how to install laminate flooring

How to Install Laminate Flooring - A DIY Guide

DIY projects are a fun way to show your home some love - and add value! But some folks might feel a little intimidated by big home improvement jobs, including flooring installation. No worries, Rosendale Flooring Company has you covered.

Read on to learn how to install laminate flooring, and don't forget to contact Chris and his staff if you need additional help during the process. We've been in business since 1979 and can offer a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and advice that's much different than your typical, big box-store shopping experience.

Why Laminate Flooring?

Laminate is a great flooring option for most homes, and laminate flooring offers a high-performance surface by using layers of wood and composite materials to create a gorgeous, durable floor that mimics the look of high-end hardwoods and can last for years. Available in various colors, textures, and styles, it's simple to find the right laminate flooring to match your home style.

Assemble Your Tools Before Starting

1. Subfloor Preparation

Measure your flooring area. Next, test-fit some of the laminate planks to ensure they fit correctly. Next, use a tape measure to determine how many planks you'll need. Once you've calculated and properly sized your planks, let them sit for 48 hours. This curing process allows your planks to adjust to moisture levels.

Thoroughly clean the subfloor before the next step. Make sure it's smooth and free of any debris. If you have old flooring in place, consider removing it and the baseboards and trim.

2. Trimming Your Door Jambs

Laying flooring around doors can be tricky. First, consider trimming some wood off the bottom of your trim for a better fit. Next, put a piece of laminate over your underlayment and line it up with the door's frame. Next, mark the area where the top of the laminate meets the frame with a pencil. Finally, cut the wood marked out with a saw.

3. Lay Out Your Underlayment

If your laminate flooring has underlayment built-in, you can skip this step. Underlayment is a thin, protective coating that helps reduce noise and keep your floors warm. First, roll out two rows of underlayment and trim the pieces with a knife. Make sure to size and fit each piece properly.

Next, stick the pieces together with some tape, avoiding overlapping. Additionally, you can add an extra layer of protection by installing a vapor barrier if you're laminating a moist area like a basement or kitchen. Installed underlayment sometimes comes with adhesive stickers attached, but you'll probably need a good utility knife for this step.

4. Lay the First Row

Once you're ready to lay out your tongue and groove planks, start against the broadest or most prominent wall. Place the planks down with the tongue side against the wall, then, following the groove, snap the rest of the pieces in place. Make sure you leave 3/8 of an inch to let the floor expand or contract over time.

Consider putting a chalk line to label the first row's groove edge. You can also use chalk to measure different points along the wall to fit your planks better. Using chalk is a simple tip that helps make adjustments on the fly, such as maintaining proper expansion gaps or measuring away from the wall.

5. Continue Additional Rows

You'll want to move right to left when installing your rows. It's helpful to remember that the last plank in every row will be the cut piece from the left to begin the next row of flooring on the right. Make sure the planks are cut no less than 12 to 16 inches long. If you have a short plank piece on the left end of your first row, you can reconfigure your row or cut the plank to groove it in place.

After cutting laminate flooring plank:

  1. Place it in the first row.
  2. Make sure the plank is shorter or longer than the first plank you're installing.
  3. Stagger the seams at least one foot from the adjacent seam to create a tight and secure fit. You'll apply this method to all remaining rows.

You may need to wriggle the planks at times to snap them in place. To help fit the planks into the groove, use a tapping block.

6. Finishing Your Last Row

Finally, you'll need to take out your last row of planks using a circular saw or jigsaw. Before you cut, use a pencil to mark the planks for ripping, allowing for a 1/4-inch gap between the wall and the flooring. Then, install the last row by grooving in the ripped planks, careful around tight areas like cabinets and appliances.

7. Completing Your Installation

Remove your spacers and install baseboard molding around your room's perimeter for added protection. Ensure there are no gaps where you installed the molding to ensure a smooth, finished look.

Discover how easy it is to purchase and install your laminate flooring by contacting Chris at Rosendale Flooring Company today! You'll find a much different shopping experience than in big box stores where the people there are entry-level stock clerks and not flooring experts who have been doing it since 1979. Instead, our staff are profoundly experienced flooring experts and will help you with any questions as you're installing it.