If you’re going to install a laminate floor – and you’re not an expert – there are a couple of things you need to, and several of them are not all that obvious. First off, it is not the sort of task to take on yourself – get at least one or two people to help you. Most rooms are a good size, and even a small room is going to require two to three planks in a row. Well, all of the joints have to be supported while you lock the new row into the old (previous) one. There is no way to do that by yourself!
Next, depending on the quality of the laminate, the tongue and grooves on each board might be nothing more than fibreboard, which is nothing more than pressed cardboard. You can avoid this by buying good quality laminate. Ask the clerk at the store you shop at as to what the laminates they have available are made from. These days, you can get them made of bamboo, which is a very durable material, yet not at all expensive. Now, if you do end up with the inexpensive laminate – that is, the ones with the fibreboard tongue and groove – know this: you can only reposition each board about five to six times before the tongue and groove start to give out. This may seem like a lot of chances to get the boards in the right position, but – for the inexperienced installer (amateur) – you can burn through those options quicker than you know. If you have a situation where a board just isn’t connecting with the others – toss it aside (for later use, to be explained below). It’s better to try again with a fresh board than end up with a floor that looks shoddy.
However, here is another priceless little tip – just because a board has its tongue torn off, that does not mean you have to throw it away. Now, if the groove is badly damaged, there really is not much you can do with it, unless the damaged area is small enough to cut away. In that event, you may end up with a short length of plank to use on an end or corner. In the case of the tongue, you can use food glue and try to re-attach it to the board. At the very least, set the plank(s) aside and let it (them) dry for about 24 hours. If, after that, they feel good and solid, you can use them again.
Finally, there is the underlayment fabric you place between the bare floor and the laminate you put down. Technically, you are supposed to completely cover the floor, but if you run short, there is an option you can use to avoid having to buy an entire roll for just a small space. You can just substitute some folded up newspaper. Place several pages together and fold them until they are the same thickness of the under layer. Just make sure that you don’t use newspaper to cover a large area – something a few inches wide is all.