Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

Looking to sidestep common mistakes when laying laminate flooring? No worries! We’ve tapped into the expertise of professionals to unveil the most prevalent blunders, ensuring you’re well-prepared to successfully install your own laminate floor.

Laminate flooring offers the appeal of wood or stone floors without the hefty price tag of natural materials. Thanks to technological advancements, there’s now a wide array of high-quality, budget-friendly laminate options that are both durable and low maintenance. 

Subfloor Preparation​
Subfloor Preparation​

Subfloor Preparation

Before you start laying laminate flooring, it’s crucial to get the foundation, known as the subfloor, just right. The quality of your new floor hinges on it!

The subfloor must be level, dry, clean, and structurally sound before installing laminate. Ignoring this essential step can lead to problems like uneven floors, annoying squeaks, or even buckling—common mistakes when laying laminate flooring.

To ensure your laminate floor lasts, you need a smooth, level surface that’s free from dirt and moisture. That means bidding farewell to any old floor coverings and, if necessary, doing some repair work to achieve that even surface. 

Depending on your existing floor’s material and condition, this might involve sanding plywood floorboards, applying a cement compound, or installing hardboard sheets.

To check if it’s level, use a 2m spirit level or a straight edge laid across the floor. It should be level to within 2mm over 2m. This solid foundation is your best defense against laminate flooring mishaps, ensuring a smooth and quiet floor.

Acclimation Time​
Acclimation Time​

Acclimation Time

Laminate flooring is composed of natural wood fibers, requires a crucial phase called acclimation to adapt to your home’s interior conditions. Neglecting this step is one of the most common errors homeowners make.

Before you start installing your laminate flooring, it’s imperative to heed the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding acclimation time. Similar to various wood floor types, laminate needs to become acquainted with the environment where it will be placed.

Laminate requires a minimum of 48 hours to acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity levels before installation. Failing to do so can result in post-installation expansion or contraction, leading to undesirable gaps or buckling. 

Furthermore laminate responds to temperature variations, and since it may have been stored in a colder warehouse, giving it this time can prevent issues like gaps or cracks from appearing once it’s laid.

Additionally, take care when storing laminate flooring before installation. Avoid leaning packs of flooring against a wall for extended periods, as this is one of the most common mistakes when laying laminate flooring and can lead to warping of the boards.

Flooring Underlayment​
Flooring Underlayment​

Flooring Underlayment

When it comes to common mistakes when laying laminate flooring, one that often trips people up is not giving due attention to the underlayment. Some folks skip underlayment, thinking it’s an unnecessary cost. However, this little helper brings a bunch of perks. It adds extra comfort to your footsteps, muffles those annoying noises, and keeps your space warm – something we all appreciate nowadays.

Now, for laminate flooring, underlayment plays a starring role. It provides that soft cushioning, reduces noise, and shields against moisture. But here’s the kicker: If you don’t install it correctly or use a subpar underlayment, your floor might feel unstable, creak and groan, or even get damaged.

Additionally, you can’t just use any old underlayment. What you need is a specialized 2-3mm high-density foam or rubber underlayment designed specifically for laminate wood flooring; it’s a game-changer.

Laminate flooring isn’t picky, but it has a simple rule: use the correct underlayment. If you pick the wrong one, your floor could spring and bounce like a trampoline, which isn’t enjoyable.

Laminate Flooring Expansion Gap​
Laminate Flooring Expansion Gap​

Laminate Flooring Expansion Gap

When it comes to common mistakes when laying laminate flooring , here’s a crucial rule: always leave an expansion gap. Think of it as giving your floor some room to breathe and stretch. Just like how we all need space to move around comfortably, laminate flooring needs room to flex a little. Without it, your hard work could end up in total ruin.

So, where should you create this gap? Well, it’s simple. Along the edges of the room and around things that don’t move, like columns or fireplace hearths. Not doing this can lead to your floor buckling or forming bumps.

Now, how big should this gap be? At least 10mm is the magic number. You can use handy 10mm spacers to make sure it’s just right. And remember, anything that’s in the way, whether it’s walls, doorways, fireplaces, or radiator pipes, they all need to have space for expansion.

Lastly, if you skip this expansion gap, those wooden boards can start pushing against obstacles. Your whole floor can lift and become wobbly. It’s the top reason why laminate floors turn into bounce houses with annoying creaks.

Laminate Flooring Direction Change​
Laminate Flooring Direction Change​

Laminate Flooring Direction Change

Believe it or not, the way you lay those laminate planks can totally transform your room’s vibe. If you pick the wrong direction, like going against the light or following the longest wall, your room might end up feeling all cramped, and your floor will look wonky.

Furthermore it’s all about the space and what you like. But here’s a recommendation – lay out the flooring before you lock it in place. This way, you can see which direction looks the absolute best.

So, when it comes to your laminate floor’s direction, take a moment to think it through. It’s like picking the perfect outfit for your room!

common mistakes when laying laminate flooring
Incorrect Floor Maintenance​

Incorrect Floor Maintenance

Floor care is essential to keep your laminate floor looking fantastic. Here’s how to do it the right way:

1. Furniture Protection

After installation, shield your floor from big, heavy furniture by adding soft felt pads to their legs and stands. Don’t forget to place mats at external doorways to trap dirt and moisture.

Preferrably kitchens and all heavy furniture should be installed before you install your laminate floor. Laminate floors are always laid as a floating floor over underlay. 

If a heavy kitchen is placed on top of this type of installation it can stop it from expanding and contracting and this can cause it to pinch and become unstable, another cause of bouncy and creaky laminate floors.

2. Water Mitigation

Water and laminate don’t mix well. Even though good laminate has joint protection, avoid leaving standing water or soaking your floor. Instead, clean it with a well-wrung mop or a spray mop to prevent water damage.

3. Steam Mops Warning

While steam mops are popular, they’re not good for laminate flooring. The high heat can make your floor swell and trap moisture between the planks, leading to bubbling, chipping, splitting, or unclicking over time.

By following these simple steps, you’ll keep your laminate floor looking like new for years to come.

Laminate Flooring Installation Chicago​

Laminate Flooring Installation Chicago

Common mistakes when laying laminate flooring can trip up DIY beginners. These errors often result from inadequate preparation and impatience. To ensure a successful outcome, take your time to get organized, gather the necessary tools for laminate flooring, and avoid rushing through the project. It’s crucial to be aware of the common mistakes when laying laminate flooring so you can achieve a smooth and successful result.


Lastly Simple Flooring can help you navigate the challenges of laminate flooring installation Chicago. We’ve got the expertise to ensure a smooth and successful result. Contact us today to get started

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