• Power saw
• Tapping block
• Tapping bar
• Choice of flooring product
• Eye Protection
• Pry Bar (for removing existing moulding)
Laminate flooring is a product that has been available to the home market over the past several years. High quality laminate boards are stain and scratch resistant and virtually maintenance free. This popular product can be installed over existing floors like linoleum or wood. In the past, the trick to these floors was gluing them planks together…a messy, time consuming process. However, a new generation of laminate floor has eliminated the glue and replaced it with a mechanical process.
BHK of America has developed laminate flooring called “UNICLIC” and just as the name sounds, the floor locks and clicks together. This new procedure expedites the process by as much as 50% according to the manufacturer. The individual panels lock into place because the tongue and groove snaps firmly into an elastic lip.
-Before you begin, remove the plastic from the individual boxes of panels and separate into stacks away from walls. Allow the panels to sit for 48 hours inside the house so they will acclimatize.
-Remove all the molding from the room (the manufacturer provides matching molding) and sweep so the new flooring will rest on a clean floor.
-If there is a door in the room, slip one panel underneath to make sure the door will clear.
-Check and see if the doorframe goes all the way to the floor. If it does remove enough of the frame with a saw so that the new boards will slip snugly underneath, flush with the wall.
-Next, lay and cut to size the moisture proof foam provided by the manufacturer. Use a moisture resistant tape to attach the panels and make sure there are no gaps.
INSTALLING THE FLOOR:
As far as the pattern goes, this floor is installed the same way. You want to mix the grains of wood from different boxes and shorten some of the panels so the pattern will be staggered. But you also need to trim some of the boards so they will rest flush against the wall.
-From the first board of the first row cut off the lip from the width and the length. For those boards that will be placed against the wall remove only the lip from the long side. On the boards on the front row cut only the lip from the short side.
-Shorten every second and third board so that the pattern will be staggered. For instance shorten panel number two by 15 inches, panel three by 30, etc. etc.
-You can start the floor in any direction, but in this example we’ll work from right to left and from top to bottom on each row.
-Snap the first two boards together. Place the lip into the groove at a 20-30 degree angle, push it down, and snap it into place.
-Now place another board behind the board starting the second row, snap into place, and then using the Tapping Block, hammer it up until the joints seal.
-Go back to the first row and place another board behind the first, snap into place, and tap until the joints seal (remember, this outlying board is the one that has the lip removed from the length side)
-Take another full board and insert it in row two (remember to mix your pattern as you go).
-Now start the third row using the shortest board (remember the lip is removed from the width side) snapping it into place.
-Take another full board and place it behind that one.
-Continue to work down and across, clicking and tapping
After the first three rows are assembled, begin placing spacers along the front and sides of the wall. These spacers are up to 5/16ths wide and serve a very important function. The spacers will allow the floor to expand and contract without buckling.
For the best looking floor run the grain, the length of the boards in the same direction as incoming sunlight. Also the best place to start your floor is an area that has the highest visibility. The joints will be uniform, longer, and more aesthetically pleasing.
FINISHING THE FLOOR:
When you come to the end of the room, you’ll have to cut the end boards to size as you go. If all the panels in the front row are consistently shortened then you can precut all the boards at the same time if your room is squared.
The end boards are the most difficult to get into place. Use the tapping bar provided by the manufacturer to get these last ones in place. The bar has protruding lips on opposite sides for gripping the panel and tapping into place.
After the last board is in position, remove the spacers and attach the molding. It is best to drill pilot holes in the molding and then use finishing nails to connect to the wall.
With any new floor there will probably be a transitional problem between rooms. The manufacturer provides a connecting strip to bridge the gap between the two rooms. It has a similar grain pattern to the laminate flooring. This is the only time you will need glue.
For a twelve-by-fifteen feet room, the project should take less than a day. Because no glue is needed, the flooring goes in quickly and is ready to use once the last board is in place. The floor can be taken apart and put back together up to three times, so if you move you can literally take the floor with you. For maintaining the floor, only a mop or a vacuum is needed.
The UNICLIC floor by BHK of America comes in a variety of patterns and stains to choose from.