How to install laminate flooring on uneven surfaces

Written by ben wakeling
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How to install laminate flooring on uneven surfaces
Laminate floors look remarkably similar to solid wood. (floor image by Einar Bog from Fotolia.com)

Laminate flooring has become a popular choice for many homeowners, who wish to give their floors a stylish finish without spending a lot of money on solid wood floors. Laminate flooring consists of a composite wood plank with a veneer that is printed to look like real wood. It is strong and durable, and many do not notice the difference between laminates and solid timber when laid correctly.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Laminate Flooring
  • Thinset compound
  • Stiff-bristled broom
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Spirit level
  • Compound float
  • Claw hammer
  • Wood filler
  • Sander or sandpaper
  • Chipboard or floorboards (for replacement of existing, if required)

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Instructions

    Laying Laminate Flooring on Uneven Surfaces

  1. 1

    Clear the floor of all previous flooring. For floors with carpet, ensure all underlay and tack strips are removed using a claw hammer.

    How to install laminate flooring on uneven surfaces
    Remove any exposed staples or nails. (claw hammer image by Richard Seeney from Fotolia.com)
  2. 2

    Clean the floor thoroughly to remove dust and debris by using either a vacuum cleaner or a stiff-bristled broom.

    How to install laminate flooring on uneven surfaces
    Debris can create an uneven surface. (broom image by BaSSaBaS from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

    Floorboards or chipboard can warp and move over time, creating an uneven floor. Identify areas of your floor that seem uneven and assess their seriousness, which determines the method used for rectifying this problem.

    How to install laminate flooring on uneven surfaces
    Chipboard soaks up moisture, making it warp. (chipboard texture image by pncphotos from Fotolia.com)
  4. 4

    For floors with only slight pits, bumps or unevenness, fill holes using a wood filler, and grind down any bumps using a sander.

    How to install laminate flooring on uneven surfaces
    Knots in the wood can be filled in. (wood image by Marvin Gerste from Fotolia.com)
  5. 5

    For areas of high damage or unevenness, the floorboards or chipboard may need to be replaced.

    How to install laminate flooring on uneven surfaces
    Floorboard can move over time. (background texture of wooden boards floor image by pablonilo from Fotolia.com)
  6. 6

    Many uneven floors can be rectified through laying an underlayment, such as a thinset compound, which is pumped over the existing floor and then levelled to create an even spread.

    How to install laminate flooring on uneven surfaces
    The compound can be spread out using a trowel. (Kelle image by reises from Fotolia.com)
  7. 7

    Install the laminate onto the set floor. Laminates come in a variety of forms, including those with glued backs, or tongue-and-groove pieces that simply snap together. Leave the floor to settle for three days after use.

    How to install laminate flooring on uneven surfaces
    Laminate flooring creates an attractive finish. (red roses in the glass vase on wooden floor image by Jane September from Fotolia.com)

Tips and warnings

  • A floor sander may be quicker and more effective than using hand-held sandpaper.
  • Lay laminate boards in the same direction as the longest straight wall.
  • Store your laminate boards inside for 48 hours before laying to allow them to acclimatise to the humidity and temperature of the house.
  • Laminate flooring in wet areas may be more prone to movement and warping. A moisture test should be carried out on flooring before laying.
  • Clean up excess glue as soon as possible to prevent it from drying.
  • Use a block between the hammer and the laminate if hammering is required to avoid damage.

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