How to Finish Laminate Floors

Written by anne hirsh
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How to Finish Laminate Floors
Laminate floors require trim for a finished look. (Floor image by Einar Bog from Fotolia.com)

Laminate floors do not require any surface finishing, as the sealant or wood protectant is generally built into the flooring itself. However, to finish off a room with laminate flooring, you will most likely want to apply trim to each edge and a connector strip to transition from the laminate floor into the next room, if it does not have the same flooring. Finishing your laminate floor in this manner requires a few basic tools, but is not difficult.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Quarter-round moulding
  • Mitre saw
  • Wood glue
  • Finish nails
  • Hammer
  • Transition strips
  • Hand saw
  • Screws
  • Screw gun
  • Masking tape
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Wood touch-up marker

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the length of the wall in one corner where you have installed the flooring. Cut a piece of quarter-round moulding to that length, using a mitre saw to cut the appropriate angle. For example, in the corner where two walls meet, each piece of moulding should be cut at a 45-degree angle, with the longest part at the back where the wood meets the wall and the cut angling in toward the room side of the trim. For outside corners (for example, where the wall turns a corner into the next room), the angle is the opposite, with the longer edge of the wood toward the room and the 45-degree angle cutting back toward the wall side.

  2. 2

    Cut all of your moulding to the right size to complete the room, except for any doorways or transitions to other types of floor surfaces.

  3. 3

    Apply a thin line of wood glue to the back and bottom of each moulding strip before you put it in place, then hammer it down with a finish nail near each end and anywhere in the centre your trim is not flush with the wall. Finish nails have tiny heads that are nearly invisible when fully hammered in, but you may need to touch up over them with paint or wood-tone paint marker in some cases, especially with bowed walls that require more nails.

  4. 4

    Glue and nail each piece around the room until it is complete.

  5. 5

    Measure your openings at any doors or transitions to other flooring surfaces and cut your transition strip to the right length, using a hand saw. Many laminate floor manufacturers also sell transition strips that are the exact height for the thickness of their laminate floors, so use these whenever possible. Transitions to carpet may require a "T"-shaped transition strip that acts as a simple bridge between laminates and carpets of similar thicknesses. Reducer strips offer an angled or curved transition down to flooring that is thinner than the laminate.

  6. 6

    Attach your transition strip to the floor with the screws provided with the transition strip and a screw gun, or with finish nails if the strip doesn't come with pre-drilled screw holes.

  7. 7

    Mask off your laminate floor with painter's style masking tape, then paint your trim the same colour as your walls if you are planning to paint it, using a paintbrush. If you selected trim that matches your laminate and doesn't require painting, use a wood touch-up marker to touch up any visible nail heads. Remove the masking tape when you are finished painting or touching up.

Tips and warnings

  • Treat your laminate floor well to maintain its appearance. This means protecting it from scrapes by furniture legs or hard-soled shoes as well as cleaning up spills as soon as they occur and keeping the floor as moisture-free as possible.

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