Many homeowners like laminate flooring because it simulates the look of natural flooring materials such as wood and stone—but at a cheaper price. More than this, laminate flooring is popular especially among homeowners who perform do-it-yourself improvements because laminate flooring is reasonably easy to install, owing to the floor plank's tongue and groove design that makes installation literally a snap. This article explains the procedure for checking the installation of laminate flooring regardless of whether you installed it yourself or through a hired professional.
Since laminate flooring is made of fibrous base material, the best time to check the quality of its installation is two days after, at the very least. Laminate floors are of the floating type—they are not directly connected to the rest of the house, although each laminate floor plank is connected to each other. Laminate floors, therefore, need extra space on the edges to expand. The usual amount of time for laminate floors to completely acclimate to the room is about two days.
One of the first things that you must look for in a newly installed laminate floor is the threshold accessory. Threshold accessories are installed between at the edges where the laminate flooring ends and where non-laminate flooring begins. Usually, threshold accessories are installed at the flooring edge under the doors. The threshold accessory must not brush the bottom of the door when the door is opened. Otherwise, the accessory and the laminate planks near the door might get scratched. The door should be able to swing freely when opened.
Another thing to look out for is creaking noise when one walks on the laminate floor. The creaking noise could be a potential sign of inadequate underlayment or gaps between planks. Underlayer material cushions the floor and helps minimize noise. Although some laminate planks are manufactured with attached underlayment, the material may be providing insufficient cushion, depending on the type of subflooring. Insufficient underlayment not only results in creaking but may also ineffectively minimize moisture buildup. Creaking noises can also be a sign of loosely attached planks. To avoid too much creaks, the planks must snap together at the tongue and groove and must be attached snugly to each other.
Also, a well-installed laminate floor is flat and even. Uneven surfaces on laminate flooring usually are signs of uneven subflooring. If the subflooring is a new concrete floor, the concrete must be allowed to completely cure before the laminate planks are installed. Noticeable “dimples” on the floor need to be evened out. Another cause for uneven laminate flooring surfaces is leftover padding from a previous installation on the subflooring. Such padding can be cleaned out by scraping.
Laminate floors are popular because they are cheap and easy to install. Updating or upgrading old floors becomes extremely easy for homeowners who don’t want to install flooring that requires nailing, sanding, staining, or finishing. Laminate floors are reasonably durable, too, because they are scratch-, dent-, fade-, and stain-resistant. No wonder laminate floors have become well-loved in the home decorating industry.