Rules for laying laminate on concrete floor
Today, laminate flooring can be called one of the most popular types of flooring for the home. But really, he deserves such close attention. It is easy to install, relatively inexpensive, has many options for textures and colors and is simply beautiful. Buyers are happy, sellers are happy! But to buy a laminate is not so bad, the trouble begins when it comes to installing it, because many do not know even the most basic things about this process. Let’s look in this article how the laminate is laid on a concrete floor and what you will encounter during such work.
- Laminate selection criteria
- We stock up on tools and fixtures
- Mandatory preparatory work
- Concrete floor leveling
- Laying the substrate and vapor barrier
Laminate selection criteria
First, go to the store for the laminate. Here you are most likely to get confused, because from the number of types, colors and textures, your eyes will definitely run up. To “put them together,” you need to at least have a little knowledge of the information that will help you navigate the sea of laminate.
If you don’t have problems with the choice of color and texture, then you definitely can’t figure out the classiness without a consultant. So, a laminate is of two classes: 2 and 3. In turn, these two classes are divided into three further subclasses. Let’s clarify how they differ from each other.
Laminate of the second class is designed for the home, that is, you can use it in your apartment or country house. Now about the subclasses:
- 21 – for home use in rooms with low traffic, for example, in the bedroom;
- 22 – for home use in rooms with medium traffic (children);
- 23 – for home use in rooms with a high degree of patency (living room. Entrance hall, kitchen).
Laminate of the third class is ideal for laying in rooms with very high traffic, that is, in public places.
- 31 – commercial premises with a low degree of patency. An example of such a room can be a meeting room..
- 32 – commercial premises with an average degree of patency (offices, workrooms);
- 33 – commercial premises with a high degree of patency (shops, salons, boutiques)
If you want your laminate to serve you as long as possible, then choose the one on the packaging of which the first digit in the class designation is 3. Such a floor covering for at least 8 years will delight you with its beauty and impeccable appearance. But the laminate of the second class is also very good. Its average “life expectancy” is about 5 years, plus or minus one year.
We stock up on tools and fixtures
So for laminate installation on the concrete floor you will need the following tools:
- marker, crayon or pencil
- a hammer
- jigsaw or saw
- spacer wedges
- wooden block
Mandatory preparatory work
The tool is ready, you too, then it’s time to move on to the preparatory work, which consists in leveling the floor and adapting the laminate to new conditions for it.
The laminate should lie down in the room where you will lay it for at least 2 days. Make sure that the temperature in the room is within +20 degrees, and humidity – at least 70%. Bundles must be sealed. Thus, the laminate “gets used” to the new environment and to its owners. While he is “resting” you can familiarize yourself with the instructions, which are necessarily included in each package. So you protect yourself from any surprises.
Concrete floor leveling
Before you lay the laminate on a concrete floor, you need to check it for any bumps. If there are any, then alignment is indispensable – the laminate likes smooth surfaces without flaws.
In order for the old, clumsy floor to turn into perfect, you need to use special building mixes for floors. Such a substance is diluted with ordinary water, and then poured directly onto concrete. The so-called screed should dry thoroughly, it can take from 2 (if the layer is thin) to 5 days. Do not trust the manufacturers of such mixtures. Usually they claim that their screed dries so quickly that you can walk on it in a few hours. Yes, it’s possible to really walk on it, but laying a laminate in no case!
Let’s dwell in more detail on pouring screed, because this process also requires skill.
- Prepare the concrete base. Remove debris, dust, various exfoliated fragments from it and be sure to ground.
- Make markings on the walls. It is most convenient to begin this work with marking the upper level, which is often set by the position of the edge of the door or platbands, as well as the floor level in another room. At the corner adjacent to the door, set the starting point, which corresponds to the level of the finishing floor. Take the laser or water level and outline similar points in the remaining corners of the room. Next, connect them in a straight line with a taut rope. This way you get the level of finish floor. Now measure from this line down a distance equal to the thickness of the floor itself and reconnect the received points with lines – this is the upper border of the screed.
