Laying Laminate Flooring with Skirting Boards Still On

When I was quoted over £1000 to lay the laminate flooring, I decided to do it myself.  Like all the projects I start, I learn as I go. And do you know what? It’s not that hard.

Let me walk you through the 8 steps:

Step 1

Remove existing flooring

  • I decided to leave the skirting boards on
  • I ripped up the carpets, underlay, tack bars and any spare staples
  • This revealed very old vinyl tiles that were glued down

1) I’ll have to use a heat gun and pry up all the tiles, which is a lot of work.

2) Some of these old tiles are made from asbestos. It’s absolutely fine to leave asbestos, provided it’s not damaged.

3) The bitumen glue underneath them actually acts as damp proofing and insulating.

Step 2

Make sure the floor is level, clean and dry

  • I had demolished the old fireplace in this room, so I had to use some self-levelling compound to get a flat floor. It’s great stuff to use – I simple read the instructions and away I went.

Step 3

Research types of flooring and choose the best for YOUR room

HARDWOOD

  • Pros: Durable and resilient.
  • Cons: High cost and upkeep.

ENGINEERED WOOD

  • Pros: The top layer is real wood but the base layer is more stable.
  • Cons: Susceptible to water damage and colour fading, so requires special care.

LAMINATE

  • Pros: Low cost, anti-scratch and easy to install.
  • Cons: Can’t be exposed to heavy moisture and can be cold underfoot.

VINYL & LUXURY VINYL

  • Pros: Non-porous and can stand moisture and heavy foot traffic. Comfortable underfoot.
  • Cons: Prone to scratches and hard to repair. Can look fake.

Other flooring ideas:

  • Stone
  • Tile
  • Concrete

Step 4

Measure your floor and purchase flooring and underlay

Measure your floor:

  • Measure the full width and full length of your room.
  • Times the two measurements together and you have your m2 (metre squared) measurement.

Things to consider when choosing flooring:

  • Style
  • Colour
  • Humidity of the room
  • Weight of furniture
  • Foot traffic

Step 5

Acclimate your flooring

  • Leave flooring in its boxes and open either end
  • Stack on top of each other
  • Keep in the room it will be laid

Wood & engineered wood = 72 hours

Laminate & luxury vinyl = 24 hours

The laminate I chose:

  • Wide planks = covers more area with less boards to lay
  • No grooves = easy to clean
  • Click and connect = easy to install

Step 6

Lay your underlay

This is a bit like putting a puzzle together. Simply cut your underlay with scissors and make sure every inch is covered, keeping a distance of 5mm from the edges. Tape together with black underlay tape.

Why lay underlay?

  • Helps the planks lay smoother
  • Allows for better connections
  • Feels softer underfoot
  • Prevents warping
  • Noise reducing

Note: Do NOT place underlay and flooring down around the fireplace area if you’re having a real fire. Instead, you need a non-flammable material like stone, granite or tile under and around the fire.

Step 7

Start laying flooring, using click & connect wide panels is easiest

Where to start your flooring

  • Left corner of the longest wall in the room

Or

  • Lay planks in the same direction as the main source of light

Or

  • Wherever you want, it’s your room

Cutting the flooring around radiators, doorways etc is not as hard as it looks. It just takes a bit of common sense (I made a few mistakes, and wasted a few boards – it will happen).

Top Tip: MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE

Step 8

Finish off the flooring with edging (if you’ve left the skirting boards on)

  • I’d left a 5mm space between the board and the skirting board
  • Cut your edging at 45-degree angles
  • Press the trim into place and hold it down firmly with something heavy while it dries
  • If you have the option to remove your skirting boards, that’s always the best option for a more professional finish

Matching trim colour on a budget

  • I used a combination of white washing and other paints and wood stains to match the flooring
  • Literally it’s my greatest accomplishment in DIY to date! I also used coffee to help stain it darker when needed
  • Alternatively use Frenchic’s Crème de la crème paint and browning wax to colour

This DIY saved me almost 70% on what I was quoted:

Quoted Cost
£535.00 flooring (sale price for the same type of flooring)
£235.00 levelling floor
£235.00 installation
= £1005.00

Actual Cost
£266.00 flooring (£350 before 4 for 3 offer)
£60.00 underlay
£5.00 glue
£34.79 beading (£4.97 p/metre)
£2.10 floor spacers
= £367.89

  • Flooring used: GoodHome Ledbury Wide 10mm Laminate, purchased from B&Q for £15.25 p/metre2.

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