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Questions about laminate flooring

Installation

  • How is the last row installed?
  • Why is it always recommended to lay a PE barrier against damp and steam?
  • How can the pieces next to the door frame be installed ?
  • How are the Expansion, Transition, End and Stair profiles attached?
  • Can a big surface be installed without any intermediate expansion joints?
  • Once the laminate flooring has been installed, can it be removed and re-installed?
  • In a horizontal 9-mm installation, should I use a expansion profile?
  • How can I decide in which direction I have to lay FINfloor laminate flooring?
  • Pieces of advice on how to install FINfloon in large surface areas (many m2)
  • Is it necessary to leave expansion joints in the door pasages?
  • Why is it necessary to leave at least a 10-mm expansion joint in the perimeter of the room, and also around the obstacles?
  • After how many lineal metres is it necessary to add intermediate expansion joints?
  • Can FINfloor/FINclic (all models) be laid over under-floor heating systems?
  • Placing of the skirting
  • How to fit the first pieces in a crooked wall?

How is the last row installed?


To install the last row, we will take the distance between the wall and the last installed row. We will substract from this measure (the width of the board) 10mm correspondint to the essential expansion joint. 
The first piece is placed locking the long side in the normal way (in angle) 
Then, the long side is locked into the following piece, leaving the short sides of this piece and the former close to each other. Regarding the locking of the short side, they are locked by pressure, hitting very gently the hear of the board (never hit the boards directly). 

Why is it always recommended to lay a PE barrier against damp and steam?

The steam-barrier consists of a +/- 0.20 mm-thick plastic sheet (most times Polythene= PE sheet) of PE, or a insulating layer (underlay) that is totally waterproof and prevents moisture passing. Its main function is to prevent moisture gettng in from the subsoil, for example from the ground to the laminate flooring. 
It is always recommended to use a steam barrier to protect laminate flooring from any problem with moisture that may come from a wet ground. 
This is particularly important in rooms at the ground level and without basement and in new constructions because maybe the ground was not dried in a correct way (See instructions on how to dry the ground prior to installation)
FINfloor Silent and FINfloor PE underlay have already this barrier so it won't be necessary to lay the aditional steam barrier. Anyway, you must make sure of the sealing between rows with adhesive tape (See the instruction sheet on the assembly of the underlay). 
 

How can the pieces next to the door frame be installed ?

With the help of a piece of a laminate flooring plank and underlay ( as a guide to measure the thickness) we will cut the door frame in its lower part. 
Once the frame and the piece to lay have been cut, we will put this piece under the frame to fit it horizontally by pressure. We will do it using our FINfloor installation kit (never hit the heads directly). 

How are the Expansion, Transition, End and Stair profiles attached?

One of the main aspects in the installation of a floating laminate flooring is the attatchment of the different accesories so that the installation meets all the requirements recommended by the manufacturer. Attatching an expansion or any other profile is very easy. 
These accesories have a plastic rail we must fix to the ground by means of screws. This must be the first step before starting to install the flooring. 
Once the plastic rails are fixed and clasped in the corresponding place (door passages, rooms exceeding the recommended dimensions, etc.) we will proceed to the installation of the laminate flooring. 
When we reach the base, we must take into account that when we cut this last piece it has to be 10 mm different form the plastic rail, which will be used as a expansion joint in the flooring. 
If the installation continues, we must remove the following piece, also10-mm separated from the plastic rail, essential for the expansion joint. 
As a final step, before placing the top piece we must put some points of adhesive inside the base plastic rail, so that when we install the top pieces, they keep fixed to the plastic rail. 
These top pieces will hide these expansion joints and will give our installation the last touch.


Can a big surface be installed without any intermediate expansion joints?

If the laminate flooring is installed on a surface exceeding 5 or 8 mm. depending on the orientation of the installation and if no expansion joint is placed, one of the basic regulations in the instructions of the laying of the product will be not fulfilled and that will invalidate the warranty. 
The 10-mm expansion joint must be left all along the perimeter of the installation (and around any obstacle as columns, heating pipes, etc.). It is enough for a place not bigger than 8 m (installation direction in the long side of the piece) x 5 (installation direction in the short side of the piece). If the surface to lay is bigger, the peripheral 10-mm expansion joint is not enought and an intermediate one must be added. 
To substitute the intermediate expansion joint in the perimeter (plus 10mm) is not recommenede and may not fulfill the desired function. 
 

Once the laminate flooring has been installed, can it be removed and re-installed?

Any of the ranges of FINfloor can be removed and re-installed in another place, thanks to its innovative clic system at the four sides. 
We must be careful when removing it so that the profiles are not damaged, in the other case we should refuse the damaged pieces. 
The best way to remove FINfloor is release firstly the long side and then lifting the pieces for their heads so that the short side is freed. 
 

