Laminate Flooring - Things To Consider Before You Buy

EDITOR 57
Posted 11th Dec 2019
Hey folks! I thought I'd write something that may help some of you with laminate flooring and making a choice. This is all down to my own experience and research when shopping around. I'm no pro but did pick up some things along the way that may prove useful.

This is primarily for those that don't really know about flooring, measurements and all that jazz. It may prompt buyers to ask additional questions or throw up some they didn't have before. To some it may all seem super easy, to others... not so much.

I've seen few comments in the past from members in the trade, which have offered additional advise, which is awesome. We need more of that! If anything crops up that may be of use here, I'll add it in.




Laminate flooring in general can seem a little tricky if you've not really delved in to it too much. It's much cheaper that using real wood flooring, but that doesn't really mean it's "worse" There are benefits to using laminate, besides it being cheaper. Here are a few things to consider:

Laminate vs Hardwood
Laminate is generally easier to maintain, more durable and resistant to scratches and moisture. Hardwood floors are super nice, but require a certain level of upkeep. So you can make a choice on what might suit you best.

What about the thickness?
In general thickness doesn't really translate into durability, but thinner laminates may be more susceptible to warping. In my experience buying the thickest you can afford in a design you like is the way to go. We used 12mm thick in our hallway and under the foot it's much closer to a real wood floor than I thought it was going to be.

How much laminate flooring will I need?
Stating the obvious here, but measure your room! Some might feel like they'll get it wrong, but it's not that difficult! There's an Online Square Footage Calculator that may be worth a bookmark. Also B&Q have an onsite calculator on each product page which costs it all up for you. All it needs is your room width and length.


B&Q Example based on 4m x 4m:
If you're looking at a flooring on B&Q then this makes it a tad easier. Find the product you want and the calculator sits right under the add to basket button. Pop in your measurements and hit 'Calculate' and you'll get all the info you'll need.

Tip:
Always buy extra just in case you need it! If you don't open the pack you should be able to return it to the store you bought it from within 28 days (May differ from retailer to retailer, so double check the store returns policy)

3360912.jpg


Buying Flooring and getting a professional to fit it
If you can get a free quote on floor fitting before you buy, that's always a plus. You know what you're dealing with then. You may want to ask how long that quote holds for, just in case and get it written down for reference if possible.

Buying from a flooring store and getting them to fit it?
Something to be aware of is getting quotes on flooring. If they come out to measure up for you, try to get some indication of pricing and include the cost of underlay too (Ideally individually, especially if there are different types). Give yourself a few price point options to consider and then at least you get a rough idea of the overall cost.

This goes for carpets too! You'll likely see extra charges for having staircases done, so having those added in there will be handy. There's usually a load of different underlay options, so grab the numbers for those too!

Costing is something you can of course work out yourself if you want to. Not everyone will be confident in doing that though, so just ask them! As many questions as you need to make sure you're getting what you need and want.



A Few Retailers and quick links to their Laminate sections




Community Updates
Megathread

Groups

Top comments
Tenex11/12/2019 13:00

A major problem for me was finishing an “open edge” above a short sta …A major problem for me was finishing an “open edge” above a short staircase. Never have found an aesthetically pleasing solution. Some ranges have details for edging but none seem to address ending at a mezzanine stair well.


Quickstep have a multi threshold strip for that sort of thing, can’t remember the name for it though, I’ll try and find a pic of one for you

