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Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Laminate Flooring

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By Donovan Carrington

Laminate flooring is a synthetic flooring product that replicates the appearance of hardwood or stone. It consists of multiple layers, including a high-density fiberboard (HDF) core, a photographic layer, and a protective top layer. Laminate flooring offers numerous benefits, such as affordability, easy maintenance, and a wide range of design options. In this article, we’ll take you through the installation process of laminate flooring, providing you with valuable insights and practical tips along the way.

Prepare the Room

To prepare the room for installing laminate flooring, you need to follow certain steps. With the sub-sections of removing old flooring, cleaning the subfloor, and leveling the subfloor, you can ensure that your new laminate flooring will look and perform at its best.

Remove Old Flooring

Time to get ready to install some new flooring! Before you start, you’ll need to remove the existing one. Here’s how:

  1. Move all furniture away from the room or to one side. Give yourself enough space to work.
  2. Pry off baseboards and moldings with a hammer and pry bar.
  3. Use a floor scraper tool and putty knife to start removing the old flooring.
  4. If adhesive is left on the subfloor, use adhesive remover. Let it sit before scraping it away.
  5. Clean the subfloor and check for any damages or unevenness.

Extra details: Check if there are any nails or screws sticking out of the subfloor. Also, assess if the subfloor needs repairing due to moisture damage or rotting.

Pro Tip: If unsure about any part of the process, consult professional contractors.

Clean the Subfloor

To get the best installation of your new flooring, it’s a must to clean the subfloor beforehand. Here’s a 5-step guide:

  1. Clear out any debris in the area.
  2. Vacuum or sweep up any dust.
  3. Apply a suitable cleaning solution if there are stains or spots and brush them.
  4. Rinse with clean water and let it dry.
  5. Check if the subfloor is level and even it out before installing.

It’s vital to know that different floorings require different cleaning techniques. Hardwood floors, for instance, should not be drenched in water – it might harm it. And some cleaning solutions may be damaging to vinyl floors.

Pro Tip: Always read the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your subfloor to avoid issues during installation. Get rid of that ‘sinking’ feeling in your renovated room by making sure you level the subfloor prior to laying any new flooring.

Level the Subfloor

Make sure your new flooring is even! To achieve a level subfloor:

  1. Clear the room of furniture and debris.
  2. Clean the subfloor and get rid of any adhesive or old flooring.
  3. Use a long straightedge or level to spot dips and high spots.
  4. Mark these areas with chalk.
  5. Mix self-leveling compound, pour it on the chalk marks, and spread evenly with a trowel.
  6. Allow ample time for the compound to dry and cure.

It’s good to know that not all flooring needs a level subfloor. But, small dips and bumps can cause issues later on. Use a laser leveling tool for more accuracy. And don’t forget to stock up supplies – nothing’s worse than running out of duct tape mid-project!

Gather Materials and Tools

To gather all the required materials and tools with ease for installing laminate flooring, refer to this section titled ‘Gather Materials and Tools’ from the article ‘Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Laminate Flooring. This section will introduce you to the sub-sections – Laminate Flooring Boards, Underlayment, Spacers, Measuring Tape, Saw, Hammer, Power Drill, and Tapping Block, that will help you complete the installation process with minimum fuss.

Laminate Flooring Boards

When you need materials to install laminate flooring, the most important part is getting the right Laminate Flooring Boards. Here’s what you need to know:

  • For stability, pick boards between 8mm and 12mm thick.
  • Sizes like 1200x190mm or 1261x190mm are available, so plan accordingly.
  • The boards must have an interlocking design for easy installation.
  • Choose boards with moisture resistance to avoid warping in damp spaces.
  • Find options that fit your budget and meet your quality criteria.

Another factor in picking laminate flooring boards is the color and texture. You can get wood-look finishes, stone patterns, and even fun options like hexagons or multi-width planks. Before installation, let the boards acclimate in the room for one day.

