Laminate floors have become immensely popular in recent years, and many people want to lay laminate in their homes. However, the installation can be quite pricey, which might leave you wondering whether there is a way you can install the floor yourself. Doing so certainly lowers the costs, but you will need the right tools.
One of the most important tools is a rubber mallet, as this will be used to drive the planks into place and make sure they fit well against each other. However, you may not be sure what size to buy.
What size mallet for laminate flooring? There is no fixed size of mallet necessary for laying laminate flooring, so you can use almost anything reasonably large. You want to ensure that the tool feels comfortable in your hand and that has enough weight to easily knock the planks into place. Around 18 oz should work well, but you can go for a little heavier or a little lighter if you prefer.
What Sort of Mallet is Needed For Laying Laminate Floors?
Your mallet is going to be an important tool when you’re laying the floor, and most people opt for a heavy rubber mallet. Choose one that feels comfortable in your hand, but make sure it has enough weight to do the job – so 18 oz or more. If your mallet is too light, it won’t provide much force and you’ll have to work harder.
You don’t have to use a rubber mallet for installing laminate floors; a hammer will work instead. However, the hammer has a couple of drawbacks.
Firstly, hammers are a lot nosier than rubber mallets. That can make the installation process less pleasant for you and for any family members or pets that are nearby. If you are able to, it makes a lot more sense to use a rubber mallet.
Secondly, a metal edge is more likely to damage the laminate flooring than a soft, rubber edge. This won’t usually be an issue because you’ll have a tapping block between your tool and the laminate, but using a hammer does slightly increase the risks of you ruining your laminate before you have even laid it.
If you slip or move the block by mistake, the rubber mallet is far less likely to damage your flooring.
How Should You Choose the Mallet?
When choosing the mallet, you should hold the tool in your hand and give it an experimental swing. You want it to feel comfortable in your palm, and you should be able to feel the weight of the rubber providing a driving force that will knock the planks into place. If the mallet doesn’t feel comfortable, choose another one.
Because every person has different hands and different preferences, it’s important to make sure that the mallet you select suits you. You’re going to be using it a lot while laying the laminate, so you want to ensure it feels right. Some people prefer mallets with longer handles, while others like shorter and thicker ones.
This means it’s generally best to buy your mallet in person at a store, rather than choosing one online. You will be able to try it out and make sure it feels comfortable to you before you purchase it.
What Other Tools are Needed for Laying Laminate Floors?
You need a few different tools if you’re going to lay your own laminate. Firstly, you’ll need a saw so you can cut the planks to the desired length and trim off any unnecessary edges. You may also need a pull bar, a tapping block, a combination square, a drill, and a tape measure.
You may need other tools for more complicated jobs (e.g. if the floor is an irregular shape), but this should be enough in most cases. The above tools will almost always be needed for installing laminate, although the drill may be optional.
The pull bar is used to pull the laminate planks tightly against each other, eliminating gaps where dust or moisture could get into the floor. The tapping block is used as a buffer between your mallet and the laminate. You will set the tapping block against the end of the laminate board, and then strike the tapping block, rather than the laminate.
The vibrations and force sent through the tapping block will gently push the laminate’s interlocking grooves and tongue into place against the other boards. This allows it to be pulled tight and ensures you get an even, flat surface. If you don’t use a tapping block, your mallet will ruin the edge of your laminate.
The combination square allows you to create 45 degree and 90 degree angles accurately. You will generally be using it to mark where you will need to cut the planks off to join with the wall. This will give you a neat edge and ensure that your planks fit the desired space.
You will not always require a drill, but if there are any pipes or other obstructions in the room, having one allows you to create large, neat holes for them to pass through. The tape measure, obviously, is required for measuring the room and the flooring, and dealing with any other obstacles.
Once you have these tools, you should be ready to start laying your laminate flooring.
Can You Lay Laminate Floors Without a Mallet?
If you don’t have a mallet or a hammer, it is possible to lay laminate floors by knocking them into place with another heavy tool, but this isn’t ideal. You will have to work much harder if you’re using a makeshift hammer, and you may not end up with a great finish. Buying or borrowing a hammer or mallet will make the job faster and improve the results.
You can use any reasonably large mallet for laying laminate flooring, as long as it is comfortable for you to hold and weighty enough to drive the planks into place. Avoid using a very small mallet, as this won’t provide enough kick to push the planks in.