Edit: this is a floor I laid going down some stairs. At the front of each step is an adjustable strip that is scored at the back so it can be shaped around and cut to the exact size needed, it comes with a little tool that cuts it for you. Perfect for what you needed.
Edited by: "INDUSTRYHATER" 11th Dec 2019
A room's that 4mx4m will need significantly more than 16 sq m. I know 4x4=16, but unless you are really lucky (winning the lottery 2 weeks in a row lucky) you are going to have to cut. Even if the laminate is 2m long you will need to cut at least one piece as you have to stagger joins, and then there is any cutting round pipes and corners etc . Best to buy a couple of packs extra and take back any full packs for a refund or credit.
Edited by: "Ringfinger" 11th Dec 2019
57 Comments
Don’t get cheap thin stuff if you want it to last, a bit of water seeps into the cracks and damages it too easily
Think wisely about which rooms you want laminate flooring in . If you need access at any time to pipework , electrics , shut off water valves etc that shiny new floor is going to have to come up again .
A major problem for me was finishing an “open edge” above a short staircase. Never have found an aesthetically pleasing solution. Some ranges have details for edging but none seem to address ending at a mezzanine stair well.
Thanks
Get plenty of batton for around the edges.
Get thin wood for use as spacers for the edge gap
Plastic sheet under the underlay on ground floor.
Allow the packs to acclimate to room temperature
Edited by: "esar" 11th Dec 2019
A room's that 4mx4m will need significantly more than 16 sq m. I know 4x4=16, but unless you are really lucky (winning the lottery 2 weeks in a row lucky) you are going to have to cut. Even if the laminate is 2m long you will need to cut at least one piece as you have to stagger joins, and then there is any cutting round pipes and corners etc . Best to buy a couple of packs extra and take back any full packs for a refund or credit.
Edited by: "Ringfinger" 11th Dec 2019
Tenex11/12/2019 13:00

A major problem for me was finishing an “open edge” above a short sta …A major problem for me was finishing an “open edge” above a short staircase. Never have found an aesthetically pleasing solution. Some ranges have details for edging but none seem to address ending at a mezzanine stair well.


Quickstep have a multi threshold strip for that sort of thing, can’t remember the name for it though, I’ll try and find a pic of one for you

Edit: this is a floor I laid going down some stairs. At the front of each step is an adjustable strip that is scored at the back so it can be shaped around and cut to the exact size needed, it comes with a little tool that cuts it for you. Perfect for what you needed.
Edited by: "INDUSTRYHATER" 11th Dec 2019
Watch a few YouTube videos for some tips and tricks
This is a great guide, thanks OP. Any thoughts about vinyl? Thickness, tiles vs sheet etc?
chance18917/12/2019 09:30

This is a great guide, thanks OP. Any thoughts about vinyl? Thickness, …This is a great guide, thanks OP. Any thoughts about vinyl? Thickness, tiles vs sheet etc?


Vinyl is much nicer, if you have good flat floors or underfloor heating go LVT. I did complete groundfloor of our new build with Amtico click tiles (ceramic ecru design), they just lock together and have a built in underlay. Doesn't sound hollow to walk on either. Comparable to Karndean which is glued down.
I wouldn't call laminate durable as such. If there is even the slighest chance of water going down the gaps, I wouldn't get it.

chance18917/12/2019 09:30

This is a great guide, thanks OP. Any thoughts about vinyl? Thickness, …This is a great guide, thanks OP. Any thoughts about vinyl? Thickness, tiles vs sheet etc?


Feels more pleasant in bare feet, will probably look more luxurious, properly waterproof. On the other hand likely to be a more expensive and very intolerant of uneven underfloors.

There's no right answer. Carpet is the great all-rounder, really.
I was surprised by installation costs. About 45m2, granted a few fiddly bits as we have bays and fireplacces, but nothing major, quoted around £1500 for labour by two seperate businesses as a one-person job. I assumed it would only take 2x days...
EndemicAlarm23/01/2020 14:05

Carpet is the great all-rounder, really.


Unless you have kittens with muddy paws.
darkovo11/12/2019 12:15

Don’t get cheap thin stuff if you want it to last, a bit of water seeps i …Don’t get cheap thin stuff if you want it to last, a bit of water seeps into the cracks and damages it too easily


So I was looking at this, which is definitely right at the cheap end...
saleflooringdirect.co.uk/ite…tml
If you’re in flats check out the T&Cs of the building some don’t allow non-carpet as it’s noisy for the people below you
Other thing to consider. Flat ethernet wiring.

