Large Format Plank Installation
Laying large format laminate flooring does not present any significant differences from other laminate product lines. For large format three-tile flooring, however, attention needs to be paid to the alignment of the grout lines. Three-tile flooring can be installed to give the appearance of a “four-corner” installation, or it can be staggered, depending on the consumer’s preference.
Step 1: Starting in the left corner and leaving a minimum of ¼-inch space between the flooring and the wall, do a dry trial layout of the first two rows of large format flooring. The first plank should be laid with one tongue facing the installer and the other to the installer’s right. As needed, saw the product to fit. Spacers should also be installed as part of the planning process.
Step 2: If it is necessary to cut one of the large format random parquet patterns, you may use that piece to start the second row. If you are using a three-tile product, check to make sure that the grout lines will match up or remain in alignment. Attempt to plan the installation so that the end pieces are a minimum of eight inches long.
Step 3: Once the dry layout is judged satisfactory, it is time to begin the installation. Glue is applied by holding the piece upside down and placing 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch of glue to the lower lip of the groove. Begin by gluing the first two planks in the first row together. Once again, start in the left-hand corner and glue the first row together at the ends.
Step 4: Glue the second row to the first. Push the planks together, and apply blue tape or clamps to hold the pieces together. (Note: If glue is being forced to the surface, or if the large format flooring is difficult to get together, you may be using too much glue.) Use a dry cloth to remove excess glue.
Step 5: For water resistance, the floor must be installed without gaps. If a gap should occur, use a laminate filler to seal the core material and improve the appearance of the completed floor.
Step 6: Continue to install the first two rows by pushing the flooring together. If needed, a tapping block may be used. Do not apply too much force to the tapping block, as damage to the edges may occur. Hold the material together with blue tape or clamps. Remove the tape when the glue is set (approximately eight hours). If the material will not go together, even using the tapping block, stop the installation and attempt to find the reason for the problem (debris in the groove, damaged tongue, etc.).
Steps 7-9 may vary depending on the project requirements, and therefore are not depicted visually.
Step 7: Continue the installation, using clamps on each plank (or blue tape for DIY installations), working from left to right, row after row. The installer should be alert to an out-of-rack condition that can be caused by allowing the floor to get out of square. The installer should check the floor to make sure that the installation remains square and straight.
Step 8: Continue to ensure that adequate expansion space exists around the perimeter of the floor. For doorways, the door jam will have to be undercut. Set a piece of the product (a scrap will do) and foam (or the appropriate underlayment) next to the frame. Using that as a guide, saw the frame off. This will allow the flooring to slide under the frame, providing expansion space and a clean, finished appearance.
Step 9: Around pipes, measure and drill holes at least ½-inch larger than the diameter of the pipe to provide adequate expansion. Apply the sealant in a smooth, continuous bead around the cutout. Once the sealant has been applied, wet your finger and force the sealant into the expansion space. If correctly applied, the sealant should be approximately 1/16-inch above the surface of the flooring.
Step 10: The last row will likely require additional cutting to fit. To determine the size needed, place a plank on top of the planks in the next-to-last row. Carefully align the edges. Take a scrap piece of flooring (with tongue and groove) and trace the contour of the wall onto the plank to be cut. Saw the plank accordingly.
Step 11: Fit the cut planks into place using the pull bar. Then add spacers to hold the joint firmly in place and apply tape. Remove the tape when the glue is set in approximately eight hours.
Step 12: Replace existing molding with matching transition molding. Remove spacers first, then nail or glue trim track to the floor. Snap transition into the track.
Step 13: Clean the entire floor with cleaner and use a dry towel, if needed, to buff dry. The process will remove any film left over from the glue. For stubborn glue or other materials, use acetone on a clean cloth. Never use any abrasives on your laminate floor.