Laminate Floor Install Question

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Old 12-08-11, 10:50 AM
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Laminate Floor Install Question

Hello,

My wife and I planning to replace our kitchen floor soon from the existing linoleum to a floating laminate floor. As I am greatly worried about floor height when installing over the linoleum, I plan to remove the existing lino and start fresh. Thus, I have been researching, but do have a couple of questions.

FYI. It appears if I go over the lino, I'll have issues with getting a Fridge back under the cabinet, likely dishwasher under the counter top, and also have to trim the bottom of doors. Thus, plan start fresh with tear out of the lino...... More work, but think will be better in the overall.

First, the home was build in mid/late 80's, so the lino should be Asbestos free.

I'm pretty sure, but will not know until we start that the lino is sitting on a 1/4 inch (think plywood) underlayment. I'm thinking its easiest/best to take a circ saw set to the proper depth, and just cut up and rip out the lino and underlayment all at once. Now, I'll be left with the subfloor to smooth and get level.

But I'm uncertain if I do need to put a new 1/4" underlayment on top of the subfloor, and than the laminate on top of that? I'll likely buy a laminate with an attached pad as well.

Or do you place a paper, or other 3-1 type underlayment down, with the laminate on top of that?

Or both? First a new 1/4" underlayment, and than 3-1 underlayment on that before installing the laminate?

Thanks for any help and tips!

EDIT: Crap I just realized there's a separate laminate flooring section. Can a Mod maybe move the post?
 
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Old 12-08-11, 11:05 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

I've moved your thread.
 
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Old 12-08-11, 12:39 PM
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Removing all substrate is best. Not to say it hasn't been done, but you are aware of the transitional problems, so that is a plus. First, laminate in a kitchen is probably the last place I'd put it, aside from a bathroom. Water spills can wreak havoc on laminate, because it will absorb water quickly and expand or delaminate. Keep in mind, laminate flooring is just a picture of wood on MDF and a coating. Now, rolling a 300 lb refrigerator over laminate could cause problems with the attachment points of the laminate. I don't think the height of the linoleum and substrate will be consequential to the dishwasher, as it has some travel via the screw pods and adjustable wheels.
That's my take. Sorry I couldn't be more positive.
 
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Old 12-09-11, 06:10 PM
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Chandler,

Thanks for the tips and warning on placing the Fridge back over the laminate. That's something I'll have to think about I continue thinking and planning.

But what about on what to place back down under the laminate? After I cut out and remove the existing lino and underlayment. Is it needed to put down a new 1/4 inch underlayment, and than 3-1 or ssimilar before putting down the laminate?

Or skip the 1/4" underlayment and just put the 3-1 directly on top of the subfloor?
 
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Old 12-10-11, 11:27 AM
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If you are taking up the existing lino, using the circular saw as you described is a common way to do it. I would try to pry it up first just in case it comes up easy in large pieces. It usually doesn't. Be prepared to trash the saw blade though, you will invariably be sawing through staples. Don't use an expensive blade.
A couple of points though: First, don't remove the dishwasher. Just take off the kick plate at the bottom and remove the lino and plywood up to the front feet. Then, when you install the new laminate, run it just behind the kick plate while maintaining a proper gap between the new laminate and the existing lino under the dishwasher.
Second, if the lino goes under your cabinets, you can either score up to them with a sharp utility blade and pry up and snap the ply wood (this will probably require you to chisel out some remaining plywood), or, and I really recommend this, buy an oscillating saw like a Fein, although much cheaper brands are available. This will allow you to cut right up to the cabinets very easily.
Regarding your questions about installation: Laminate is designed to be installed directly over level, relatively smooth subfloors. This means that all staples or nails have to be pounded down. 1/4" plywood underlayment is not required and offers no benefit. You will, however, need a laminate underlayment. This is usually a foam/moisture barrier combo referred to as "2in1". If you want a more "woodlike" sound, you can choose an underlayment with sound absorbing qualities. These are referred to as "3in1".
Some laminates come with this underlayment pre-attached. If you choose one of these, as you indicated, you install directly on the subfloor with no additional underlayment.
Lastly, although I don't think you would ever go wrong taking Chandler's advice, I have to disagree with him on whether laminate is appropriate for a kitchen. While it can have problems associated with continuous exposure to moisture, my experience is that modern laminate resists topical moisture very well. This comes both from customers, most of whom use laminate in their kitchens, and from my experience in our showroom where the laminate has been repeatedly exposed to puddles of water from a leaky roof that apparently can't be fixed. I hope this helps.
 
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Old 12-10-11, 11:59 AM
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Staabc is right on the topical moisture. My experience has been with sub moisture coming from leaking sinks, with water going under the cabinet, into the MDF portion of the laminate and totally bulging it up requiring quite a bit of work to repair. Likewise with refrigerator ice maker lines where the water will run down the tube and get "under" the laminate. I am sure surface moisture can be controlled much better, but my misgiving is having it near a source of water. Good advice on the underlayment, too.
 
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Old 12-29-11, 05:10 PM
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Thanks for all the tips and advice guys. I really appreciate it. The new laminate floor will be one of the last pieces done as I am currently (and slowly) workinh to steam wallpaper, and repaint walls first. I see no reason to put down a new floor to only than get paint on it.

FYI...... Were in Buffalo NY, and really don't have any sub-moisture issues. But that's a point well taken, and always important to watch for leaky pipes that could cause bigger and long term damage. I also hope to maybe even delay the floor until mid-march when the weather breaks to open a few windows when installing, and try for a more even temperature inside and outside the home.

And not having to put down a new 1/4" underlayment first before a new 3in1 or 2in1 will save me a few bucks and time. This whole project is currently being worked on while our baby sleeps, and less time I have a raw floor for a baby to crawl on the better!!
 
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Old 12-30-11, 07:38 AM
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You have received some great advice here and I have little to add. I would, however, like to offer a few tricks I've learned over the years. As to steaming the wall paper. I was on a job a while back and there was a guy taking wall paper off in a kitchen. It was old paper and he was peeling it off in large sheets, as easily as could be. Intrigued, I asked him how he was doing that so easily and he replied, "Kilz". He had seen it done on some home improvement show and tried it himself. I didn't have the presence of mind, at the time, to ask if it was water or oil base, but I did watch a little and it was amazing. He put it on with a roller, waited a bit, and then peeled the paper right off. Might be worth a try. I have to side with Chandler on the advisability of laminate in a kitchen. I never advise laminates anywhere water is present. Kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms. While it is true that topically, water is not much of an issue with today's laminates, the issue, for me, is, as Chandler points out, when it gets under the material. There must be a proper gap maintained around the perimeter of the laminate in order to allow for expansion and, should a pipe break or something, water will flow across the floor and under the laminate, causing LOTS of damage. On the flip side, however, should such a thing occur, just about any flooring you have down, short of actual tile, will be in trouble. So, in reality, who's to say? Now a tip on installing with a proper gap. I lived in Colorado and installed there for many years. The humidity levels varied wildly with seasons and this caused things to move greatly. I developed a method of dealing with it that worked well. I will remove all base board. I then cut the sheet rock up half an inch from the floor and clean the resulting space out back to the framing plate. I then install the laminate so it is even with the outer edge of the sheet rock. Upon completion, I re-install the base. This gives the laminate the full thickness of the sheet rock to expand and the full thickness of the base to contract. If your floor expands or contracts more than that, you need to move.
 
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