To make sure you don’t run out of boards, purchase extra ones that cover at least five percent of the total area of the room. This allows for adjustments during installation and cutting around corners or pipes.

Now you know how to select quality laminate flooring boards for a beautiful finish in your home.


Underpadding is an important element in flooring. Five points to consider when selecting it:

  • Pick the right type of underpad that fits your flooring type.
  • Check if the underlayment has noise reduction abilities for multi-floor areas.
  • See if you need moisture protection, depending on where you live and humidity levels in your basement.
  • Check for thickness, density, and durability when you compare prices.
  • If you plan on using a radiant heat system, make sure it’s compatible with the underpad.

Remember to check if your flooring manufacturer has any requirements regarding underpads. This will help you avoid warranty or damage issues.

See also  What is Waterproof Laminate Flooring?

A rookie made the mistake of not using underpadding when installing his flooring. After several months, he noticed wear-and-tear on his hardwood floors due to underlying wood rot and insect damage. He had to hire professionals to fix this, and he learnt that this step was a must for daily work processes. Who needs personal space when you have spacers?!


Spacing Materials and Tools

Accurate spacing between materials is essential for construction or DIY projects. Spacing materials and tools make this easier.

  • Spacers make sure floors, tiles, and decking have room for expansion and are structurally sound.
  • They reduce errors from measuring and fitting every piece.
  • You can find different spacers like cross-shaped, T-shaped, horseshoe-shaped, or wedge spacers, depending on your needs.

These materials create a professional look while avoiding mistakes.

Pro Tip: Read up on your project’s specs to find the right shape and size of spacer.

Measuring tape: tells only white lies!

Measuring Tape

Utilizing precision measurement instrument is essential. Careful selection and effective use of a measuring tape ensures success.

Here’s a table for picking the right one:

Measuring TapeUsageLength Variations
Retractable Measuring TapeEasy, single-handed10’(3m), 16’(5m), 25’(7.5m), 30’(9m)
Magnetic Measuring TapeTight spaces12’(3.6m), 15’(4.5m), 25’ (7.6 m)
Digital Measuring TapesDigital reading, no ‘guestimations’8′(2.4m)-100′ (30m)

Assess factors like blade width & material type during setup. Mishaps can happen if using alternatives – strings, dimes, buttons! Time to be precise with these sharp tools!


A cutting instrument with a serrated blade is required for materials preparation. It has teeth on its edge, perfect for sawing through hard/soft objects, such as wood, plastic or metal. So, choose the tool that suits the material you are working with! This will save time and effort and lead to better results.

For instance, a crosscut saw is great for cutting thick branches in trees. While a coping saw is better for precise cuts in curves. Select a saw that fits comfortably in your hand and the task at hand. Wear eye protection and gloves to stay safe while using it.

Ancient Egyptians used copper blades connected on bowsaws 4,000 years ago. In the 15th century, advancements were made with mechanical saws powered by water. Today’s tools have greatly improved – they are a must-have in any handyman’s toolbox! Get the right tool and do DIY projects like a pro!


Carpenters rely on a handy weapon: the hammer. It has a weighted head used for driving or removing nails. On the back is a claw, great for getting rid of stubborn nails.

Choose a hammer that fits your hand size and weight preference. For heavier applications, a framing hammer with a longer handle and heavier head may be required. Ball-peen hammers are great for metal shaping, and sledgehammers for demolition.

When using a hammer, always wear safety gear like eye protection and gloves. Hold the handle near the end and keep elbows close to your body. Strike in a straight line and avoid wrist-twisting. For extra safety, use nail starter punches or magnetic nail holders.

Store tools in a bag or box to protect them from rust or damage. Handle all tools with caution to avoid injury!

Power Drill

A motor-powered rotating tool: the Power Drill! It comes in all shapes and sizes, and has adjustable speed capabilities. Plus, countless attachments make it a multi-functional tool with endless possibilities.

