How to Install Laminate Flooring 

laminate flooring

One of the best DIY projects you can tackle at home this year is to install a laminate floor. This option delivers many of the benefits that hardwood flooring provides at a substantial discount while upgrading almost every room in the home. 

The installation process is relatively simple since a laminate floor doesn’t need to be glued or mortar and grout. You can cut the planks with a flooring cutter, circular saw, or hand saw. That means you don’t need many expensive tools to get the work done.

Most laminate flooring products use a simple tongue-and-groove system that snaps together. That makes the installation relatively trouble-free and straightforward.

Here are the steps to follow for this project if you want to tackle it at home this year. If you need any help, reach out to our team to get each room to where you want it to be.

1. Prepare the Installation Area

Before installing the laminate flooring, you’ll need to prepare the subfloor for the installation process. That starts by removing the existing molding, baseboards, and floors.

The subfloor must be flat, clean, and solid. If you have a concrete surface, it might need the holes patched with a repair compound. Wood subfloors must have damaged boards replaced and protruding nails or screws removed.

Your floor might need a vapor barrier installed before the laminate flooring is finalized.

The planks should acclimate to the room’s humidity and temperature for at least 48 hours before installation. Layout the unopened boxes to accomplish this goal. That gives you enough time to secure any safety equipment you need, including knee guards, safety glasses, and hearing protection.

2. Prepare the Door Jambs

It’s easier to cut the trim around the doorways than to cut the floor planks to match the irregular shape of your door jambs. Cutting them ensures the flooring slips underneath to provide a more finished look.

It helps to take one of the planks to see how thick the cut needs to be. Then, trace a guideline on each jamb before cutting to ensure more accuracy.

A jamb saw is the best tool to use, but anything that makes a side cut will give you the results you want. 

3. Plan the First and Last Row

Install your flooring parallel to the longest focal point or wall in each room. Please measure the width from its longest point, dividing the distance by the plank width. That tells you what the width of the final plank needs to be to complete the work.

Add the width of a full plank to the exact figure for what is necessary for the last row. Divide that result by two, cutting each plank in the first and last row to that width. You’ll need 3/8-inch gaps along both walls.

Once the measurements are correct, you can cut the planks to size needed. Most products should be cut with the finished side up. Using clamps to hold them steady while working ensures a more accurate result.

4. Install the Underlayment

If you purchase laminate flooring with the underlayment attached, you can skip this step. You’ll need to install a separate layer to preserve and insulate your floors for the flooring products that don’t come with this feature.

You want the underlayment to meet without overlapping. If you have seams on top of each other, your floor will feel lumpy. Try using duct tape on each edge to create a seamless result.

5. Install the First Row of Planks

All laminate floors expand and contract as the temperature, and humidity levels fluctuate. Place 3/8-inch spacers along the wall to have a consistent gap around the floor edges.

If the door is on the shorter wall, start laying planks on the opposite side of the room. That’ll ensure you have an uncut edge for the threshold. 

Place the tongue side facing the wall with the first plank. Install the second next to the first by aligning the tongue to the groove. When you come to the end of the first row, cut the length to fit your space, ensuring the necessary spacer gap remains. 

6. Install the Remaining Rows

Continue the installation process to finish the laminate floor. It helps to stagger the seams a little for a more natural look. But, again, you want at least a foot of space in this design element to ensure the design looks great when you’ve finished. 

After the floor is installed, remove the spacers and install a matching threshold. Finally, you’ll need to add the baseboard and molding to the walls with finishing nails to complete the project.


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