CONDITIONING OF LAMINATE FLOORINGDepending on the season, laminate flooring is subject to the influence of climate and temperature. Because of this, conditioning of the product prior to installation is of vital importance.
The packaged and foil-wrapped units of laminate planks should be stored and conditioned in the room in which installation is to take place for at least 48 hours.
The following micro-climatic conditions should prevail before, during and for at least 3 days after installation:
- Floor surface temperature: min. 15°C
- Ambient air temperature: min. 18°C
- Relative humidity: max. 75%
Particular care should be taken to ensure that the stored laminate flooring are not subjected to drafts and that the packaging units are not stood or leaned against walls during the conditioning period. Ideally, panels should be stored flat on the floor or on four wide battens at least 0.5 m away from adjacent walls.
INSTALLATION DIRECTIONThe overall appearance of the flooring is highly dependent on the installation direction in conjunction with the incidence of light and the main line of sight. The installation direction can have a significant influence on the perceived size and perspective of a room.
Generally speaking, it is sound practice to determine the installation direction and installation pattern together with the client or tenant. It has proved advisable to install laminate flooring planks on a wooden board floor perpendicular to the existing layer of boards.
LAY-OUT FOR INSTALLATION STARTBefore commencing the installation it is important to establish the squareness of the room in order to determine where to start. The floor direction is usually determined by laying the flooring panels longitudinally towards the strongest light source.
Ensure that the final panels on the finishing wall are wider than 5cms. Similarly no plank should be shorter than 30cms.
EDGE GAPSLaminate flooring expand and contract laterally when subjected to changes in room climate. To accommodate such changes, an edge spacing must be observed on all sides. a minimum expansion gap of 8-10mm is recommended and for high moisture content (50-90% R.H.) from 10-12 mm.
Clearance must be provided between the finished laminate floor consisting of individual laminate flooring planks and any solid part of the fabric of the building structure (walls, door frames, supply lines, pillars, etc.) to allow for lateral movement. There should be no physical edge contact between the finished floor and vertical solid structures.
EXPANSION JOINT PROFILESExpansion joint profiles should be installed as follows in consideration of the size and geometry of the floor surface:
- On surfaces greater than 12 m in the direction of the length of the individual laminate flooring planks
- On surfaces greater than 8 m in the direction of installation travel
- In doorways between rooms
- In porch areas
- Between offset adjoining rooms
- Along the course of expansion joints in the sub-floor
- Manufacturers recommendations regarding maximum uninterrupted flooring sizes vary greatly. The installation instructions relating to the product in question should be carefully heeded
INSTALLATION PATTERNSLaminate flooring planks can be installed according to either a regular or an irregular pattern. Especially for products with a four side bevel, the pattern should be checked prior to the installation due to the more visual aspect of the joints.
Care should be taken to ensure that the minimum staggered overlap or offset is at least 30cms. The installation pattern for squared elements should be checked with the manufacturer.
FULL-SURFACE BOND OF ADHESIVEUnder special circumstances, for example at the specific request of the client, it may be necessary to install laminate flooring using a full- surface adhesive bond, despite the fact that by conception laminate flooring is intended for floating installation.
Before installing laminate flooring on a full- surface bed of adhesive, flooring installers are urged to contact the manufacturer or supplier to ascertain whether the product is suitable or approved for this type of installation and how it should be done in detail.