You Can Install Laminate Flooring!

Laminate flooring is a hard floor made with layers of several different materials, including wood, plastic, cardboard and glue squeezed together under pressure.  This process makes laminate floor very strong and durable.  Though it is a recent invention, laminate floor has become extremely popular because of its simple installation.  Laminate flooring is widely available all over the United States.  Most hardware stores and home centers carry a wide selection of laminate so you can get the look you want at the price that is right for you.  Just about any homeowner can install laminate floor using common tools.  If you are looking for a hard floor alternative to carpet, but you are not ready to commit to hardwood or stone, you should have laminate floor on your short list.

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Installing laminate is a simple procedure.  The first step is to remove the existing flooring.  Be sure to remove any glue, nails or staples protruding from the subfloor.  Once the floor is smooth, you will be ready to install the new floor.  Start by placing the substrate, which is usually a thin layer of plastic foam.  You can secure the substrate with a few pieces of tape at the edges and seams.

Pieces of laminate floor are designed to snap together like enormous puzzle pieces.  Because it is an artificially manufactured product, there are typically six or eight different patterns in a box of laminate floor.  Mixing the pieces will ensure that two pieces of the same pattern will not be too close together when the floor is finished.  Plans for this now, and your installation will go much more quickly.  Now, you can begin placing the pieces of laminate.

Start in a corner, by snapping a row of laminate; use a saw to cut the last piece to fit.  Leave a ¼-inch gap between the laminate and the wall to allow for expansion.  Now, you will place the next row; be sure to begin with a cut piece so that the joints will be staggered.  Once you have the entire floor in place, install the baseboard of your choice to cover the ¼-inch gap.

Laminate flooring allows you to get the look of traditional hardwood, tile or stone floor, but is much simpler to install.  Laminate flooring is available in just about any color and design that you can imagine.  If you are a do-it-yourselfer looking for a quick and easy way to dramatically change the look of your home, laminate flooring may be a great choice for you.

What Is Dry Rot and What Should I Do About It?

The first thing to remember when dealing with dry rot is that the name is misleading. Dry rot is not normal decomposition. It is decay caused by several species of fungi. The word dry is somewhat misleading as well, as fungi require moisture to do their dirty work. The wood can have the appearance of dryness, however, once the fungi have completely weakened the wood.

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Needless to say, this is an extremely dangerous condition. Anything that relies on the wood’s structural integrity is at risk of collapse. It is important that you know what to look for and what you can to do about it.

Identification. Dry rot begins simply, with the introduction of microscopic spores into the wood. Over time, they proliferate. You may begin to notice changes in the wood’s appearance. It may take on mushroom-colored appearance in the early stages of infestation. More advanced cases will show a white, wool-like, fungus eventually giving way to a splotchy brown or dark brown discoloration mixed with orange or rust. Wood that is completely infested will be crumbly, and some parts could be so weak they are all but pulverized.

  • Seriously infected wood will have a damp, musty odor.

Treatment. Nevertheless, hope is not lost. Caught early, wood infested with dry rot can be treated. You’ll need wood stabilizer and wood filler, both available at your local hardware store. You’ll also need two paintbrushes, a chisel or a saw, and don’t forget gloves and safety goggles. Follow the four-step treatment process below.

1. Stop the source of any leaks that may be responsible for the condition.

2. If the infected area is small enough to be removed without doing serious structural damage, go ahead and use a chisel, or a saw if needed, and remove it.

  • It is of the utmost importance that you remove every last piece of infected wood. Leaving only a little behind is enough to start the whole process rolling again.

3. You will need to treat any uninfected wood that may have bordered the infected swatch with wood stabilizer. Apply the glue-like stabilizer in even layers with one of the paintbrushes. When you’re through, discard the brush. You won’t be able to re-use it. Give the stabilizer a few hours to dry.

4. Apply a layer of wood filler over the stabilizer. Allow it to dry completely before adding a second coat.

  • All wood repair of this sort should be performed on the least humid day possible.
  • Dispose of infected wood promptly. Fungus can spread.
  • Safety first: Wear gloves and goggles when handling and applying chemicals.

Prevention. Of course, the best way to treat dry rot is to do your best to prevent it in the first place. Boric acid, also known as borate, can act as a fungicide. Most hardware stores stock the chemical either by itself or as part of a dry rot treatment kit.

Regular borate is water-soluble and will be ineffective in wet areas. If you are treating wood where there is some degree of liquid water, you will need to use fused borate. Talk to your hardware store sales associate if you are unsure of what to use.

  • Remember, dry rot is not actually dry. The most effective preventative measure you can take is to eliminate as much excess moisture as possible. Pay attention to leaking pipes or faucets and address their cause as soon as possible.

Early identification and treatment of dry rot is essential to preventing serious damage. With a few simple chemicals and a little bit of work, you can ensure a structurally sound home.

Find the laminate flooring that “clicks” with you

One of the best ways to totally change the layout of a room is to change the floor. Laminate flooring allows you to make an elegant improvement to your abode without breaking the bank. But once you’ve chosen laminate flooring, you have many more choices to make. This guide gives you all the specifics that will help you tailor your decision for the best laminate flooring for your home.

