Install The First Row
- The first thing to know when learning how to lay laminate flooring is that all laminate flooring will expand and contract due to temperature and humidity fluctuations. To allow for this expansion, place 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.
- Begin the first row of flooring 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.
Floor Board Interlocking System
Snap-together floors have specially milled tongues and grooves that lock together tightly when joined when installing laminate flooring. The flooring were using for installing laminate flooring is similar to snap-together plastic laminate floors except that it has a surface layer of real wood. The 5/16-in. thick snap flooring has specially shaped tongues and grooves that interlock to form a strong tight joint without glue or nails. Once the click lock laminate flooring is assembled, the entire floor floats in one large sheet. You leave a small expansion space all around the edges so the floor can expand and contract with humidity changes.
The cost of wood veneer floors varies, depending on the species and thickness of the top wood layer. Most home centers sell a few types of snap-together floors but youll find a better selection and expert advice at your local flooring retailer. You can also buy snap flooring online to start a how to install laminate floors project.
Youll also need a circular saw and a jigsaw to cut the flooring, and a miter box to cut the shoe molding. A table saw and power miter saw would make your how to install laminate floors job easier but arent necessary. Here, well show you how to install laminate floor:
Use A Leftover Piece To Start The Second Row
Start the second row with the leftover cutoff piece from the first row, making sure the end joints are offset at least 12 in. from the end joints in the first row. With the board held at about a 45-degree angle, engage the tongue in the groove. Push in while you rotate the starter piece down toward the floor. The click indicates the pieces have locked together. The joint between boards should draw tight.
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Step 1 How To Prep Your Subfloor
For best results, install laminate flooring over a wood or concrete subfloor. Before you begin your installation, its important to ensure that your subfloor is clean, solid, and flat. So, before you start laying your floor be sure to:
- Remove any existing flooring
- Thoroughly vacuum the subfloor and rid it of all debris
- Ensure the subfloor is level
PRO TIP: your subfloor should have no more than a ¼ height difference up or down within an 8 foot span. If the floor needs levelling, you can apply a self-levelling thinset mortar to fill in the sub floors low spots .
Next, lay your moisture barrier flat to the subfloor, and ensure that the pieces overlap, and are held together using duct tape.
Finally, roll out the underlayment across your subfloor.
Finish Cutting The Jamb And Casing
Break and pry out the cutoff chunks of jamb and casing with a screwdriver. Use a sharp chisel or utility knife to complete the cut in areas the saw couldn’t reach. Make sure your floor is dry. Don’t lay this type of floor over damp concrete or damp crawlspaces. Check all concrete for excess moisture. As a starting point, use the plastic mat test shown in Photo 1. Even though some manufacturers allow it, professional installers we spoke to advised against installing floating floors in kitchens, full or three-quarter baths, or entryways, all areas where they might be subjected to standing water.
Then prepare your room for the new laminate flooring installation. You have to make sure the existing floor is smooth and flat before installing a floating floor overtop. Clear the old floor, then smooth it by scraping off lumps and sweeping it. If you have wood floors, now’s the time to fix squeaks and tighten loose boards by screwing them to the joists with deck screws. Check the floor with an 8-ft. straightedge and mark high spots and depressions. Sand or grind down ridges and fill low spots . Most manufacturers recommend no more than 1/8-in. variation in flatness over an 8-ft. length.
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Start With A Smooth Subfloor
Laminate floor systems do not function well on uneven surfaces. Before starting any flooring work, inspect the subfloor. Crawl around with a straightedge to find any areas that are more than 1/8-inch high or low. Subfloor seams are the usual suspects.
A belt sander sporting a coarse-grit belt will knock down seams pretty fast, but you may have to rent a commercial floor sander to grind down severe peaks.
A dip in the floor will cause a soft, spongy section in the laminate floor. Most dips can be taken care of with a trowel and vinyl floor patch. Buy a fast-drying variety if you want to start laying the floor the same day.
Avoid self-leveling floor compounds, especially on older homes, says Jay, our flooring pro. An out-of-level floor could take a whole truckload of self-leveling compound to flatten out. And oh, yeahthis is the time to screw the plywood to the joists anywhere theres a squeak.
Step 9 How To Install Threshold And Transition Pieces
Measure and Mark Threshold Flooring Pieces
Once you trim the door jamb to the proper clearance, youll want to measure and mark the piece or pieces of laminate going through the threshold. If your flooring runs parallel with the door, youll likely have only one piece of laminate to trim.
Using a framing square, measure the depth of your door jamb by sliding the square under the newly cut gap until the tool hits the door frame or stud. Measure on the inner jamb as well as both sides of the door where the trim is located. Transfer these measurements to your laminate. If your laminate runs perpendicular to the door, youll have multiple pieces to measure and mark.
Cut the Laminate
Now that you have the exact measurements of your door jamb gap outlined, cut your laminate to fit nicely under the gap. Since youre cutting a notch, youll want to use a jigsaw with a low-profile blade. A manual coping saw will also work if youre not comfortable using the jigsaw.
Before you make any cuts, make sure the visible side or good side of the laminate is facing down. Coping saws, jigsaws, and even circular saws cut on the upstroke, so the cleanest side of the cut will remain on the visible side of the laminate when cutting face down.
Install the Notched Laminate
Now install the notched laminate planks in the doorway. Since most new laminate flooring uses a tongue-and-groove system, youll have to trim off the upper groove of the laminate plank that comes before the notched piece.