For max efficiency, pick the right bit size for the material you’re drilling into. And safety is key – always wear protective goggles when using the drill!

Tapping Block

An ‘impact cushion’ is a tool to help install laminate flooring. It’s made of durable, tough materials. It prevents damage to the flooring during installation, and keeps it from being touched too much.

The table below outlines the features of this type of cushion.

MaterialDurable and Hardwearing
Size5.8” x 3.7” x 0.5” Inches
FunctionalityAbsorbs Heavy Impact

Be careful when tapping floorboards together with this cushion. Keep noise levels low. Gather all the tools you need like: tape measure, saw blade, spacers, pry bar, utility knife and nippers. Designate a safe space to handle them. Using proper tools can help you finish the job safely and efficiently. Let’s get this under-layment and over with, shall we?

Install Underlayment

“To properly install the laminate flooring without any hiccups, you need to prepare the subfloor with a layer of underlayment. To add a protective barrier to the subfloor, start with the sub-sections of ‘Measure and Cut Underlayment,’ and ‘Install Underlayment.’ These steps will help you in getting a smooth surface, isolate sound and prevent moisture from destroying your laminate flooring.”

Measure and Cut Underlayment

Accurate measure & cut are essential for proper installation of underlayment. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Measure the room’s length & width. Note any angles or curves.
  2. Calculate the total area needing the underlayment. Buy extra, 10% more, for waste.
  3. Roll out the underlayment on a flat surface. Cut pieces according to measurements. Label each piece.
  4. Lay out the pieces in the room & make adjustments.

Remember to overlap seams by 2 inches & avoid creating extra seams.

Pro Tip: Let the underlayment adjust to the room’s temperature for 24 hours before using.
Installing underlayment is much easier than explaining noisy flooring to your landlord!

Install Underlayment

It’s time to lay down the law: if you’re installing flooring, it’s essential to lay down an underlayment first. The underlayment provides a cushion, helps with sound insulation, and creates a smooth surface. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Make sure the subfloor is clean and level.
  2. Measure out the room for the right amount of underlayment.
  3. Cut the material into manageable pieces with a saw or utility knife.
  4. Lay out the pieces side by side, but don’t overlap.
  5. Tape the seams together.
  6. Add your choice of flooring above the underlayment.
See also  The Drawbacks of Waterproof Laminate Flooring

Some floors don’t need an underlayment. Check to make sure yours does.

To make sure the job is done right, you’ll need the right tools, like a utility knife, and gloves for safety.

Also, don’t fasten the underlayment directly to the floor. Leave some space around the edges to allow air circulation and moisture evaporation, which will help it last longer.

Lay the First Row

To lay the first row of your laminate flooring, there are a few steps you need to follow. Start with measuring and cutting the first board to fit the length of the wall. Next, install the first board, making sure it’s properly aligned and secured. Finally, install the rest of the first row, interlocking the boards as you go for a smooth and seamless finish.

Measure and Cut the First Board

Beginning the initial row of a flooring project needs accurate measuring and cutting of the first board to guarantee a stable foundation. Here’s a step-by-step guide to do this key phase.

  1. Measure the room’s length.
  2. Subtract 0.5 inches for expansion.
  3. Cut the board using a circular saw.
  4. Place the board on the starting wall and ensure it is level.
  5. Secure the board with nails or screws, leaving some room between them for expansion.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 until you reach the end of the row.

For an extra touch of finesse, bear in mind any protruding objects such as door frames and cut your boards accordingly.

By following these steps, you’ve laid out a secure base for your flooring project. Make sure to refine your skills by practising with trickier cuts and patterns – you never know when you’ll need them for future projects! Get going to lay the first board with these helpful installation tips.

Install the First Board

The initial board is essential for laying your flooring. Make sure it’s straight and parallel to the longest wall or main light source. Here’s a guide to installing that first board:

  1. Measure the room’s width. Calculate how many planks you’ll need, leaving enough space for expansion.
  2. Lay down underlayment timber. Extend it into doorways and up against walls.
  3. Fit the plank along the longest wall. Use pilot holes to verify if it’s aligned correctly, then nail it down.

