The most important thing to consider in laying laminate flooring is the nature of the
subfloor on which it is being laid. Is it even enough and sufficiently dry? For screed
floors a vapour barrier will be required. This prevents any residual moisture from the
subfloor forcing its way upwards. A PE sheet, for example, designed for the purpose
and available from dealers and retailers, is ideally suitable as a vapour barrier. It
should be at least 0.2 mm in thickness. In addition, you will also require a separating
layer in order to reduce footstep sound, for example in PU foam or ribbed cardboard.
Laminate flooring can be laid not just on screed floors, however, but on existing old
floors as well such as, e.g. wood, stone, ceramic, plastic, or similar. It is imperative,
however, that you comply with the specific information and specifications of the
manufacturer when doing so!
Modern laminate flooring with click systems makes it far easier to lay a laminate
floor these days. First, set out two to three lines of the panels. The first panel in a
line should be at least 40 cm long. Insert wedges to make sure you have the required
gap of 10 mm to the wall. Then calculate what is the best way of accommodating the
width of the room. The panels in the last line should not be less than 5 cm in width,
i.e. it may be necessary to shorten the panels in the first line. Then click all the panels
together until you have laid the whole floor. If the laminate floor exceeds eight to ten
meters in either width or length you will need to insert an expansion joint. Once the
floor has been completely laid you can then fit the skirtings, which are either screwed
in place or snap-fitted depending on the system.
According to the information supplied by manufacturers, carpets do not form a
suitable base because the pile layer in the carpet gives way excessively under
load. The joints in click systems, in particular, can be subjected to extreme loads.
In principle, however, "harder carpets" are more suitable than softer types and it is
advisable to contact the manufacturer of the laminate flooring in each case for
If the tile surface is suitably even and meets the requirements for laminate
flooring in terms of the subfloor (see above) then it is in principle possible. Any
unevenness or variations in height in the tile surface can be evened out with an
insulation mat. Contact with your manufacturer to check on your specific case.
Laminate flooring can also be laid on a hot water underfloor heating system if it is
installed correctly. The laminate flooring offers good resistance to heat transmission
and permits the hot water underfloor heating system to be run highly efficiently. The
insulation mat, however, must be the right type for the underfloor heating system –
it is imperative that the resistance to heat transmission is not too high.
For electric underfloor heating systems it is essential that you first check the
suitability of the laminate flooring for the system. The maximum surface temperature
of the laminate flooring when laid must never be permitted to exceed 26 degrees
Celsius since this may lead to unsightly swelling of joints and arching. It is therefore
essential that you check with your manufacturer first. As a general rule, technical
advice should always be sought before laying laminate flooring on electric underfloor
The overall visual appearance of the laminate flooring created by the individual
panels is dependent on the direction in which they are laid in the room relative to
the incidence of light and the main direction from which they are viewed. The
direction of laying can influence the subjective appreciation of the size of the room,
i.e. perceived space. It is therefore advisable to ensure that the direction of laying
and incidence of light are identical when laying the floor.
The total area of laminate flooring elements can change with changes in climate.
It is therefore imperative that you allow for edge joints of at least 10 mm or more in
accordance with the manufacturer's/supplier's specifications and subject to the
There must always be a gap between the total floor unit created out of the individual
laminate flooring elements and all fixed building components around it (walls, door
frames, supply lines, pillars, etc.), i.e. an edge joint which provides sufficient leeway
for the laminate flooring to move without coming into contact with those fixed building
If the laminated flooring becomes undulated (arches) this will generally be because
the floor does not have enough room to move at one or more points in the room.
This is normally the result of a laying error, e.g. lack of or inadequate expansion joints.
If you are good at DIY you can proceed as follows, otherwise you should contact your
1. Remove all skirtings (including the connecting rails) and check that there is a gap
between the laminate floor and the walls all round.
2. If there is a door stopper, check that this does not press the laminate floor down
and that there is sufficient space all around the screw holding the stopper in place
– a hole is always drilled through the laminate floor (approx. 20 mm) and the
stopper then fixed to the screed floor.
3. Check all heating pipes where these run through the laminate floor and the
screed floor. The laminate flooring needs space to move here as well.
4. Never screw any parts (e.g. feet for radiators) directly on the laminate floor to
connect with the screed floor.
5. If the laminate floor has been laid flush to a section of wall, cut away approx. 1 cm
with a shadow gap saw. Other parts must be reworked by hand with a sharp firmer
6. Once the laminate floor has been "freed up" at all points it should normally flatten
out again within one or two days.