You may or may not want to add this because I wanted to have ethernet to wherever I wanted because WiFi is always an issue and I've had expensive set ups without luck but with ethernet you can't get a better signal and it's cheaper so if your doing flooring it's a good time to consider this. So I did my flooring and I found out that you can buy flat wiring, I actually knew this but I didn't consider this under flooring and you don't have to have wires going through walls or trunking around the house you simply put it on the floor and lay the flooring on top. It can go upstairs or wherever. I did my flooring and remembered I forgot something after the flooring had been completed I remembered I had forgotten to do this.
Edited by: "MR1123" 23rd Jan
screwfix.com/p/m…7ft


Buy a profile tool. Makes doing those awkward bits around door frames so easy. I’ve got so quick at doing laminates that ive done a dozen floors for mates now for beer money. Once you’ve done one well, people start asking you to do their house all the time. As asc91 says above, pro quotes to do it are insanely expensive, I did a hall last month for £200 in six hours, the quotes they’ve had before were all over £600
Edited by: "More_Chips" 23rd Jan
Anyone have any experience of underfloor heating and laminate?
Nice, useful guide.

I wish something like this was available last year when we got our bathroom fitted out with Palio Core.
Your relationship with your neighbours or whoever is downstairs.
Notes-
- Youtube is your friend on how things are done
- There were schools of thought that you should face boards perpendicular with windows but I've seen many which doesn't do that and look Ok.
- Plan ahead for the colour edging you want, sometimes you cannot get a grain match for the edging strips (links between floor and tile/carpet)

Tools -
- Mini-plunge saws are pointless, you may aswell use a circular saw as it does a very similar job.
- Multitool would be useful for those framed corners,
- Fine tooth tenon or hand saw could be useful too, especially for the edging, not tried it with a japanese pull saw but good excuse to buy one if you are doing it,
- Square (obviously)
- Workbench/stool etc,
- Mask, pretty sure its carcinogenic

Hindsight notes:
- Have you looked at LVT? They can be waterproof, v hard wearing, and most importantly- wont expand.
- Heated flooring compatibility? Electric/water?
- Diagonal/Parquet pattern, definitely doing that for the next build, doesnt take much more work but looks very custom made
Edited by: "Inquisitor" 23rd Jan
HottUKDealer23/01/2020 14:15

If you’re in flats check out the T&Cs of the building some don’t allow non …If you’re in flats check out the T&Cs of the building some don’t allow non-carpet as it’s noisy for the people below you


Are new builds 21dB now? Thin LVTs may not help.

In this respect, I'd check out Evocore - engineered vinyl tiles, thick - sound resistance is greater than 21dB too. Better all round alternative to LVTs
I would avoid the foil backed underlay. We used it upstairs and it affected our WiFi signal.
One part that can be expensive is the Scotia beading. Places like B&Q are a disgrace at about £7 for 2.2m. I got 10 x 2.4m from Flooring Direct for 2.39 each delivered in 48 hours.
..worth considering there for the boards and underlay too. (Discount code = SAVE)

When it comes to the install I had conflicting advice when it came to lining up or not lining up the seams (like brickwork). All the "experts" say Do not line up the seams. But i find it depends if the seams butt right up to the wood or if there's a bevelled edge. I lined up my seams and I think it looks great. Couldn't bare to have random seams in a square room. Also B&Q video and manufacturers diagram showed lined-up seams.
Also I think some professionals tell you what looks best when in actual fact it's more a case of it's cheaper and quicker for them to do.
Yeah I prefer the randomness of appearance of planks in a room anyway, just feels more natural. Laminates do have plank repeats, typically expect to get anywhere in the region of 8-12 different designs. So if you do line them up like brick work, you can expect to see the same plank lining up directly too
Edited by: "DarrylJohn" 23rd Jan
B&Q Flooring & Tiling Employee here and this is a hilarious thread to read haha
If you are a costco member they do a forrester laminate flooring in oak and I think another colour. Its 12 mm thick and has a rubber underlay already stuck to every board. It looks great, is really durable and easy to fit. Also they put it on offer several times a year. From memory it works out at about 10 pounds per metre when on offer. It is very substantial and people are amazed at how cheap it is and how expensive it looks.
kellyw2823/01/2020 15:14

I would avoid the foil backed underlay. We used it upstairs and it …I would avoid the foil backed underlay. We used it upstairs and it affected our WiFi signal.


