Posted 01 Apr by

If you’re building or renovating your home, chances are you’ve already crunched the numbers and decided on a budget for flooring. What you want to avoid where possible are unexpected costs.

When it comes to installing laminate flooring, you can realistically budget between $25-$30.00 per square metre. However, its important that you’re aware that this only covers the price of laying the laminate flooring. It doesn’t include any sub-floor work. Underlay is required for laminate flooring as a moisture protector. We recommend a rubber underlay, as it has more density and durability than foam underlay.

Sub-floor work is the preparation labour that’s required before you lay the actual flooring. Unless it’s a new build, you’ll need to remove your existing floor coverings or carpeting before work can begin. They’ll also charge for the removal and disposal of the debris, and of course, the additional labour charges.

Why a level sub-floor is crucial

Laminate floors aren’t attached directly to the sub-floor beneath them. They’re floating floors. If the sub-floor isn’t smooth and level, your laminate flooring could squeak, or the click-in system that joins each piece may separate over time.

Quite often what we see are people only realising they have an issue once the installer arrives on site and start to remove the existing flooring. Sometimes a customer will pull up carpeting only to find that there’s undulation on the concrete sub-floor. The installer may choose to level the floors manually, by filling in the low spots or use a self-leveling compound. This is a chemical mixture designed to smooth uneven concrete or wooden floors. The good news is that laminate flooring that’s been installed with underlay padding can work with a deviance of between 2mm and 3mm.

Its also quite common to find different rooms in the house have varying sub-floor heights. If you’re laying new laminate flooring throughout your home, it’s something you need to be mindful of as it can affect cost. Deviations in height can cause tripping hazards in homes, and you’ll need to either use a leveling compound, or lay Masonite or particleboard to ensure a level surface.

Eliminate all risks of dampness

Any water or dampness that rises from a sub-floor can lead to warping or buckling of your laminate flooring. Your installer will need to eliminate any risk of moisture before beginning the process. This can add to costs too. For example, if you’re installing new flooring in your kitchen, you can’t always just lay right over the top of your tiles. Cracks and breaks need to be repaired as they can hold moisture. This is dependant on the height levels of your new flooring, as you need to be aware of the flooring fitting underneath door jambs whilst trying to eliminate having to shave the doors on the bottom. Sometimes this is unavoidable, but should be discussed with a professional installer prior to making a decision which flooring height is best for your needs.

It is possible to lay floating floors on top of existing tiles, but this needs to be considered carefully. Tiles need to be in good condition with no cracks, tile grout shouldn’t be too low and may need to be filled with a compound. For the same reasons, the grout will need to be refilled and leveled if it’s worn away in places. It may cost a little more to prep your tiles to ensure they’re watertight. But, it’s crucial the affected tiles are repaired or replaced before you lay your flooring.

Other costs you need to be aware of

Ensuring your sub-flooring is in good shape is essential, but what about above the flooring? Have you thought about how you’d like to edge your new laminate flooring? If you’ve got an existing architrave on your walls, are you going to keep it? If you’re using the existing architrave, you’ll need to factor in the additional cost of scotia. This material is colour matched to your laminate flooring and is placed in front of the architrave to prevent damage to your plaster wall.

Installation costs can also vary depending on the flooring you choose. A standard 12mm laminate floor features a dry method click-in system, which allows the installation of panels without any adhesive materials. However, if you want an engineered timber for your floor, your installer will need to use  a PVC cross-linking glue for a tongue and groove system. Some engineered timber are a click system and don’t require a PVA cross linking glue. Depending upon the nature of the job, your installer may recommend an underlay underneath it, or glue it directly to the sub-floor.

If you’re going to lay engineered timber, as an example, then that may be getting closer to the $35 to $50 per square metre mark for installing engineered timber. Installation costs vary according to floating the floor or directly glueing to the sub-floor.

Laminate flooring vs vinyl plank flooring

If you have a tight budget, you may be weighing up the costs between the installation of laminate flooring and vinyl plank flooring. Going this route won’t help you cut expenses necessarily. Vinyl floors don’t use the same click-in system as laminate flooring; they’re directly glued to your sub-floor. Installers use glue directly on the timber or concrete sub-floor. There’s a lot more labour required in the installation as it involves gluing and buffing to eradicate any gaps. Costs could vary from $30 to $45 a square metre for the installation.

How Karma Flooring can help cut your costs

When you get a quote from a big retailer, they’re essentially selling you a whole package. The package includes material, installation, and warranties. The quote isn’t transparent, which means you can’t see where there’s room for you to make different decisions that could reduce your costs. Karma Flooring is a factory direct warehouse, which means you’ll be working directly with us. Unlike large retailers, we provide a much more personalised service, taking into account your needs, budget and requirements. We’re only interested in selling you premium quality grade flooring with an accurate cost per metre quote (including warranties) so you’ll know exactly what you’re paying for.

Large retailers are also known for using anyone to perform the install. You could end up with a service provider that might have the time to do the job, but they may lack the experience and professionalism you’d expect. Karma Flooring only works with a small collection of flooring experts that we know and trust, ensuring that you get the required experience and professionalism to get the job done right.

At Karma Flooring we recommend you discuss any additional installation costs with your contractor before they give you a final quote. Get them around for a property inspection. They’ll be able to spot many potential issues that may add to your installation bill and quote on the sub-floor preparation if it’s needed.

If you’re not sure, give us a call and we’ll gladly help.

Ready to buy laminate wood flooring from us?

Come round and view our showrooms in Bayswater, Epping, Carrum Downs and Traralgon. Karma Flooring is a factory outlet for premium quality laminate flooring, and you could save up to 50% on the material when you by directly from us. We’re looking forward to meeting you.