Laminate flooring newbie - advice sought

Happy New Year!
I have a small dining room , about 3mx2.5m, currently carpeted and am thinking of replacing this with wooden laminate flooring. The actual floor underneath is concrete. Happily, I have no skirtings fitted as I've removed these, having just had the walls replastered. So, carpet, underlay and grippers are coming up at the weekend.
I don't know much about laminate but I imagine I want some 'underlay/ foam' stuff down on top of the concrete, take the laminate to the walls with a small (10mm ?) gap all around, then put the skirting boards on last, allowing the floor to 'float' - is that about right?
Now, laminate flooring is available from Wickes, B&Q, IKEA, etc. Is it all pretty much the same re. choice of colours and quality? Am I likely to have trouble fitting it myself? Are the 'locking' panels equally effective and easy to snap together without special tools? Any recommendations for other suppliers? What should I put underneath it? Anything else I should bear in mind?
Many thanks, Jeff
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Laminate is very 90's now like garden decking. I prefer a good quality underlay and carpet. They look much better, are not "cold" and don't make everything echo. Why fit a 2.99 cheap looking laminate floor and ruin the appearance of your home? I have spent months ripping up laminate flooring and fitting carpets as people have moved on from a cheap look.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I agree with this poster. Its a sod to keep looking good. Scratches easily and shows every speck of dirt.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

.
You can get pretty good and tough laminate flooring with textured grain etc. Note that the darker colours look better. For the cheap look, the worst is that pine-type stuff, that looks yellow (thats really the 80s/90s peril !) Thing is, good stuff costs nearly as much as engineered wood, so you might as well use real wood. Simon.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Merryterry wrote:

I'd say it was much easier to maintain. Reasonable quality doesn't scratch at all. As for 'shows every spec of dirt', hard floors get the same amount of dirt as carpets do, its just that carpets only look dirty when full.
Quick vacuum or whip round with a flat moist thingy is all you need on laminate.
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman
www.medwayhandyman.co.uk
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sorry - newsreader lost the start of this thread, so I have to reply here...
To attempt to answer the OP's question:
Pergo is very good as far a laminate goes - I've used the Pergo click stuff (from Allied Carpets) and it's a doddle.
Best laid on either laminate underlay foam or green fibre board (all in the laminate section of the store).
A vapour barrier sheet of polythene might be an idea too.
Minimal tools:
http://www.screwfix.com/prods/64749/Flooring/Flooring-Accessories/Laminate-Flooring-Fitting-Kit
and a means of cutting. I found a jigsaw with a double-edged worktop blade very good, with no surface splintering.
HTH
Tim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
James R wrote:

Oi!
Decking is still very popular I'm glad to say. I built 9 last year.
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman
www.medwayhandyman.co.uk
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 01/01/2009 14:13 James R wrote:

Really? Fact or opinion?

I don't see a reference to 2.99 anywhere in the original posting.

It's a pity you had 'cheap' down and have had to remove it. We've got laminate in a couple of locations. It doesn't look cheap.
To the OP, Quickstep Quadra is well worth a look and is easy to lay. Use their underlay.
--
F


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks. I'll get busy researching in a mo'
What size are the individual panels typically? Is it easier to fit fewer longer (bigger) ones than many short ones?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 01/01/2009 19:31 snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The Quadra are just short of 400mm square.

Being square you just add them together to get 'planks' the width of the room. I used the planks I created with an offset on each row to get a brick bond effect.
I've used other, more traditional, shapes and found it easier to work with several rows of shorter length rather than fewer rows of longer length which can become a little tricky to click together.
Having the skirting off makes the whole job much, much easier!
--
F



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com coughed up some electrons that declared:

About 5ft by 6" give or take a few.
Cheers
Tim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com has brought this to us :

They are about 4 or 5 feet long and about 9" wide. You lay an entire series of lengths end to end - all clicked together with the cut to size piece at one end. Then add a second row all fixed together as one strip and so on, you cannot just fit one section at a time - it has to be an entire row in one go. You need to offset the joints just like the bricks in a wall, between one row and the next one. If the room is long, it becomes difficult to ease a row into place without it falling apart - so some help might then be needed.
--
Regards,
Harry (M1BYT) (L)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't remember fitting it like that. IIRC you just put one board in, the one next to it and so on along the row.
Having done both glued and click together I'd certainly go for the click together version (isn't most of the decent stuff like that anyway).
not that I'd install it again, I find it very cold (and if you ahev kids and spend much time sitting on it you end up covering it rugs to make it more comfortable), it chips pretty easy if stuff dropped on it, and it just looks rather bland. I'd go for an engineered wood floor at least.
--
Chris French


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
James R wrote:

I have laminate in my living/dining room. It was there when I bought the place, but I'm very happy with it. I don't find it echoey, but then again I have two fabric sofas and several square metres of heavy curtains which must soak up the sound. I also don't find it cold; admittedly when I occasionally watch TV lying in the floor rather than sitting on the sofa bare laminate would probably be uncomfortable, but that's why I have a big wool rug in that corner. The thing about the rug rather than a carpet is that when I "entertain", like last night, I can roll it up and put it out of the way. Then if red wine, cheese etc get spilt on the floor (which they did, a little) I don't need to give a toss. Likewise we can all go out into the garden to watch the fireworks and come back in again without mass fumbling with shoes. A quick whizz round with the mop this afternoon and it all looks great again. I can't really imagine the room with carpet instead, but I doubt it would look any better. Of course, I chose the colours and furniture with the existing floor in mind.
Knowing the previous occupants of the house it's probably a fairly cheap version, so will no doubt start looking a bit shabby and need replacing at some point in the future. I'll look at various alternatives then, but whatever I pick it ain't going to be carpet.
Pete
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yup. Get the underlay they reccommend - money well spent.

Generally no, if you buy the fixing kit & read the destructions. I have had very bad experiences with two types of Homobase laminate & wouldn't touch it with a bargepole TBH. Used Wickes a lot.

IMO locking panels are the way forward.
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman
www.medwayhandyman.co.uk
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.