Laminate FlooringIf you want a beautiful floor without paying the earth then you may very well be looking into buying cheap laminate flooring is one of your options.

It has become more and more popular in recent years as the price of solid wood and the cost of installing a real wood floor has increased. And of course, laminate can often be used in areas where it may be inadvisable to use solid wood.

Now there are expensive laminates and cheap laminates and what you really want is a good quality laminate at a discount because some cheap laminate floors may be sub-standard. These are the reasons to think twice and avoid buying cheap wood laminate flooring if you are not prepared to or can’t do thorough research on the actual product before purchasing

1. It may not have a realistic wood look

Cheap flooring tends to have a pattern that looks less like a solid wood floor and more like a picture on plastic. The colors may be slightly off or the grain but it won’t look good.

2. It may be more difficult to install

Quality laminate often has a proprietary fitting system such as Clik-lock which “floats” above the level flooring below and you’ll be able to get all the tools and accessories designed to make the flooring easy to install so that you can do it yourself. With cheap laminate, you may very well be on your own as far as tools are concerned and may even have to stick your laminate to the floor, something that you will need a professional to do.

3. It may bend, buckle and peel over time

Poor quality cheap laminate is not made up in the same way as expensive laminate. It does not have a dense inner core and layers of hard melamine resin. It is not heated and dent resistant and will not stand the test of time. Quality laminate is durable and often comes with a 10-year guarantee giving you peace of mind.

Remember that unless you are installing laminate flooring yourself, the cost of installation may be as much as the cost of cheap laminate. You don’t want to have to redo your floor in a couple of years because you made a poor choice.

So how do you get discount laminate flooring, the quality kind with a reasonable price attached?

You can generally find good deals on quality laminate flooring in the following places

1. End of Season Sales

Solid wood flooring merchants often stock laminate flooring as well as real wood. If you go to the larger merchants you will often see laminates at the end-of-season sales alongside the lower quality cheap laminate wood flooring.

2. Ends of Lines

If you want quite a small amount of laminate flooring you may strike it lucky at the same merchants even when there is no sale going on by buying the ends of lines. Just make sure that you buy enough to cover your floor as there may be none left if you need another pack of flooring.

One thing to watch out for is that if you need to overbuy because you’re not sure how much you actually need, the store may not take back the excess so in some cases you may be better off buying a more expensive laminate with a return guarantee.

3. Buy Online

You can get some great deals if you shop around online and you can often get the same quality brands in laminate at a cheaper price from online retailers. This is possible because they have lower overheads than a physical store and there is also healthy competition among online retailers (healthy for the consumer that is). Check the price including shipping to make sure you are keeping to your budget.

If you are buying cheap laminated flooring because it’s the only thing you can afford and even the quality laminate at a discount is out of your price range, check the laminate reviews online to see if you are buying something which is value for money. Places like Amazon always have a number of reviews from real buyers (click here to see a selection of laminate flooring at a discount) and this can help you make up your mind.

Laminate Floor Installation

Laminate floor installation is a job that you should be able to tackle yourself if you are reasonably competent at small jobs around the house like putting up shelves and fixing curtain rails to the wall.

Provided you buy quality laminate, it is generally much simpler than solid wood floor installation because of innovations in the design of the planks by the better manufacturers. They try to make things as simple as possible so that you choose their brand.

You will need some tools. (Guidance is given below but checks with the packaging for the exact tools you will need for your particular brand of flooring). In any case, the tools you need for laminate wood floor installation are not very expensive (and some of them you may already have) so installing laminate flooring yourself generally means that you will save a lot of money.

Methods

The main thing to be aware of (before you buy your flooring!) is that there are two different laminate flooring installation methods. Laminate may be fitted via the tongue and groove method which requires gluing or by a simple glueless click system.

If you choose glueless laminate your life will be much easier when you come to install a laminate floor! Cheap laminate flooring often requires the glue method but it is worth paying a bit more to be able to install your flooring with ease.

Tools

The main tools you need to install laminate flooring are the following

a rubber mallet
a tape measure
a coping saw
a laminate flooring pull bar
a profile gauge

Laminate floor installation kit (Click image for details)
Laminate floor installation kit (Click image for details)

Preparation

Remove any old carpet and padding and level the floor if necessary by fitting plywood or hardboard over the existing floorboards or by using a leveling compound on a solid floor. Remove the baseboards (skirting board) if required and shave a small amount off any door frames, doors, etc to allow the laminate and underlayment to slip under them.

Remember the level of the floor will be higher once the laminate is in place and the doors need to be able to open and close with ease and without scuffing the surface of the floor.

Installing Laminate Floor

Each brand is likely to be installed in a slightly different way so if you want to know how to install laminate floor perfectly there is no one right way only the right way for your particular brand of flooring. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. They are generally simple enough to follow, particularly if you choose the click system of installation.

In general, you will roll out the underlayment pad across the floor and tape it together where necessary to create a single layer. Laminate flooring is a kind of “floating floor” which is never actually fixed to the sub-floor.

It requires small expansion gaps around the edges which are covered by the baseboards when you put them back. If you prefer not to remove your baseboards you would leave a gap around them and then cover the gap with wooden quadrant molding which matches the floor or the baseboards after you have laid the floor.

Put spacers around the baseboards as markers for where to start the flooring. Click or glue the flooring planks together being sure to stagger the ends so that the end of one plank starts halfway along the length of the other (like bricks). As you fit each plank gently push it into place with the rubber mallet or pulling bar.

The tricky part is always when you have to cut the wood to fit around doorways and pipes. If planks need cutting, mark with a shape with a pencil after using the profile gauge to trace out the shape and cut carefully using a coping saw before fitting the plank into place.