If you have never laid laminate, but have experience with other home improvement work then you can probably get this done in 4-6 hours with 10 square feet of laminate flooring work.
Tools & Materials To Install Laminate Flooring
Below are the list of tools and materials needed to install laminate flooring. If you’re where to start, then begin with making sure that you have everything that you will need to make your laminate installation job as expedient as possible.
- Punches & Nail Setters
- Panel Saws
- Carpenter Squares
- Claw Hammers
- Circular Saws
- Standard Level
- Tape Measures
- Floor Installation Kits
- Caulk & Sealants
- Wood & Laminate Sealers
- Floor Patching, Self-leveling & Waterproofing
- Duct Tape
- Patching & Repair
- Finishing Nails
- Laminate Molding & Trim
Steps To Replace Laminate Flooring
Here is a quick list of all of the steps installing laminate flooring.
- Prep the floor
- Prep the door jams
- Plan and cut the first and last rows
- Install the underlayment
- Install the first row
- Install the remaining boards
Laminate is easy to install as long as the sub-floor is clean, so make sure the sub-floor is clean.
1. Prep The Floor
- Remove baseboards, trim, floor vent covers.
- Sweep/vacuum floor
- Prep the subfloor. This must be flat, smooth, and clean. If you’re installing over old flooring, this remains the same. You either have to sand and add a patching compound or install a foam underlayment.
Prep The Door Jams
There are two ways to make the laminate flooring fit around door ways and jams – cut the floor planks to fit, or cut the trim around the doorway. We suggest that you do the latter – cut the trim around the doorways. It is much easier than cutting the planks to fit.
- Lay the underlayment and plank next to the door jamb and mark the door jamb where the plank touches. This is where to cut.
- Use a jamb saw to cut this.
Plan The First & Last Rows
You will need to install the laminate flooring parallel to the longest wall or focal point in the room.
- Measure the width of the room from longest wall and divide the distance by the width of the planks. This will tell you what the width of the final row of planks should be. Allow for a 3/8-inch gap along both walls to allow for expansion of the flooring. If the last row is going to be less than 3-1/2 inches wide, consider distributing the width needed between the first and last rows.
- To calculate the width needed for the first and last row, add the width of a full plank to the width needed for the last row. Divide that number by two and cut each plank in the first and last row to that width. Don’t forget to allow for the 3/8-inch gaps along both walls.
Cut The First & Last Row
Every flooring product has its own cutting instructions, so check those before you cut.
A diamond blade is recommended as laminate can be tough to cut through and may damage another type of blade. However, you can cut the planks using a table saw, miter saw, circular saw, hand saw or laminate cutter.
- Use duct tape to mark the plank more easily and reduce splintering.
- Use a finishing blade for the cleanest cut. However, moulding will cover all the cut edges when the project is complete. Use clamps to help hold the planks steady while cutting.
Install The Underlayment
This is pretty simple. Sometimes the flooring comes with the underlay attached, but if not then you only need to lay the underlay side by side and cute when necessary. Do not overlap.
Install The First Row
Please note that when laying laminate flooring, all laminate flooring will expand and contract due to temperature and humidity fluctuations.
- Allow for this expansion by placing 3/8-inch spacers along the wall to leave a consistent gap around the edges of the floor.
- If the door to the room is located on one of the shorter walls, start laying the planks on the door side of the room. This will ensure you have the clean, uncut edge at the threshold.
- Start the first row by placing the planks with the tongue side facing the wall. Install the second plank next to the first by aligning the tongue into the groove and press the plank down to snap it in place.
- When you come to the end of the first row, cut the length of plank needed to complete the row. When measuring, remember to allow for the 3/8-inch gap at each end.
Install The Rest
Use the rest of the laminate flooring planks you cut at the end of row one to start the next row, as long as it’s longer than 1 foot. If it’s not, start the row with a plank cut to a length greater than 1 foot.
- Start the second row where you started off the first. This will stagger the seams, which results in a more natural look. It also gives the flooring added stability. The seams should be staggered at least 12 inches from any adjacent seam.
- Hold the long side of the second row plank at an angle and feed the tongue into the groove of the installed row. Press down and snap the plank into place.
- Since the fiber in laminate flooring is susceptible to water damage, make sure there are no gaps between the seams. Some products require you to use a tapping block to close these gaps.
- Continue snapping planks into place until the row is complete, trimming the last plank to size.
- Lay each row beginning with the remnant pieces longer than one foot from the row before until the room is complete.
- If you’re using a separate underlayment, install additional rows one row at a time as needed.
- Once the laminate has been installed, remove the spacers and install a matching threshold, baseboard and quarter-round moulding to the walls using finishing nails.