In a horizontal 9-mm installation, should I use a expansion profile?

It is strongly recommended but if you don't want to use it, there is no problem as long as 10 mm are left as expansion joint (even more if the skirting makes it possible). It is also recommended to check if the drying of the ground is correct and that the humidity is not very high in order not to use this intermediate expansion joint. If we didn't have these factors under control, we could have an excess of expansion that together with the excess of square meters in continuous installation (without any joint) would cause lifting, curving, etc. 

How can I decide in which direction I have to lay FINfloor laminate flooring?


To lay FINfloor laminate flooring, it should be taken into account the main source of light (window, door).
It is advisable to install it paralel to the direction in which the light enters into the rooms. 
We must also take as a reference that the wall from where we are starting the installation is the longest and straightest as possible to avoid any out-of-true installation.

Pieces of advice on how to install FINfloon in large surface areas (many m2)

When any of the ranges of FINfloor is going to be installed in a large surface area, presumably meant for offices, exhibition halls, etc. it is advisable to take into account the following,  
 
- In the first place, the divisions of the walls or screens should be placed.
- FINfloor should never be installed in the first place and then fix (hammer/stick/ etc) on it the walls (dividing), because it would prevent the correct expansion of the flooring (*)
- This lack in the free mouvement of the flooring can cause head lifting, bucklings, etc. 
- If divisions are placed on the laminate flooring, it is important to make sure that it is placed in a way that the laminate flooring can move freely under those divisions.   
 
(*) FINfloor in all its ranges is made of wood fibers so, as a hygroscopic material, it suffers from dilations and contractions with climate changes (temperature and humidity)
 
- It is very important to respect the manufacturer recommended measures to the place the dilation-expansion joints.   
 
- The best conditions in order to avoid the appearence of dimensional problems and also the appearence of static or electricit strokes are 50-70% HR and +/- 20ºC. 
 
- In dry environments where there is a big number of electric/electronic componenets, it is recommended to place a good Antistatic Underlay. And also all the electric components must be connected to earth. 
 
(see specific FAQ "Does the laminate flooring charges of static electricity?") 
 

Is it necessary to leave expansion joints in the door pasages?

Expansion joints must be obligatory used to separate the different rooms and also the joints with other kind of coverings. 
These expansion joints to leave in the door passages between the different rooms carry out an important double function: 
- To assure an optical flow more natural than design. 
- Laminate flooring is made of wood fibers. These are an "alive" element so they cause dimensional variations in the product, depending on the environmental conditions of the different rooms. 
Each room has a different temperature and humidity level. 
By means of the expansion joints in the door passages, we assure the creation of "hermetic" compartments, avoiding that contractions and expansions in adjoining rooms affect. 
 

Why is it necessary to leave at least a 10-mm expansion joint in the perimeter of the room, and also around the obstacles?

Finfloor laminate flooring is a wooden derivative and as so, it suffers from natural contractions and expansions as wood, depending on weather conditions (temperature and humidity) 
This expansion joint is necessary so that the flooring has a place to expand because of environmental changes (dimensional). Laminate flooring is a wooden material whose volume increases (it swells) under the influence of humidy or reduces (it contracts) in a dry environment. 
If we didn't leave a joint in our installation, the flooring, when it swelled, wouldn't have place to expand. When it found obstacles that prevented the mouvement of the pieces of the flooring, it would keep on pushing until GETTING CONVEX (bubbles would appear in our installation), apart from deforming the profiles among the pieces. 
It would possible be affected by its typical behaviours of swelling and contraction, because loading or placing big pieces of furniture on it. 
 

After how many lineal metres is it necessary to add intermediate expansion joints?

According to the recommendations, 5 lineal metres should not be exceeded vertically (the short side of the planks of FINfloor), neither 8 metres horizontally (long side of the pieces of FINfloor). 
If these recommended dimensions are exceeded in the installations, intermediate expansion joints should be placed. Also, it is necessary to place intermediate joints in the door passages. 
In rooms with an L, T, U shape, or similar, we can also place joints to to facitilate the expansion of the product. 
 

Can FINfloor/FINclic (all models) be laid over under-floor heating systems?

Yes, as long as you use the FINfloor Silent Underlay, as recommended by the manufacturer.
 
For the flooring and its underlay to be fitted over under-floor heating, their combined thermal resistance should not be more than 0.15 (m2·K)/W.  FINfloor's Silent Underlay and flooring have a combined resistance of 0.102 (m2·K)/W for the 7mm FINclic, and 0.127 (m2·K)/W for the 8mm FINclic COMM.
See the installation instructions on the underlay's labels.
 