Omg all these years I was wondering why my WiFi went from great to rubbish and I couldn't figure out what is causing it. I even looked at any that I might have changed and totally forgot that's the change, foiled underlay
Joshua437823/01/2020 14:21

Anyone have any experience of underfloor heating and laminate?


I have fitted Costco 'Golden Select' laminate flooring on the ground and first floor of a three storey house. Both are underfloor heated. The expansion gaps are critical but can be concealed by fitting the skirting boards after. After a year we have had no problems whatsoever. Golden Select comes with it's own underlay. Costco now also do a waterproof vinyl board which is superb but more expensive.
Edited by: "dogpatch" 23rd Jan
Selco do a good range of wood laminate and vinyl, can get some great bargains when the have reductions on. Though, you do need a trade account, but if you can get/qualify a Costco card you can likely get a selco account too.
8mm thick laminate is ideal size as it is flexible and not too thick so that will not lock properly especially if the floor is not perfectly flat. From durability point of view the thickness is not the deciding factor as the quality of the board is more important. In my view some of the own brands of major outlets should be avoided due to poor board quality which will be difficult to work with.
EndemicAlarm23/01/2020 14:05

I wouldn't call laminate durable as such. If there is even the slighest …I wouldn't call laminate durable as such. If there is even the slighest chance of water going down the gaps, I wouldn't get it.Feels more pleasant in bare feet, will probably look more luxurious, properly waterproof. On the other hand likely to be a more expensive and very intolerant of uneven underfloors.There's no right answer. Carpet is the great all-rounder, really.


Hygiene of carpet vs hard flirting is non comparable though. No matter what hoover you have and how many tines a day you might hoover.
Slightly off topic as carpet related but how does one deal with creaky/wobbly/sprung floorboards? Do carpet fitters fix the floorboards prior to laying the carpet or does new underlay help with the creaking etc issues?
Forget beading, remove the skirting and do it properly. If you have pry bars, you can often remove the skirting without breaking it and then sand it back, repaint and put it back on again almost like new. Skirting sat on top of the edges is a far cleaner look.
bibekpd23/01/2020 20:33

Slightly off topic as carpet related but how does one deal with …Slightly off topic as carpet related but how does one deal with creaky/wobbly/sprung floorboards? Do carpet fitters fix the floorboards prior to laying the carpet or does new underlay help with the creaking etc issues?


You need to fix them yourself. The thicker floorboards you buy it will help but I would fix them. Get screws from Screwfix or somewhere and use a stud finder to make sure you don't hit the pipes, I would actually just leave the floorboards that have the pipes alone unless your certain. And remember how to stop the water to the boiler just incase and run all the taps in the bathroom and kitchen to empty the water so it doesn't all come out the leak. Make sure you have cover for this incase. If you hit the pipe, do not take the screw out, leave as it is. Buy some pumbling tape, I don't know the actual name but it seals leaks even if water is pumping out of it.
MR112323/01/2020 21:37

You need to fix them yourself. The thicker floorboards you buy it will …You need to fix them yourself. The thicker floorboards you buy it will help but I would fix them. Get screws from Screwfix or somewhere and use a stud finder to make sure you don't hit the pipes, I would actually just leave the floorboards that have the pipes alone unless your certain. And remember how to stop the water to the boiler just incase and run all the taps in the bathroom and kitchen to empty the water so it doesn't all come out the leak. Make sure you have cover for this incase. If you hit the pipe, do not take the screw out, leave as it is. Buy some pumbling tape, I don't know the actual name but it seals leaks even if water is pumping out of it.


As I expected then. Thinking of getting new carpets over the summer so probably best to lift them up a day before or so and sort out the floorboards before new one is fitted. I'll keep in mind about being cautious around the pipes! Cheers!
Brilliant thread @NeoTrix well done
MR112323/01/2020 21:37

Buy some pumbling tape, I don't know the actual name but it seals leaks …Buy some pumbling tape, I don't know the actual name but it seals leaks even if water is pumping out of it.


Please don't fix pipes with tape. a leak upstairs can cause so much damage. Call a plumber or if you are brave use some decent push fit (as long as you are certain it's metric not imperial pipe)
Thanks
Post a comment
Avatar
@
    Text

    Discussions

    Top Merchants