Installing Laminate Floor on Concrete – A Complete Guide

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installing laminate floor on concrete

Concrete floors are incredibly common in all kinds of homes. 

While they can be durable and good for unfinished spaces, they are not very comfortable. Because of this, many people choose to cover their concrete floors with another type of flooring. 

Laminate flooring is a great, very versatile, and fairly inexpensive material. It comes in many different colors and patterns and can last a long time. 

If you are looking to cover your concrete floor, laminate could be your best bet. 

In this article, we have put together a complete guide to installing laminate over concrete. By following a few simple steps, you can have a new floor in your basement or garage. 

How to Install Laminate Floor on Concrete: Basic Idea 

Installing a laminate floor on concrete is fairly simple and can usually be done in a few days. To put in the flooring, the steps include: 

  • Prep the flooring material 
  • Prepare the concrete floor 
  • Install a moisture barrier layer 
  • Install the laminate flooring

Why Install Laminate Floor on Concrete?

why install laminate floor on concreteConcrete flooring is one of the easiest types to install in a home. It is usually the default flooring, especially in homes that are built on a concrete slab foundation.

You are most likely to find concrete floors in basements and garages. However, they are also common in other parts of the home but they are usually covered. 

If you are looking to finish a basement or garage, laminate is a good choice. It is not very expensive and it is easy to install. 

You will probably not want to keep the concrete floor in a finished space. It can be incredibly cold and doesn’t do much in the way of installation. 

Laminate can help insulate the space and keep moisture from coming up out of the ground. This can keep the finished space dry and allow you to enjoy your new room. 

Prepare the Laminate 

The very first thing you will need to do when installing laminate is let it acclimate to the room. 

One of the downsides of laminate is that it is very susceptible to moisture. It will swell and contract depending on the humidity in any given space. 

This is a problem because of how laminate is put together. It does not use adhesive and instead uses a tongue and groove type connector. 

When you receive your laminate flooring, make sure to leave it in the room you are going to install it in. You should let it sit there for at least 72 hours before you attempt to do anything with it. 

Doing this will allow the laminate to acclimate the humidity level and swell to a stable size. 

After you have acclimated the laminate, you can then install it knowing it will not swell or crack. 

Prepare the Floor 

In order for your laminate to be properly installed, the concrete floor needs to be prepared. 

The floor itself needs to be completely level before you can start putting down the laminate. Check the surface with a level to be sure that it is straight. 

You should not have any variances in the height of the floor that are more than 3/16” every 10 feet. If you do, you will need to fix the variances with a grinder. 

You should also fill any big dents, holes, or divots on the surface. This can be done with a little bit of extra concrete filler or caulk if the hole is small enough. 

Finally, make sure that the floor is swept, clean, and dry before doing any work on it. 

Install a Moisture Barrier  

install a moisture barrier

A major issue with concrete flooring is that it is bad at keeping moisture out. 

Water and humidity can come up to the surface of the concrete from the soil below. If you don’t have a moisture barrier between the concrete and the laminate, the top layer can be damaged. 

A moisture barrier acts as protection between the raw surface of the concrete and laminate. It goes between the two layers and keeps water from coming up and seeping into the flooring. 

There are many different types of moisture barriers. 

One of the best ones is cork but a vinyl-backed underlayment is also a viable option. 

Lay down a layer of the underlayment before installing the laminate. This will be the surface on which you will finish the floor. 

Install the Laminate 

Start installing your laminate in the farthest possible corner of the room. 

You must leave a ¼” gap between the laminate flooring and the wall. This allows the laminate to expand and contract a little as time goes on. 

Make sure that you stagger the planks as they are being installed. This gives you a better base and protects the flooring from scooting around. 

You will need to cut the final piece of laminate to fit the gap. Be sure to cut this piece precisely and carefully. 

Since there is no adhesive involved, you can walk on your new laminate floor right away. 

Frequently Asked Questions

faq installing laminate floor on concrete

Can you glue laminate flooring to a concrete floor?

While you can glue laminate flooring down, it is not recommended. 

Laminate flooring is meant to move around and expand with time. If you glue it down, it could potentially crack. 

Can you put laminate flooring directly on concrete?

It is not a good idea to put laminate flooring directly over concrete. 

Without a moisture barrier, you will end up with warped laminate planks. A moisture barrier protects them from the bottom and ensures that they stay dry. 

What type of flooring is best over concrete?

Laminate is one of the best options for flooring over concrete. It can expand and contract well without cracking or breaking. 

With concrete, this is incredibly important and you will end up with a better-looking final product. 

Conclusion 

Installing laminate floors on concrete is a fairly simple job. As long as you properly prepare, you should have no problems. 

By following the above steps, you can have a finished floor that will last for years and years. 

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AUTHOR

Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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