It is also essential to take note of the following installation guidelines:
 
Subsoil Moisture Content:
 
It is very important to check the moisture content of the mineral subsoil (cement, plaster floors, etc.) of all existing, recently laid and already covered floors (with ceramic floor tiles, real stone, plastic, etc.).
You can check the moisture content of the mineral subsoil by using the magnesium moisture test (CM)  or by using test equipment that measures the relative moisture.
 
Maximum acceptable moisture content of mineral subsoils:
 
Main cement floor..........<2.0 CM%
Plaster floor....................<0.5 CM%
You are ideally looking for a figure less than 0.3 CM.
 
The surface temperature of the area onto which you are going to lay the flooring should be kept at around 18°C before, during and at least three days after installation.  After three days, the temperature should be slowly increased until it reaches the desired operating temperature, however, the surface temperature of the heated sub-floor should not exceed 28°C.  If you have an electric system, we recommend not exceeding 60W/m².
 
We advise you not to lay the flooring until this period of heating and cooling has transpired so that   it is not subjected to unnecessary expansion and contraction, and, therefore so that the gaps left for this expansion are correct.
 
Preparation of the laminate flooring:
 
Depending on the time of year, laminate flooring is subject to climate and temperature fluctuations.  In view of this, the preparation of the product prior to its installation is of the utmost importance.
The packs of flooring should be stored and conditioned to the rooms where they will fitted, at least 48 hours prior to installation.
 
The micro-climatic conditions of the area where the flooring is going to be laid should be maintained before, during and at least three days after installation:
 
Surface temperature of the floor  ..........15°C min.
Room temperature..................................18°C min.
Relative humidity...................................75% max.
 
Special attention should be given to insure that the laminate flooring, whilst stored for acclimatisation, is not exposed to air currents and not rested against any walls.  They should, ideally, be placed horizontally, away from any walls.
 

Placing of the skirting

When we are going to place the skirting, we must take into account in order that the joining of the planks is perfect, that the angle cuts are the most precise as possible. 
Also it is advisable to fill in the join (angle cut) with some silicone or putty in a colour similar to that of the skirting. 
When we join the two pieces of skirting, the spare product (putty-silicone) we have applied, will come out to the surface, and we will remove it with our finger or with a damp cloth. 
Thanks to that we will get a perfectly-sealed joining and that the join between the pieces won't be noticeable. 
To fix the skirting to the wall we will use small screws without head and we will apply a bit of silicone to assure the keying of the skirting to the wall (Silicones mustn't be acetic because the solvents used make the paper covering the skirting unglue).
There are in the market a kind of glues or silicones called " assembly glues" that substitute the screws and offer an extra drying and a very strong keying to the wall. 
 

How to fit the first pieces in a crooked wall?

Sometimes it is necessary to cut the first row of planks to shape them in the way of a crooked wall. 
Once we have installed the first three rows of planks we will bring this set to the walls. We must be sure that the 10-mm expansion joints are respected all along the perimeter. 
Once we have laid the flooring on its whole, we will cut a board into a little piece (1st picture) with a hole 5 cms far from the edge (the distance will depend on the depth of the irregularity of the wall)
We will use this piece to pass it along the wall with a pencil in the hole to mark the first row of boards. 
Once the pieces are marked, we will remove the first row of pieces to cut and give shape to the planks. 
When they are cut, we will lay them in the same position and we will approach the flooring on its whole to the wall, always leaving 10 mm as a expansion joint.
This procedure is valid for the possible irregularities of the wall in the last row. 
If the irregularities are smaller than 10 mm: 
 
We must lay the planks of the last row, but initially approaching them to the wall without taking into account the 10-mm expansion joint. 
To mark the irregularities of the wall in the planks, we will cut a piece (see 1st picture) with a hole 10mm far from the edge. 
Once all the planks are marked, we will remove them one by one and we will cut them 
 
This procedure is valid and equal for the possible irregularities that a wall may have in the last row.
If these irregularities are of less than 10 mm:
 
We must install all the planks of the last row, but approaching them to wall considering the 10 mm corresponding to the expansion joint. To mark the irregularities of the wall on the planks, we will make a piece (see picture 1) with a hole 10 mm far from the edge. 
Once the planks have been marked, we will remove them one by one and we will cut them all along the line. Each plank has to be fitted in the same position as before. 
All this process will result in a 10-mm expansion joint. 
 
If the irregularities are bigger than 10 mm:
 
In this case, the planks have to be placed (without being fitted) on the last installed row. 
We will make a piece (see picture 1) with a hole that depending on the irregularities of the wall will be less far or farther from the edge. 
Once the planks have been marked, we will remove them one by one and we will cut them all along the line. Each plank has to be fitted in the same position as before. 
 
All this process will result in a 10-mm expansion joint all along the wall.