How to Install Laminate Flooring on Concrete Basement Floor

Laminate Flooring on Concrete Basement Floor

How to Install Laminate Flooring on Concrete Basement Floor

5 things you need to know about how to laminate basement floors and installing it in your basement:

1. Unlike hardwood floors, most laminate can be installed below grade as basement flooring and carry manufacturer warranties in doing so. Check the manufacturer warranty though first to ensure it below grade construction is included.

2. Laminate basement flooring needs to acclimate to it’s new home’s environment just like wood flooring. Store your laminate flooring in your home for five to seven days before you plan on installing it. This will give it sufficient time to become acclimated.

3. During installation, be sure to allow for a half inch around the perimeter as laminates expand and contract just like wood floors.

4. Even if your basement is dry, take the proper precautions before installing a basement flooring system. Subfloors can alleviate a ton of cost and suffering after a beautiful installation gets ruined via water damage.

5. I’m gonna sound like your mother here but wear some protection. Put on some safety goggles when using the power tools and such while installing your basement floor. You can put your eye out with one of those things.

Laminate basement flooring is a floating floor. That is it doesn’t get nailed down. This makes it very easy to put together and lay down on the basement floor.

Plus you get the added enjoyment and benefit of having it look just like a real hardwood floor. So, just exactly how do you install a laminate floor, keep reading.

How to install laminate flooring in the basement:

Follow these quick do-it-yourself steps for how to install laminate below grade

1. Put down the subfloor, vapor barrier and padding on the entire floor (If you haven’t read the post yet on basement flooring preparation, now would be a good time to do so). Usually, the vapor barrier and padding are included with the purchase of the laminate flooring.

2. Now you can start installing the laminate floor. First, using the tongue and groove, connect several planks together in a long row. Find a spare piece of wood (not the laminate) and use it to help you get the laminate in place. As you are attaching each piece, it may be necessary to put the spare piece of wood along side the laminate and tap it in to place in the grooves. The more planks you get on, the more sturdy and rigid the basement flooring becomes.

3. As you start adding additional rows to the basement flooring, be sure to stagger the seams. This will give the flooring additional strength as there is no clear break line.

4. You will eventually run across areas of the wall where you’re gonna have to cut the planks to fit. Measure the space between the wall and the installed boards and cut the plank. These planks are easily cut using a table saw.

Table saws are sturdy and much safer to use than a hand-held circular saw for this type of work. You might need to use a pry bar (a short version of a crow-bar, caw-caw) to get it in place so don’t worry.

5. For irregular areas like corners or around immovable objects like poles, use a jig saw to cut the appropriate shapes so your basement flooring fits snug.

6. Keep going laying down plank after plank until your entire basement floor is covered.

7. Once the basement flooring is laid in place, simply install some trim/base boards around the top surface and you’ll have a finished basement floor.

Laminate Basement Flooring Overview

Some people just love the look of a wood floor. Some people even want to put wood as basement flooring. Although very risky (not impossible, but risky), there are much safer and more durable alternatives than a wood basement floor.

Why not consider laminate for your basement flooring instead of the wood floors. Laminate flooring for basements is much more water resistant than wood.

Some laminate manufacturers even warranty their flooring for basements directly on the concrete, providing it has some type of underlay.

Although I personally wouldn’t install laminate basement flooring in that manner, I’d much rather utilize one of the basement subfloor strategies you can find clicking around this site and have the laminate over that.

Basically, laminate basement flooring is made of several layers of plastic-type resins. It’s then compressed under high pressure to a hard fiber or particleboard core. Then a type of melamine backing is applied and on the surface a printed pattern is placed.

Laminates can be made to look like basically any type of surface, but wood, marble and flagstone appearance seem to be the most common. But you do have a choice.

It’s typically put together in a tongue and groove fashion just like most natural wood flooring, however, unlike natural wood flooring, laminates are generally not attached to the subfloor.

Most laminates carry at least a 10 year warranty against fading or staining. You just need to keep in mind that if it does get wet and absorb moisture, it will damage it.

You can put precautions in place and you will probably hear a lot of difference of opinion on the subject of wet basements and if you should use laminate as a basement flooring.

If you’re not on the concrete though and using a subfloor like ones recommended on this site that sit off the concrete, I’d say if it’s what you want then why not.

Just be sure to read the manufacturer’s suggestions to ensure that they don’t advise against having theirs as laminate basement flooring, as some do advise against it.

Test out your basement floor first for moisture though cause when laminates go bad, they are hard to fix.

A key point to make about laminate basement flooring is that the basement floor needs to be flat. It has to be level. Uneven basement surfaces are not wise to install laminate flooring over.

A general rule of thumb for laminates is that within a 10 foot radius there shouldn’t be more than a 3/16 of an inch difference between the high and low spot. If there is you would need to start leveling basement floors. And you’d definitely want to fill in all the bumps and bruises along the way.

Still no worries though, there are plenty of float leveling products made to level floors and they will work just as well for basement flooring.

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