When it comes to installing laminate flooring, the underlay is just as important as the flooring itself. The underlay is what provides a stable, level base for the flooring to sit on, and can help to reduce noise and improve insulation. If you’re installing laminate flooring on a concrete subfloor, there are a few things you need to know about choosing and installing the right underlay.
Firstly, it’s important to understand the properties of concrete. Concrete is a hard, solid material, but it’s not completely smooth or level. Concrete subfloors can have bumps, dips, and cracks that need to be addressed before you can install a laminate floor. Additionally, concrete is a porous material that can absorb moisture, so it’s important to choose an underlay that provides a moisture barrier.
Choosing the Right Underlay
When choosing an underlay for a laminate floor on concrete, there are a few factors to consider:
- Moisture resistance: Look for an underlay with a built-in moisture barrier, or choose a separate moisture barrier to install underneath the underlay.
- Thickness: A thicker underlay can help to level out minor imperfections in the concrete subfloor and provide more cushioning underfoot.
- Noise reduction: Some underlays are designed specifically to reduce noise from foot traffic, which can be especially important if you live in an apartment or have a room directly above a living space.
Preparing the Subfloor
Before installing the underlay and laminate flooring, it’s important to prepare the concrete subfloor:
- Clean the subfloor thoroughly to remove any debris, dust, or dirt.
- Fill in any cracks or gaps in the subfloor with a concrete patching compound. Allow the compound to dry completely before proceeding.
- Use a self-leveling compound to level out any major dips or bumps in the subfloor. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
- Install the moisture barrier if necessary, making sure to overlap the edges and tape them securely.
Installing the Underlay and Laminate Flooring
Once the subfloor is prepped and the underlay is chosen, it’s time to install the underlay and laminate flooring:
- Lay the underlay out over the entire subfloor, making sure to overlap the edges and tape them securely.
- Start laying the laminate flooring along one wall, making sure to leave a small gap between the flooring and the wall to allow for expansion. Use spacers to maintain the gap.
- Continue laying the flooring in rows, snapping the pieces together using the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Trim the final row of laminate flooring to fit using a saw, making sure to leave a small gap between the flooring and the wall.
- Install any necessary transition pieces or trim to finish the edges of the flooring.
Installing laminate flooring on a concrete subfloor requires careful preparation and the right choice of underlay. By choosing an underlay with a built-in moisture barrier, addressing any imperfections in the subfloor, and following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, you can create a beautiful and durable laminate floor that will last for years to come.