Remember: tap the boards together tightly with a mallet. Use techniques to keep them together. Quality materials are important – don’t skimp! Take time now, not later.

Grab E-commerce specials while stocks last! Get discounts on quality products! Now, let’s hope the rest of the first row installation goes better than that first beer pong shot in college.

Install the Rest of the First Row

To install the first row, you must place the planks in a seamless pattern with no gaps or overlaps. Here are five easy steps:

  1. Hold the next plank against the previous one at a 30° angle.
  2. Gently push the plank down and click its tongue into the groove.
  3. Check that both board ends are flush.
  4. Use gentle force or a tapping block to link the edges firmly.
  5. Cut the last plank to fit perfectly for a uniform appearance.

Measure twice before cutting to avoid wastage. The thicknesses and widths will depend on the wood type and where they go in the pattern.

For a flawless result, ensure uniformity throughout installation. By following these steps, you’ll get an ideal flooring pattern with minimal gaps.

Wooden floors have a long history. Ancient Egyptians utilized exotic woods for their palace floors. They used natural oils like linseed oil instead of varnishes. Today, hand-scraped textures and engineered wood layers provide efficient building methods and beautiful interior designs.

Keep calm and lay on: your flooring journey continues!

Continue Installation

To seamlessly continue installing laminate flooring with precision, focus, and minimal mistakes, use this section with a clear direction on what to do next. Install the second row, cut boards to fit around obstacles, install the last row, and install thresholds and baseboard molding.

Install the Second Row

Once you finish the first row, it’s time to move on to the next one. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Collect all materials you need for the installation of the second row.
  2. Position the planks or tiles in a parallel fashion.
  3. Gently snap or glue them in place. Repeat this for the third and fourth rows if necessary.

Ensure that everything is carefully aligned for a perfect finish.

When beginning your project, keep these tips in mind for a great outcome:

  1. Clean, level, and inspect the subfloor.
  2. Handle your new floorboards or tiles with care.
  3. Follow each step of the process thoroughly.

My friend recently had difficulty because he forgot to check subfloors which caused the boards to be crooked. It ended up being a complete waste of materials. So, double-check for sure! And, if your path is blocked by obstacles like walls and pipes, you’ll need to get creative and cut your boards to fit.

See also  How to Clean Laminate Flooring with a Robot Vacuum

Cut Boards to Fit Around Obstacles

When setting up boards near obstacles, precise measurement and cutting are key. Follow these steps for a perfect fit around even the most awkward of corners and surfaces.

  1. Evaluate: Gauge the size and shape of the obstacle.
  2. Measure: Check the space you want to install the boards.
  3. Draw Lines: Pencil in the lines according to measurements. Use a square to ensure accuracy.
  4. Use Jigsaw: Utilise the right tool for tough ducts and tight spaces.
  5. Fit Board: After correctly cutting, place the board around the obstacle.

Important: Measuring twice pays off when fitting boards around obstacles. Aim for a professional finish. No messy, ill-placed boards!

Install the Last Row

To wrap up the project, cut and fit the bottom row. Tap each plank with a mallet or hammer block for a tight fit. Use the table saw for precise cuts. Install the final row by staggering the planks for a natural look.

Double-check that the final row is level and flush with the previous rows. This will give a professional finish. Use spacers between planks, maintain proper alignment, and check for any gaps or unevenness in the flooring. This will stop future issues and guarantee long-lasting durability.

Putting thresholds and baseboard molding is like framing a work of art – it adds the perfect touch!

Install Thresholds and Baseboard Molding

Thresholds and Baseboard Molding Installation can be a key step in finishing up the process. It helps avoid any gaps between the wall and flooring, and gives a professional touch to the project.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to install them:

  1. Measure the gap between the wall and flooring.
  2. Cut the molding horizontally with saws or handsaws.
  3. Sand down rough edges after cutting.
  4. Place the baseboard molding at the bottom of the wall, making sure it sits flush with both the floor and wall.
  5. Use finishing nails to nail the panels into place every 16 inches or as required by the boards.

