using the tape measure to get an approximate square metre measurement. For example, a 3-by-4-metre (9.8 by 13 feet) room would be 12 square metres (129 square feet). Add an additional 10 per cent to this number to account for scrap pieces. You can buy laminate wood flooring and its accessories at any home improvement centre.
Clear out the room you wish to work on, and clean the vinyl floor of any dirt and debris. Then, make sure the floor is relatively level with no significant dips or bumps of more than 3 mm (1/8 inch).
Roll out your underlayment padding/moisture barrier directly on top of the vinyl flooring, making sure to not overlap any of the seams. You will need to use a utility knife to cut the underlayment to size. Use the duct tape to attach the underlayment seams to one another.
Using a mitre or circular saw, cut one of the laminate wood planks to about 40 cm (16 inches) -- doesn't have to be exact, and place it on top of the underlayment at whichever side of the room you wish to start laying the floor. Try not to use a piece that is less than 40 cm (16 inches) in length. This will help reduce cracks and squeaks in the floor later.
Begin snapping together the wood laminate flooring by placing the tongue side of one plank into the groove side of the adjoining plank at about a 20-degree angle and pushing it down flat. You will have to use the rubber mallet, tapping block and pull bar to get a tight fit and also for tapping pieces together along the walls. Make sure to stagger all the seams, because it hides the seams better and makes the floor stronger.
Place 6 mm (1/4 inch) spacers along all the walls so that the flooring does not butt up against the wall. Laminate flooring is a floating floor -- meaning that it expands and contracts depending on the weather, so it needs that extra space to avoid buckling or cracking later on. If you have skirting boards the room, you many have to remove them until the flooring is installed, and then reinstall the skirting to cover the 6 mm (1/4 inch) between the new floor and the wall.
Continue installing the wood laminate planks row by row until the flooring is completely installed. Leave approximately a 1.2 to 2.5 cm (1/2 to 1 inch) gap in any doorway where the two floors from each room will meet.
Install the proper length of T-trim in each doorway to provide a smooth transition between rooms. T-trim comes with a plastic mounting strip that needs to be either glued or nailed to the floor before you install the T-trim. If you choose to glue it down, make sure the construction adhesive you choose will bond to the vinyl flooring, concrete, wood or other material.
Remove all the spacers along the walls and, if necessary, reinstall the baseboards.
Installing the wood laminate flooring with the grain flowing in the direction of the window(s) in the room will hide the seams better. Underlayment padding should consist of both a padding layer and a moisture barrier. Save time by buying a brand of underlayment that contains both layers in one. Placing something heavy -- such as unopened boxes of the flooring -- on an already installed portion of the flooring will help hold it in place, so that it doesn't shift when you are installing the rest of the flooring.
Don't line up seams in the floor -- they must be staggered for a better appearance and strength. Wear safety glasses when operating any type of power saw.