iStock_000011140001XSmallBefore you begin your Swiss Krono laminate flooring installation project, make sure you’ve got the necessary time and tools to do the job right.Time is an important tool when installing a laminate floor.One of the big advantages of choosing laminate as a floor covering is that it’s relatively easy to install. Compared to many floor-covering options such as ceramic tile, hardwood and even carpet, nothing could be truer.However, many do-it-yourselfers make the mistake of under-estimating the time that they should allow to complete even a small flooring project. We recommend that you set aside three days to avoid any frustration because you’re trying to hurry the process:Day 1: Removal — Move the furniture out of the way and then remove the old floor. Correct any problems or unevenness in the subfloor.Day 2: Installation — Install the laminate flooring.Day 3: Trim and Moldings — Install the trim and moldings, move the furniture back and enjoy.Don’t forget to take the time to acclimate your laminate-flooring planks a minimum of 48 hours before you begin the installation.

A Couple of “timely” additions are worth noting…

If this is your first laminate-flooring installation, take time to gather the right tools and read the installation instructions of your newly purchased flooring thoroughly. If this is your one-hundredth installation, you should still allow time to read the instructions thoroughly and check the condition of your tools. Remember, instructions can get updated and tend to vary from style to style.Let’s say you’re planning a below-grade installation over a concrete floor. You’ll need to verify the moisture-vapor flow in the concrete by testing and then applying a low VOC moisture abatement product to the concrete subfloor, as well as a using a vapor barrier underneath the pad, if necessary. Or let’s say you’re installing your floor near such a water source as a bath or kitchen. We recommend using a PVC Type II glue in the joints within 5 feet of the sink or tub to help keep topical moisture out, and a 100% mildew-resistant silicone sealer around the exposed edges. You’ll need to allow time for that to dry about 24 hours before walking on it.

Take time to assemble your laminate-flooring-installation tools

The good news about shopping for the right tools to install laminate flooring is that all of them are easy to find at your local Home Depot, Lowe’s or hardware store. Laminate flooring is so popular that finding a sales associate who has first-hand experience about what you’ll need is pretty easy.

Take time to check the condition of your flooring installation tools

Nothing can be as frustrating as starting a project and having to stop to make a trip to the store to get a new saw blade because you didn’t notice that the old one couldn’t cut butter, much less planks made with an HDF core like Swiss Krono laminate flooring. Save yourself time now and aggravation later on by making sure everything is ready to go — before you start installing your laminate floor.

Why is the right kind of saw blade so important for cutting laminate flooring?

What we like about laminate flooring – its strength, durability and surface protection – also makes it a very hard material. Two structural factors contribute to this: the high-density fiberboard (HDF) core and the aluminum-oxide wear layer on the decor side of the plank. To assume you can successfully cut this with the same saw blade that you would use to cut a 2 x 4 or piece of plywood would be a mistake.

Look for two things when you choose the correct saw blade for cutting your planks:

  1. Number of teeth. The correct saw blade for laminate flooring should have a lot of teeth. Depending on the size of the saw you’re using, the tooth-count could go up over 100.
  2. Carbide-tipped teeth. Even a carbide-tipped saw blade will dull significantly cutting through laminate flooring. It’s always good to have a couple of carbide-tipped saw blades handy.

How should laminate flooring be cut?

No matter what the installation project, you will always have to cut laminate flooring to the proper length. To stay safe while cutting laminate flooring planks:

  • Always wear eye protection and use an N-95 dust mask, unless you’re using a “dustless” cutter;
  • Always do your cutting outside the home; and
  • The teeth of the saw blade should come into contact with the face or decor side of the plank at a right angle. Don’t be surprised if you see sparks and a little smoke when the blade comes into contact with the surface. That’s because you’re sawing through the aluminum-oxide wear layer, one of the hardest coatings there is.

Is “chipping” a concern when I cut laminate flooring?

Chipping is a relatively minor concern because the end that you saw will be hidden under the quarter-round or other trim at the base of the wall or transition.