Laminate flooring is a plastic or wood material that is stamped with a pattern to make it look like wood or tile. It is sold in 3-foot interlocking sections that snap together to form a surface that floats on the subfloor, which means that it does not need to be nailed or glued down. When you install it on an irregularly shaped floor, you have to plan the layout, because you cannot cut the sections or you will not be able to snap them together. The plan for an L-shaped room is not very complicated.
Spread floor-levelling compound on the subfloor to seal cracks and seams, and then sand the floor flat with a belt sander. Vacuum the sanding dust after you finish.
Spread a foam vapour barrier over the subfloor. Staple this barrier to wood and glue or tape it to concrete.
Lay the first course of flooring along the wall that forms the inside of the "L." Follow the wall, keeping a gap of 1/4 inch between the flooring and the wall to allow for expansion of the flooring material and extend this course past the wall, all the way to the opposite perpendicular wall. The locking pieces will help you keep this course straight, but when you reach the far wall, use a carpenter's square to make sure that the flooring and the wall are perpendicular.
Work away from the wall along which you laid the first course and lay the half of the floor that extends to the wall that is parallel and opposite to this wall. When you have laid the second-last course, measure the distance to the wall and cut the last course to fit, again allowing 1/4 inch for expansion. Set the cut sections into position and use a pry bar to snap them to the rest of the floor.
Working in the opposite direction from the part of the first course that extends past the original wall, lay the rest of the floor.
Attach baseboards to the wall around the perimeter of the floor to hold it down.
When you cut the last courses of flooring, be sure to cut the sections in the correct orientation, because they are not reversible.
Cutting laminate flooring produces plastic and wood shrapnel that can damage your eyes, so be sure to wear safety glasses. Use a push stick when ripping with a table saw and keep your hands away from the blade.
Tips and warnings
- When you cut the last courses of flooring, be sure to cut the sections in the correct orientation, because they are not reversible.
- Cutting laminate flooring produces plastic and wood shrapnel that can damage your eyes, so be sure to wear safety glasses.
- Use a push stick when ripping with a table saw and keep your hands away from the blade.