common mistakes when laying laminate flooring

  • February 22, 2024

Avoid These Common Mistakes When Laying Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to give your home a fresh look. However, even with the best intentions and detailed instructions, it’s easy to make common mistakes when laying laminate flooring. In this guide, we’ll help you avoid those slip-ups to ensure you have a seamless flooring installation process.

Common Mistake 1: Not Preparing the Subfloor Properly

Before you proceed with installing your laminate flooring, it’s crucial to ensure that the subfloor is properly leveled and clean. A subfloor that’s not level can cause the laminate to buckle or warp in the long run, resulting in an uneven surface. Additionally, a dirty subfloor can cause adhesive and dust to stick to the bottom layer of the laminate.

One of the ways to ensure that the subfloor is placed correctly is to use a leveling compound to balance the substrate level. This ensures that the subfloor will not move after the laminate flooring is installed. Ensure that the subfloor is also clean, smooth, stable and free of debris.

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Common Mistake 2: Not Moisture-Proofing the Area

Moisture is one of the most significant threats to laminate flooring since it can cause it to swell, buckle or warp. It’s therefore vital to ensure that the area where you intend to install laminate flooring is moisture-proof.

You can buy a quality moisture barrier from any home goods store or hardware store near you to prevent any moisture from seeping into the laminate. Before laying down the planks, make sure to roll out plastic sheeting over the entire area, extending it up over the baseboards. Tape all the seams, as well.

Common Mistake 3: Not Giving the Planks Time to Acclimate to Room Temperature

Laminate flooring needs time to acclimate to the room temperature before being installed. The floor planks have to be stored in the room where they will be installed for no less than 72 hours. This condition allows the flooring material to adapt and conform to the climate, making sure that the planks won’t expand, shrink, or become damaged.

Also, avoid setting the planks next to windows or where direct sunlight can affect them. If you store the planks directly under the sun or a drafty, chilly place, the material can be damaged or warped. It’s better to store the planks at normal room temperature, which is around 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Common Mistake 4: Incorrect Measurement and Layout

Laminate installation requires accurate measurements and layout to ensure that the planks fit correctly. When measuring, take the square footage of the area where you intend to install the laminate flooring to determine how much flooring you need. Purchase an extra 10-15% of planks to account for cuts, waste, and necessary material.

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The mistake that people make is underestimating the amount of material needed or assuming that they can measure their space without including odd angles, irregular nooks, and closets. This mistake can result in an unfinished surface or gaps between the planks. Always measure accurately and use a flooring calculator to ensure you know how much material you need.

Common Mistake 5: Not Using the Right Tools and Equipment

Cutting corners and using the wrong tools can lead to errors and mistakes. Installing laminate flooring requires specific equipment and tools, depending on the type of flooring you choose to use.

Tools such as a pneumatic flooring stapler or nailer, a tapping block, a pull bar and a saw are necessary for the process. Make sure you have all the fitting equipment before starting the installation. Missing essential tools can cause damage to the laminate, making it unusable, or even cause injury to you or the people working with you.

Common Mistake 6: Not Allowing Enough Expansion Space

Laminate flooring, just like any material, expands and contracts. It does this in response to changes in humidity, temperature or moisture. Hence, it’s crucial to leave enough space for the laminate to expand or shift.

Some common mistakes people make include not leaving an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room (usually at 5/16 inches). Ideally, expansion space required for laminate should be half the width of an average board plus the 5/16 inches.


Q1. Is it necessary to nail or glue the laminate floor planks?

Ans: Laminate flooring comes in either glue-down or click-lock-and-go systems. Click-lock planks do not require glue or nails, making it a faster and more straightforward option. Glue-down planks will stick firmly to the subfloor and create a solid foundation for the laminate flooring.

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Q2. Can I lay laminate flooring over an existing rug or carpet?

Ans: No. You must first remove the carpet, rug or any other type of flooring before installing the laminate.

Q3. Is it necessary to use a moisture barrier?

Ans: Yes, it’s necessary to use a moisture barrier when installing laminate flooring. This will prevent moisture from seeping into the laminate and causing it to warp or buckle.

Q4. Can I install the planks in any direction?

Ans: It’s recommended that you install your laminate flooring parallel to the longest wall in your room to make it appear more spacious.

Q5. How long does it take to install laminate flooring?

Ans: The installation duration depends on the size of the room, the installation method used, and the experience of the installer. However, it typically takes 2-3 days to complete a small to a medium-sized room.


When installing laminate flooring, it’s essential to avoid the most common mistakes that homeowners make. Always ensure your subfloor is prepared correctly, moisture-proof your space, allow time for the planks to acclimate to the room temperature, take accurate measurements, use the correct tools and allow enough expansion space. If you stick to these guidelines and avoid these mistakes, you will have a smooth and successful laminate flooring installation process.