Laying Snap-Together Laminate Flooring – a Guide
Unlike parquet flooring, there is no reason not to install laminate yourself. And as KRONOTEX is snap-together flooring, laying it is quite easy, even for inexperienced DIYers. The planks use a tongue-and-groove system that lets you simply snap them together without the need for any special knowledge or tools. However, for best results it’s important to follow a few basic rules before and after installation.
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Transport and storage
Please transport KRONOTEX flooring carefully in the original packaging. Use up each package before opening a new one. Large quantities should also be stored in the original packaging to prevent damage. For lengthy storage, panels must be placed horizontally in the unopened packages in a heated room.
Getting Ready to Lay
Don’t lean snap-together laminate planks standing up against a wall. This can cause them to bend, which would prevent them from fitting together properly. To prevent deformation, simply lay them down flat on the floor.
Acclimate KRONOTEX laminate flooring by storing the unopened packages for at least 48 hours in the room where the floor will be installed. This will prevent subsequent deformation and buckling.
Before laying KRONOTEX snap-together laminate planks, check them once again to make sure they are undamaged, of the right size and identical in appearance when viewed in daylight at the installation site. If you discover any actual defects, read the information printed on the back and notify your KRONOTEX dealer. Don’t install planks with mechanical or visual defects, as this would exclude them from the warranty.
Basic Rules for Laying Snap-Together Laminate Flooring
- Lay the flooring at an ambient temperature of at least 18° C, a floor temperature of at least 15° C and relative humidity between 50% and 60%. These conditions should also persist during the first three days after installation. Keep windows and doors closed the room while laying.
- Laminate flooring looks best when laid with the planks parallel to the main light source.
- Before starting to lay, calculate the width that the last row of planks will have. It should not be less than 5 cm. This may make it necessary to trim the first row accordingly.
- KRONOTEX snap-together laminate flooring is intended to float on the subfloor. In other words, it shouldn’t be glued, nailed or otherwise fastened. As wood is hygroscopic, the laminate works and moves. This makes floating installation important. Any resulting slight differences in height between the planks will simply enhance the realistic appearance of this engineered wood product.
- Fix skirting boards to the walls, not the floor!
- Please follow the installation instructions precisely. If the flooring is improperly laid, the warranty will be voided. If any problems arise, stop the work immediately and contact your dealer.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Installing Snap-Together Laminate Flooring
After making sure that the subfloor is suitable and letting the laminate flooring planks acclimate in the room for at least 48 hours, you can proceed with installation:
- If you are laying the flooring on screed, first put down a damp-proof membrane. Roll the membrane out parallel to the laminate planks and cut it to size. At walls, the membrane should extend upwards by about 10 cm. Overlap sheets of membrane by about 20 cm and glue them tightly together to prevent moisture from penetrating.
- The next step is to apply an acoustic underlay. Lay sheets of it at 90° angles to the direction that the laminate planks will run and use sticky tape to fix them to one another.
- Lay the first row of snap-together laminate flooring. Start in a corner of the room and lay the planks so they run parallel to the window or other light source. Lay the planks lengthwise along the wall leaving a gap 10 to 15 mm wide and snap their short sides together. Wood wedges are excellent spacers. You will almost certainly have to shorten the last plank in the row. To do so, use a circular saw, a jigsaw or a special-purpose laminate cutter. The last piece shouldn’t be shorter than 40 cm. It may be necessary to shorten the first panel as well to prevent this (making sure that it is also at least 40 cm long).
- Start the second row with the piece that was left over from the first. Simply insert it into the edge of the first plank, angled slightly up (at about 12°) and then press it down until you hear it audibly click into place.
- The last row of laminate flooring will probably be too wide, making it necessary to trim it. Remember to leave a sufficient gap along the wall.
- Before attaching the skirting boards, first use a Stanley knife or cutter to trim the excess membrane. It’s best to cut the skirting boards to size with a mitre saw.
- Transition rails are mounted between different floorings in two adjacent rooms. Depending on the type, they must be glued, screwed or snapped into place.
KRONOTEX has also summarised the most important aspects in an installation checklist.
Special Installation Situations
1. Heating Pipes and Room Dividers
Where heating pipes or room dividers stick out of the floor, first cut the plank to the right length, then lay it next to where it will go and use a folding rule to measure and mark where the openings are needed. Then cut or drill out the marked spots. Here too, remember to leave a 10-mm gap on all sides. Saw the plank diagonally (mitre cut at a 45° angle) up to the holes. This will increase the surface area available for gluing. Apply D3 glue to the sawed-off piece and tightly join it to the other piece behind the heating pipe or other element.
2. Door Frames
Wooden doorframes should be shortened. Lay a plank next to the frame with the décor side down. Use a suitable saw to sufficiently shorten the frame, then slide the plank under it with the décor side up. With steel doorframes, make an appropriately shaped cut-out in the plank instead.
3. Expansion Elements for Large Rooms
In rooms measuring more than 12 metres in the direction parallel to the planks and/or eight metres perpendicular to them, an expansion element is also needed in the middle. This also applies to doorways, archways (doorless openings between rooms), protruding masonry and rooms with complex shapes. We recommend removing the tongues on the edges of the panels along expansion elements to ensure sufficient room for them to move.
Full-Surface Gluing of Snap-Together Laminate Flooring
KRONOTEX flooring can also be glued over the entire surface of the floor. The required steps depend on the kind of subfloor. It may be necessary to level it by grinding, applying primer or filler, etc. If there are height differences of more 2 mm, they should be evened out so they don’t exceed 1 mm.
Make sure that the subfloor is absolutely dry, level, firm and clean. Leave existing expansion joints in the same places and align expansion elements in the laminate flooring with them. Use polyurethane (PU)-based adhesive. If anything is unclear or problems are encountered, consult a professional floor installer.
Important: Do not glue KRONOTEX flooring down over underfloor heating. This would void the warranty.