Laying Down Laminate: How to Install Your New Floor

Laminate flooring comes in a wide variety of styles, is easy to clean, and it is very durable. Installing a laminate floor is also a relatively simple process, making it an ideal project if you are a DIY enthusiast looking to improve your home. If you want to know how to install laminate flooring, just follow these simple steps:

  • Step One – Allow your laminate flooring to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room in which it is being installed by laying out the packages of flooring in that room 48 hours prior to when you plan to install it.

  • Step Two – Remove any trim and base molding with a hammer and pry bar. Clean the sub-floor completely, careful to remove all dirt and debris. For the best end result, it’s vital to have a clean, flat surface with which to work.

  • Step Three – If you are installing your laminate floor over concrete, lay down a moisture barrier – usually a sheet of plastic six or eight millimeters thick – as directed by the manufacturer of the flooring. If you are installing on top of a wood floor, this liner is not required.

  • Step Four – Cut the doorjambs so that the flooring will fit under them. Use a piece of the flooring you plan to install to make a measurement, and make the cut with a trim saw. This is easier and less time-consuming than trying to cut the flooring to fit around the jambs.

  • Step Five – Now, you are ready to start installing. Some flooring brands will come with an under-layering that you need to lay down prior to installing, while others will have that layer already attached to the planks. Lay your first plank parallel to the longest wall in the room and with the groove facing the wall, then place half-inch spacers between the plank and the wall.

  • Step Six – This is where knowledge of how to install laminate flooring becomes vital. Trim the plank for the second row so that it ends six or eight inches before the previous row. Installing in this manner makes the floor stronger and also avoids too much uniformity in it’s appearance. When you have the piece trimmed, tap the tongue of the second plank into the the groove of the first plank using a discarded piece of flooring, or something else relatively soft, to protect the planks. Make sure that the pieces fit snugly together.

  • Step Seven – Continue to install planks in this manner, staggering the ends six or eight inches each time, and be sure to place half-inch spacers between planks and walls. This allows the floor to “breathe,” which will prevent warping and cracking. Don’t worry about the appearance of the gaps, as they’ll later be covered by the base molding.

  • Step Eight – The final plank will have to be measured and ripped prior to installation. Don’t forget to account for the spacer between the plank and the wall when you make your measurement. When the cut is made, install the plank and gather your base molding and door thresholds.

  • Step Nine – Remove your half-inch spacers from between the flooring and walls, then install the base molding and door thresholds.

Learning how to install laminate flooring really is as simple as that. The end result is well worth the effort. Just remember that, even more than usual, it’s important to be careful with your measurements and cuts, as replacing a mis-cut laminate flooring plank isn’t as simple as just grabbing another piece of lumber off the pile.