First, you should understand what laminate flooring is. Laminate flooring usually has four layers. The back layer may provide water-resistance, as well the solid support for the floor. The core layer is made of a fiberboard to add strength and stability. The third layer is decorative. This is where the image you have chosen is laid. The last layer is the wear or surface layer, the one you will be able to feel. Additionally, if you choose, many brands offer noise-dampening materials that will reduce sound spreading from room to room.

Since you are considering how your choice of the best laminate flooring will wear, you need to understand Abrasion Class (AC) ratings. This is a determination made by a neutral third party about the hardiness of a particular laminate. The higher the AC rating, the greater the durability and price. Laminates with AC ratings 1-3 are designed for the home. If you are putting in flooring in a very-low traffic area, you may be able to get away with an AC1. Otherwise, AC2 or AC3 may be better able to provide you the sturdiness for your daily life. Ratings AC4 and AC5 designate laminates appropriate for either average or heavy commercial use.

One of the many benefits to the best laminate flooring is that you can choose the surface that will better suit your environment. If you want a clean-looking wear layer that is easy to clean, consider a smooth surface. If you’re hoping for flooring that looks more like the original hardwood, stone or tile, selecting a textured surface will provide a feel that is close to the image below. Or if you are the type who wants your home to appear well-settled, choose the distressed look. Finally, for those who desire the greatest authenticity, embossed in registration provides a wear layer that perfectly matches the grain of the wood image.

Now that you’ve chosen your surface type, it’s time to discuss colors. Perhaps you’d like a warm oak, or a meek, unassuming maple. Bold, dark walnut, bright cherry, and enigmatic tigerwood are all available at a reasonable price. If you are looking for tile or stone laminate, colors range from the palest cream or grey to the blackest slate.

Finally, you must consider the various installation types. People love the best laminate flooring because it’s so easy to install themselves. But how easy do you need it to be? The most popular and well-known is the glueless click installation, where you need only fit one piece into a tongue-and-groove and snap it in. If you want the most solid and dependable installation, try glued laminate. This simply means that you will apply your own glue to the joints and allow it to dry. If you want the benefit of the glue without all the work, you should look for pre-glued joints. They already have the glue laid in the proper locations. All you need to do is moisten the glue and attach.

You know what you need to know to pick the best laminate flooring. All you have to do now is buy, install, and enjoy your new space.

Laying Down Laminate: How to Install Your New Floor

Laminate flooring comes in a wide variety of styles, is easy to clean, and it is very durable. Installing a laminate floor is also a relatively simple process, making it an ideal project if you are a DIY enthusiast looking to improve your home. If you want to know how to install laminate flooring, just follow these simple steps:

  • Step One – Allow your laminate flooring to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room in which it is being installed by laying out the packages of flooring in that room 48 hours prior to when you plan to install it.

  • Step Two – Remove any trim and base molding with a hammer and pry bar. Clean the sub-floor completely, careful to remove all dirt and debris. For the best end result, it’s vital to have a clean, flat surface with which to work.

  • Step Three – If you are installing your laminate floor over concrete, lay down a moisture barrier – usually a sheet of plastic six or eight millimeters thick – as directed by the manufacturer of the flooring. If you are installing on top of a wood floor, this liner is not required.

  • Step Four – Cut the doorjambs so that the flooring will fit under them. Use a piece of the flooring you plan to install to make a measurement, and make the cut with a trim saw. This is easier and less time-consuming than trying to cut the flooring to fit around the jambs.

  • Step Five – Now, you are ready to start installing. Some flooring brands will come with an under-layering that you need to lay down prior to installing, while others will have that layer already attached to the planks. Lay your first plank parallel to the longest wall in the room and with the groove facing the wall, then place half-inch spacers between the plank and the wall.

  • Step Six – This is where knowledge of how to install laminate flooring becomes vital. Trim the plank for the second row so that it ends six or eight inches before the previous row. Installing in this manner makes the floor stronger and also avoids too much uniformity in it’s appearance. When you have the piece trimmed, tap the tongue of the second plank into the the groove of the first plank using a discarded piece of flooring, or something else relatively soft, to protect the planks. Make sure that the pieces fit snugly together.

  • Step Seven – Continue to install planks in this manner, staggering the ends six or eight inches each time, and be sure to place half-inch spacers between planks and walls. This allows the floor to “breathe,” which will prevent warping and cracking. Don’t worry about the appearance of the gaps, as they’ll later be covered by the base molding.

  • Step Eight – The final plank will have to be measured and ripped prior to installation. Don’t forget to account for the spacer between the plank and the wall when you make your measurement. When the cut is made, install the plank and gather your base molding and door thresholds.

  • Step Nine – Remove your half-inch spacers from between the flooring and walls, then install the base molding and door thresholds.

Learning how to install laminate flooring really is as simple as that. The end result is well worth the effort. Just remember that, even more than usual, it’s important to be careful with your measurements and cuts, as replacing a mis-cut laminate flooring plank isn’t as simple as just grabbing another piece of lumber off the pile.