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Can You Install Laminate Flooring on Walls?

Maybe you’ve seen a faux wooden accent wall in a magazine and wondered how you could get that rustic look without the expense and upkeep of natural wood. It seems simple, but can you really just install laminate flooring on your walls?

You can install laminate flooring on walls that are non-sloping and climate-controlled. The tape and caulk adhesive methods are most common because they don’t require as many nails. Clean the walls, pry up the trim, and add the laminate flooring row by row.

Laminate floor planks

Read on to determine which walls are suitable for laminate flooring and two different ways to install laminate flooring on walls.

What Is Shiplap?

Shilap white wall

This style of wall is hugely popular, traditionally horizontal planks of wood installed on the exterior or interior walls. It lends a rustic or coastal feeling to rooms and can even make them look bigger. Shiplap looks great as an accent wall, but you can deck out a whole room in wood laminate.

Can You Install Laminate Flooring on Walls?

Worried female holding hammer and power drill

Though it’s a great look, traditional shiplap is much more expensive. Laminate flooring has come a long way in the last couple of decades, and you can get a similar look to the traditional horizontal wood boards at a fraction of the price. There are tons of laminate styles and patterns to choose from. Laminate flooring is easy for even beginners to install, and unlike wooden slats, vinyl flooring doesn’t collect dust between the ‘boards.’

Should You Install Laminate Flooring on Walls?

Carpenter tools

You can only use laminate flooring in climate-controlled areas, not outside or in all-season rooms. It expands and contracts with temperature and moisture change. In other words, you cannot install laminate on sloped walls or ceilings.

Walls can’t show any signs of moisture damage and should be free of chipping or peeling paint. Only install laminate flooring on unfinished or painted walls.

How To Install Laminate Flooring on Walls

Carpenter smiling and thinking

This is an excellent project for any DIYer, and you can complete a single wall in a day after everything is ready and prepped.

Choose Laminate for Your Walls

The best laminate flooring for walls is lightweight flooring without padding underneath. There are different types of laminate flooring, including overlapping joint, angle-angle, and quick lock flooring. They’re all suitable for walls, but you’ll install them differently.

Drop-and-lock is also called tongue-and-groove laminate and ‘clicks’ together either along the long or short ends. Overlapping joint laminate doesn’t lock at the short ends.

The installation method you choose will affect what laminate flooring you can use. There are two ways you can choose to install:

Tape Method

This is the easier of the two methods. It doesn’t require as many nails, and you can install it without power tools. Laminate sticks to the wall with special wood flooring tape.

This method requires planks with simple overlapping end joints, not angle-angle or interlocking. The tape adheres immediately, making precise application very important.

Caulk Adhesive Method

You can use any kind of lightweight laminate with this method. It requires silicone caulk and a caulk gun, and though you don’t have to use a nail gun, an air compressor and nail gun make the project much easier.

Copyright article owner is ReadyToDiy.com for this article. This post was first published on May 8, 2021.

To find out how much laminate you need, measure the width and height of your wall. Calculate the area of your wall or walls, subtract the area of any doors and windows. Always buy about ten percent more laminate to account for any mistakes and trimming ends.

Prepare the Things You’ll Need

Here are the things you’ll need for this DIY.

Prepare Your Laminate and Walls

Flooring needs to acclimate to the room in which you’re installing it. Leave your flooring in the room for 36 to 48 hours. Walls must be free of debris and dust. You can install laminate flooring over painted walls, but not on wallpaper or peeling and chipping paint.

Find Wall Studs

If you’re installing the flooring over unfinished walls, you’ll see the row of screws that indicate the center of the joists. If you’re using the glue method, you’ll nail each piece of flooring to these studs.

A stud finder, such as this OXV Stud Finder Wall Scanner, will help you locate studs behind painted walls.

Pry Up Trim

Remove any trim on the bottom and sides of the wall and around any doors or windows. Be careful, because you’ll be hiding the edges of the laminate with the trim, so take care not to crack the trim (unless you’re replacing it as well). You’ll need extra wood nails to reattach.

Check To See if Your Floor and Wall Is Level

If the floor is uneven, create a level chalk line along the base of the wall. The lowest point should be at least ¼ inch (0.64 cm) above the floor. Check to see if the wall is level. A 3/16 inch (0.48 cm) gap or less is okay. If the wall is uneven, you’ll have to spackle the wall to even it out.

This will take at least another day as you let the spackle dry.

Lay Out Your Laminate

Get an idea of how you’d like to line it up on the wall. Most people stagger the joints and try to get a nice mix of colors. Make sure all the laminate is in good shape and not damaged. The laminate should rest for at least 48 hours in the room to acclimate to the ambient temperature and humidity.

Read the Instructions

Understand how your particular laminate is installed and locks together. If you’re taping, make sure the end joints don’t interlock. If the instructions say to install the floor right to left, you’ll install it on the wall left to right.

Add the First Row of Laminate

To do this step:

  1. Start at the bottom. Leave a ¼ inch (0.64 cm) gap above the floor, or install along the level line you created.
  2. Add the tape to the back of your panels OR apply a zigzag of caulk along your interlocking laminate.
  3. Starting at the left, leave a ¼ inch (0.64 cm) gap between the wall and edge of the laminate, and press firmly onto the wall.
  4. When you get to the last piece of laminate, measure where the laminate ends, leaving ¼ between the wall.
  5. Trim the end and apply.
  6. Nail the first row onto the studs. The trim will cover these nails.

Add the Rest of the Laminate

Continue to add tape OR caulk to the back of the laminate and lock it into the previous row. If you’re staggering joints, make sure each piece is at least 8 inches (3.15 cm) long. When you get to the top row, you may have to split the laminate horizontally. Leave ¼ inch (0.635 cm) between the laminate and ceiling.

If you’re using the caulking method, each row of laminate should be blind nailed to each stud. Put a brad nail on the inside lip of the laminate. This is important since the caulk needs help while it is drying.

Reinstall the Trim

Attach the trim with brad nails along the base of the wall and around doors and windows. If you find that your trim isn’t hiding the edges of your flooring, you’ll have to recut and reapply the laminate around the edges. You could also try installing larger trim.

Taking Care of Laminate Walls

You can clean laminate walls with a damp rag and dust them occasionally. Laminate walls should never come in contact with prolonged moisture.

When hanging from laminate flooring walls, drive nails into the studs behind the walls.

Related Articles

Can You Install Laminate on an Uneven Floor?

Can You Install Laminate on Uneven Concrete?

Can/Should You Fix Gaps in Laminate Flooring?

Laminate Floor Is Moving and Shifting: How to Fix It?

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 8, 2021.

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