For thresholds, measure both floors using the right tools to get an accurate fit. Cut accordingly using an appropriate saw blade for best results.

It’s important to be prepared before installation, especially when baseboards come off the walls during removal. Matching and replacing grooved sections could be challenging, so take precautionary measures.

Real estate agent Maria Dampman states newly remodeled bathrooms draw in buyers when selling a home. Thresholds and Baseboard Molding Installation can add to the interior design with its natural finishes.

Now it’s time for the finishing touches, and the installation won’t look like a kindergartener’s craft project!

Finishing Touches

To add the finishing touches to your newly installed laminate flooring with our step-by-step guide, turn your attention to the “Finishing Touches” section. This part is crucial for presenting a polished final product, and the sub-sections “Remove Spacers” and “Inspect and Clean the New Floor” will help ensure that everything looks perfect.

Remove Spacers

For a perfect outcome, it’s key to take out spacers properly. Follow these five steps to do it right:

  1. Figure out which spaces need to go.
  2. Pick the right tool (eg. pliers, screwdriver).
  3. Firmly hold the spacer with your tool.
  4. Gently jiggle and tug until the spacer comes out.
  5. Repeat until you’ve removed all unnecessary spacers.

Don’t forget this final step! It’s essential for an impressive project that works well. You should check if some spacers don’t need to be removed.

Take a few more minutes to get rid of spacers and you’ll have a great result. A clean floor is way better than a new one – nothing looks more put together!

Inspect and Clean the New Floor

Examine and clean the new floor thoroughly before using it. Here’s how:

  1. Inspect for any issues.
  2. Vacuum away any dirt or dust.
  3. Scrub clean with a soft solution.
  4. Rinse with fresh H2O and dry the floor.
  5. Cover with a protective shield to avoid future harm.

Grasp the specific maintenance needs of your new floor to keep it alive for longer.

Fun Fact: In 1960, Congoleum birthed vinyl flooring.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q: What tools do I need for installing laminate flooring?

A: You will need a tape measure, saw, spacers, tapping block, pull bar, hammer, utility knife, and a level for installing laminate flooring.

2. Q: Can I install laminate flooring on top of existing flooring?

A: It is possible to install laminate flooring over existing flooring as long as the surface is flat and level. However, it is recommended to remove the existing flooring to ensure the best results.

3. Q: How do I prepare my subfloor for installing laminate flooring?

A: First, clean the subfloor and remove any debris. Then, check for any low spots and use a leveling compound to even out the surface. Make sure the subfloor is dry and level before installing the laminate flooring.

4. Q: How do I measure and cut laminate flooring?

A: Measure the length and width of the area to be covered and calculate the total square footage. You will then need to cut the laminate flooring to fit the space using a saw and a straight edge. Be sure to leave a small gap around the perimeter of the room for expansion.

5. Q: How do I install the laminate flooring?

A: Begin by laying a moisture barrier over the subfloor. Then, start laying the laminate flooring planks along the longest wall of the room. Use spacers to maintain a small gap between each plank for expansion. Use the tapping block and pull bar to click the planks together. Continue laying the planks until the floor is complete.

6. Q: How do I finish the laminate flooring installation?

A: Install the baseboards and trim along the perimeter of the room to cover the gaps left for expansion. Clean the floor to remove any debris and enjoy your new laminate flooring!

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Donovan Carrington


Donovan Carrington, a flooring expert with extensive experience of over 25 years, is the driving force behind Flooring Explorer. Initially working as a flooring installer, Donovan gained hands-on experience with different flooring materials such as hardwood, laminate, vinyl, and tile. His profound knowledge and expertise in flooring technologies and installation techniques have established him as a respected authority in the industry.