- Install guide markers. Markers are easiest to install on small slides made of thick cement mortar (so they will stick better). If necessary, you can press down the hill or, on the contrary, slightly increase it, adding another solution. The top edge of the markers should be at the same level as the marking lines. You can achieve perfect accuracy with taut ropes. Guide markers should be located along the longest wall of the room at a distance from the walls of 20-30 cm and from each other at a distance of about one meter. Before proceeding with pouring the screed, it is necessary to allow a little time for the slides from the solution to solidify, otherwise the markers may tilt or fall completely during installation of the screed.
- Prepare the screed solution. A dry mixture is poured into a large container, water is added in the amount indicated on the package. Using a construction mixer, the solution is mixed until smooth..
- The mixture is poured between two markers and sealed with a trowel. Care must be taken to ensure that all voids are carefully filled. Use the rule to level the top of the screed, starting from the wall. During this operation, the edge of the rule should rest against the markers. In places where there is little solution, add it to the top level of the markers.
The screed is ready, but it still needs to be thoroughly dried..
In addition to a perfectly flat surface, the laminate also loves dryness, so after leveling and drying, check for moisture or mildew somewhere. If there are any, then the laminate can not be laid! What then to do? After all, you have already bought 20 packs of chic flooring! Everything is quite easily and quickly solved by pouring a waterproofing layer, which will be an excellent protection against moisture and other “wet” troubles.
Moisture destroyed, now do the cleaning! Use a vacuum cleaner or a broom to remove all small stones, dust and other debris. Please note that even a small stone with a diameter of only 2-3 mm can damage your laminate.
Laying the substrate and vapor barrier
When installing a laminate on a concrete floor or screed, it is necessary to use a vapor barrier film and a substrate – one protects from moisture, the other from noise.
As a vapor barrier material, it is recommended to use a regular plastic film, but with a thickness of at least 200 microns. This film must be spread over the entire area of the room with an overlap of 15-20 cm. At the joints, you can fasten it with stationery tape.
A substrate is laid on top of the film, which provides mitigation of the impact of the laminate on the screed or concrete floor. Thus, your laminate will not only be “quieter than water, lower than grass” and will allow you to enjoy silence, but it will also serve you for many years. The backing under the laminate is laid end-to-end, and the joints are also sealed with tape.
Mounting a laminate on a concrete base
Before you start laying the laminate, check each tile for marriage. Defective laminate can not be mounted, since the manufacturer’s warranty does not apply to such products.
It is necessary to lay the laminate in the direction of light so that street light from the window falls parallel to the seams. Otherwise, all the seams will be very noticeable and you will constantly think about it, than spoil your mood.
All rows must be stacked in turn. You need to start the first row from the window, preferably on its left side. If the last bar is not included, then it must be cut, but in no case do not leave it for later, since all rows should be completed. Do not forget to use the wedges that need to be inserted between the wall and the laminate. They will provide a gap of 10-15 mm, which you will close with a skirting later.
Start the second row with the cut board remaining from the first row. At the end of the second row you will again have a piece, use it to start the third and so on to the end. Acting in this way you will get a chess effect that looks quite original and beautiful.
After finishing the second row, at an angle of about 40 degrees, insert it into the lock of the first and lightly click on both rows.
In order for the laminate tiles to fit snugly against each other, knock them with a hammer, but do not knock directly on the product itself, use a stored wooden block for these purposes. Thus, you need to mount all the tiles.
The last row will most likely have to be evened out. After attaching the laminate panel with a comb to the wall, mark the cut line and saw off the unnecessary piece with a jigsaw. Do not forget that the distance between the wall and the laminate should be 10-15 mm.
You may need to make holes for various communications. You can cut them with the same jigsaw. To do this, you need to measure the diameter of the hole and draw exactly the same on the laminate, but 10 mm more. The resulting gap will be closed by the baseboard later..
In principle, as you see, there is nothing difficult in installing a laminate on a concrete base, but there are some very significant nuances that must be taken into account so as not to “bite your elbows” later on. Make repairs wisely!