How to Determine the Cost of Laminate Flooring Installation
Today’s laminate floors come in a wide range of styles and colors. Laminate is available in a look that imitates solid wood, bamboo, tile or marble. Marketed as a DIY type of flooring, laminate is somewhat easy to install providing you have some basic knowledge about carpentry. Laminate flooring installation cost depends on the product’s quality, the subfloor condition and whether you want the flooring to be professionally installed.
Laminate Flooring Needs
The positive aspect regarding a package of laminate floor planks is that the sq. ft. coverage, per package, shows on the label. However, in case that you need only one more laminate plank, you will have to purchase another complete package. Measure your floor’s square footage in feet. Remember that the sq. footage, per package, differs by brand even though the sizes of the package are the same. A package of thin laminate floor planks may cover a total of 24 sq. ft, while a package of thicker laminate planks may cover 14 sq. ft only. Floor covering stores often present a sq. ft price, like “$2.50/sq.ft”. However, that may be confusing as you need to buy around 10% more than the total square footage of your floor to allow for waste.
Almost all laminate floors require a vapor barrier, which should be laid on the subfloor before laying the laminate. Similar to the planks, the vapor barrier cost will be based on its quality. Basically, a roll of polyurethane film can be purchased for as low as $15/100sq.ft of coverage, but if you prefer for a roll of thicker, sound-damping foam expect to pay more than $50/100sq.ft of coverage. Similar to the planks, you will need to purchase another entire roll in case that you need a little more only. Some barriers boast capability of peel-and stick installation, but others call for seam tape or staples, which is another expense. If your laminate flooring has foam backing, you will not need to install a disengage vapor barrier.
Tools and Materials
For your laminate flooring installation, you will need the following tools and materials, which will increase the total cost.
- Power tools (can be rented)
- Chop saw
- Circular saw
- Handheld jigsaw
- Tape measure
- Rubber mallet
- Tamping block (specified by the flooring manufacturer)
- Spacers Floor Preparation
Laminate flooring can be installed over existing vinyl, concrete, tile and wood flooring. The entire existing floor surface must be clean. If wavy vinyl, missing tiles or flaking concrete are problems, you might need to invest a few money in preparing the floor. Before the laminate flooring installation, you may need the following to fix your existing floor:
- Thinset – a bag of it can cost about $15 (for filling empty spaces left by missing tiles)
- Self-leveling compound – a 50-lb bag of it will cost about $38 (for leveling about 50 sq. ft of a concrete subfloor)
- Vinyl glue – a can of it can cost below $10 (for gluing down a loose vinyl floor) Labor Charges If you choose to hire a professional to install your laminate floor, expect to shell out $3-7 per sq. ft. Labor charges can quickly surpass material cost for laminate flooring installation, however, if you are uncertain about doing the job yourself, it is usual the most efficient choice. Besides sq. ft charges, determine if the professional installer charges a cost for travel time to your house.