Laying Laminate Flooring

Many adhesives are used for fixing household laminates. These may be divided into three types: impact or contact adhesives; synthetic resins; and epoxy-based resins. Impact adhesives demand accurate initial positioning.

Before starting make sure that you have the materials and tools to hand. You will need a large notched spreader if you are dealing with a big area. Asuitable spreader can be made of any firm material, with serrated ‘teeth’ cut out. A piece of laminate is ideal.

It is a good idea to carry out a ‘dry’ check of the position of the laminate. This you can do by marking the corner angle of the surface to be laminated, and then partly knocking in locating pins. The laminate can then be aligned against these guide markers to check accuracy.

It is important that adhesives are applied evenly over the whole surface, otherwise air pockets may form, causing the laminate to ‘lift’.

Since contact adhesives allow no latitude once the laminate is in contact with the surface, lay a series of thin wooden battens across the surface of the board and position the laminate over the battens. Position the sheet so that there is a 3mm overhang all round and then withdraw the lath at one edge and stick down about 50mm of sheet. Slide out the laths one by one and roll the laminate on to the surface. This action prevents air from being trapped.

Another way is to position drawing pins in a corner to ensure alignment. Greaseproof paper can also be laid on the surface and the sheet positioned as before. The paper is withdrawn with one hand, and the other is used to roll the laminate on to the surface.

Keep a tin of an adhesive solvent near in case you spill any adhesive on the laminate.

Contact or impact adhesives demand quick accurate work. First coat both contact surfaces with adhesive. Allow the adhesive to become ‘touch dry’ before contact is made. You must ensure complete accuracy since adhesion is positive and virtually irremovable once the surfaces touch. The time the adhesive takes to become touch dry may vary from 30 minutes in cold weather to only four to six minutes in warmer weather.

These adhesives are highly flammable and should be used only in well-ventilated conditions.

Pour adhesive on to the centre of the back of the laminate. Using a notched spreader, pull the adhesive evenly across the surface to the edges. Use the same method to apply adhesive to the base surface. Allow the adhesive to become ‘touch dry’, with no damp patches, since these will not adhere. Bring the laminate reverse into contact with the board surface. Press the laminate down to ensure firm contact and no air bubbles.

One type of contact adhesive possesses a thixotropic agent which allows some movement of the laminate sheet after contact.

Synthetic resin: This allows plenty of time for setting. Apply adhesive with the notched spreader in the same way as for contact adhesive. Spread the adhesive until it runs out at the edges when you use pressure. Constant pressure should be applied over the entire surface, preferably placing weights – such as books – on it till the adhesive sets. A guide is when droplets at the edge dry. These can then be trimmed off with a knife.

Epoxy resins: These are waterproof, ‘two-part’ adhesives, using a base and hardener, which you mix together. Use the same technique for this adhesive as for synthetic resin. It is important that the surface is clean, free from grease and is dry. If the surface is not clean, the adhesive will not stick. Mix to maker’s instructions.

Trimming

Once the adhesive has dried, the spare edge can be trimmed off. Use a small sharp block plane, with the blade set to a fine trim, using firm, sweeping strokes, and working from the outside to the middle. You can also use a flat file. To achieve a very smooth finish you can rub down the edge with fine wire wool and a fine-grade oil. Alternatively you can also use a fine glass-paper to finish the edge.

Edging

Edgings give a finished look to your work. If you are using a laminate strip cut the strip slightly over size. Stick the edging with adhesive using the same method as for sheets. These edges can be bevelled, producing a neat, dark line of the laminate core paper. The block plane is run along the edge at an angle to produce the bevelled finish.

Some edgings are in contrast plain colours such as black, and overlap the edge of the laminate. Wood and metal trims can also be used. A bevelled finish can impart a neat look to laminated edge.

Some people prefer to fix edgings first, and then laminate the main surface. This shows less of the brown core and there is less chance that the edge veneer may be pulled away.

Over short runs, using non-contact adhesive, you can hold the strip in place with adhesive tape until the adhesive sets. For longer runs it will be necessary to use cramps placed at about 150mm intervals. Place a piece of protective timber between the laminate and the cramps.

Read more on laying floor laminate

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Laying Laminate Flooring

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