7. As a general rule it is important that you act quickly otherwise there is a risk of
permanent damage to the floor.
Manufacturers always recommend the use of a vapour barrier (PE sheet or an
insulation layer with aluminium coating) to protect the laminate flooring from rising
damp coming from the subfloor. This is particularly important for rooms without
cellars and in new buildings.
Laminate flooring is 80% wood: Wood fibres, wood chips, pulp derived from wood
(paper). Wood products can be found in all three layers of the laminate floor:
Decorative paper + overlay(wear layer), core layer, stabilizing layer. With the
exception of the core layer each of these layers is impregnated with synthetic
resin (e.g. melamine resin). These are pressed onto the core layer at high
pressure and high temperature. Coverings made of synthetic resin have been
used for decades in the production of kitchen and laboratory furniture, office
furnishing and shopfitting. The materials are of a high-quality, are non-wearing
and are outstanding when it comes to care and cleaning.
Like all wood-based products laminate flooring also contains the substance
formaldehyde, which can be emitted to the air retroactively. The amount of
possible emissions, however, is absolutely minimal and falls within the range
of "normal background levels“ in room air, according to a report by the Fraunhofer
Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut für Holzforschung (WKI) Braunschweig. This is
comparable with emission levels from natural wood and is well below the legally
permissible limit of 0.1 ppm (i.e. 0.12 mg/m³ of air), the so-called E1 value. Against
this background, therefore, laminate flooring is suitable for use without reservation
even in sensitive areas such as children's rooms and kindergartens, according to
Disposal is no problem whatsoever. Pieces left over from laying and any other
individual pieces can be disposed of along with normal household waste. Where
complete floors are taken up, however, these should be taken directly to the waste
disposal site. Since laminate flooring is composed of 80 percent wood, it can be
burnt without reservation just like other wood-based products. Thanks to new
technologies it is now also possible to recycle laminate flooring. Reduced to
chips or fibres, 85 percent of the mass of a laminate flooring product can be
returned to the production process. As culture substrates they can even be used
in agriculture and landscaping.
Laminate flooring is available with a wide diversity of decorative coverings. Wood
reproduction decorative coverings are highly popular, as are reproduction stone
and tile decorative coverings. Everything is possible. Be it beech, oak, elm, alder,
cherry, walnut or teak – virtually every type of wood can be faithfully reproduced with
available printing methods. And the decorative coverings on laminate flooring come
closer to their models in nature all the time: One can almost "feel" the structure of
the wood on a laminate flooring board. For stone and tiles there is a choice of, e.g.
marble, graphite, slate or travertine, and stone decorative coverings are now more
authentic than ever – with or without joints. In addition to wood and stone/tiles there
are also a wide range of individual fantasy decorative coverings available too.
Thanks to its sealed surface laminate flooring is extremely hygienic. The surface
coating, which is made of a particularly hard material (melamine resin), prevents
dirt and bacteria from penetrating the floor. However, laminate flooring is not just
hygienic it is also extremely hard-wearing. You can even stub out a cigarette on
laminate flooring without damaging the surface. The wear resistance of the floor
is one of the reasons why it is a popular choice for commercial schemes as well,
and in retail outlets, fitness studios, etc. But these qualities are also an advantage
in the home, e.g. for the stairwell or in children's rooms.
Often do not meet minimum standards as set out in the EN 13329 standard on
First, consider where the floor is to be laid! Is the laminate flooring to be laid in
the bedroom, in the living room or in the stairwell? It goes without saying that the
floor in the stairwell will be exposed to more use than in the bedroom, for example.
To take this into account, the EN 13329 standard on laminate flooring specified
so-called load and traffic categories. For the home there are three load and traffic categories: 21 = moderate (e.g. bedrooms), 22 = normal (e.g. living rooms),
23 = heavy (e.g. stairwells). These categories are indicated on the packaging in the
form of pictograms. Look out for them when you buy!
You can remove dust and dirt quickly and reliably with a brush or a vacuum
cleaner suitable for hard floors. Then wipe with a very slightly damp cloth, i.e.
wring the cloth out thoroughly first. Take care to ensure that no water penetrates
the joints! Since the core layer of the laminate flooring is made of wood, water will
cause unsightly swelling of the joints. The most suitable cleaner to be added to
the water used for wiping over is laminate flooring cleaner available form most
retailers. Caution! Never use floor wax or polish! They do not adhere to the resin-
impregnated surface of the laminate flooring and will cause unsightly marks,
streaks and lines.