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Install The Transition Strip
Cut a transition molding, in this case a square nose transition, to fit between the doorstops or jambs. Spread a bead of construction adhesive only on the area of the concrete floor that will be in contact with the transition piece. Set the transition in place and weight it down overnight. You can’t use the same tilt and snap installation technique where the flooring fits under doorjambs. You have to slide the flooring together instead. Photos 9 – 12 show how. If the opening requires a transition molding, cut the flooring short to leave space for it .
Home Decorators Laminate Flooring Installation Instructions
How to install home decorators collection laminate flooring. Where to use home decorators collection 4.2mm vinyl flooring.
Guide to Installing Laminate Flooring Installing
- The installation process is similar to that of interlocking hardwood flooring, but well be dealing specifically with how to install laminate flooring in this guide.
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Have You Ever Installed Laminate Flooring How Did It Go Whats Your Favorite Laminate Look Wide Plank Light Wood Dark Rustic Modern What Does Your Dream Floor Look Like
*Disclosure: Lumber Liquidators generously gave us flooring in exchange for posting about their awesomeness.They did not tell us what flooring to choose or what to say. We were quite pleased with our LL flooring in our last house and are over-the-moon thrilled about our new Lumber Liquidators flooring in this house. We trust you all know by now that we wouldnt post about or recommend anything we dont love.
For more about Lumber Liquidators visit www.lumberliquidators.ca in Canada or www.lumberliquidators.com in the U.S. or follow them on or .
Optional Step 4 Install Vapor Barrier
If you are installing laminate in a basement, please install vapor barrier before you lay your laminate to help with moisture control. Lumber Liquidators Customer Care Team recommends the following:
A 6 to 8 mil poly sheeting moisture barrier should be laid for floating floors for an On or Below Grade Concrete subfloor. Overlap seams 4 and tape with duct tape. Overlay perimeter 3-4 up wall.
Our install was on our main floor, so this step wasnt necessary for us.
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Taper Both Sides Of The Room
When you set about figuring out the size of your starter row you also have to make sure the walls are parallel. You may find yourself installing laminate in a room that is 6-in. narrower at one end than at the other. That means youll have to rip a severely tapered last row and itll look ugly. Unless one side of the room will be forever covered with furniture, youre better off splitting the difference and tapering both the first and the last rows so neither side will be so noticeable.
Home Decorators Collection Vinyl Plank Flooring Reviews
You have a limited selection of 65-70 styles in 2 lines compared with up to 200 styles in 10+ lines from brands like Shaw, Mohawk and Armstrong.
The two lines are:
- 4mm thick planks with an 8 mils commercial-grade wear layer
- 4.2mm planks with either an 8 mils or 12 mils residential-grade wear layer
Those are Home Depots descriptions.
Note: Home Depot does not offer a commercial warranty on either line.
Thickness: This is total plank thickness.
Warranty: The first number is the residential warranty. The second is the commercial warranty.
Price: The cost shown is for the flooring only. It does not include trim or transition pieces needed when LVP butts up to other flooring types.
Installation: LVP costs $1.50-$2.75 per square foot depending on the job complexity.
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Tools For Vinyl Flooring
DIY vinyl flooring requires relatively few flooring installation tools. If you’re trying to figure out how to cut vinyl flooring planks, experts recommend scoring the plank with a utility knife and snapping it. Vinyl cutters are a good solution too. For more complicated cuts, consider a jigsaw or miter saw. Other tools youll need include measuring tape, a chalk or crayon, a straightedge and a vacuum. Some manufacturers recommend a tapping block and rubber mallet.If you are installing glue-down vinyl planks, make sure you have vinyl floor adhesive and a notched trowel. If your room has a baseboard or moulding at the bottom of the wall, use a pry bar to temporarily remove it.Tip: We recommend using safety goggles and work gloves during installation. Knee pads are also a good idea.
Continue Laying More Rows
Install the planks for the second and subsequent rows, using a similar but slightly different technique than you used for the first row. For these rows, hold each piece at a 45-degree angle and insert the long tongue edge into the groove of the planks in the preceding row, then lower the piece flat to the floor to lock the joint. Finally, tap the piece into its neighbor in the same row with the hammer and tapping block or pull bar .
The Spruce / Margot Cavin
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How To Install Laminate Flooring: Cover Putty With Paint
Let the putty dry, then lightly sand to make sure the surface is even. Use touch-up paint to cover the putty.
Pro Tip: A quick and easy way to fill small trim nail holes is to wipe them with all-purpose caulk. This method requires no sanding and is ready for paint in 30 minutes.
Need more tips? Read our expert advice to learn what you need to know before installing laminate flooring.
Installing Laminate Flooring03:07
Who Makes Home Decorators Collection Vinyl Plank Flooring
Halstead New England is the manufacturer of Home Decorators Collection LVP. The company also produces LifeProof LVP for the Home Depot and Allure flooring too.
The fact that Halstead makes it exclusively for Home Depot reduces distribution cost and allows Home Depot to sell it at a very competitive price.
OK, lets look at the two lines
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Install The Underlayment Or Vapor Barrier
Flooring manufacturers always recommend putting down underlayment before laying the laminate. This thin, dense foam layer helps to absorb sound, provides a thermal barrier, makes it easier to walk on the laminate, and helps the flooring bridge minor gaps and bumps in the underlying floor.
Roll out sheets of underlayment and butt the edges together so they are touching but not overlapping. Secure the seams with tape, as recommended by the manufacturer. Some underlayments come with peel-and-stick adhesive edges that are used to join the pieces.
Using a utility knife, trim the underlayment to fit against the walls and obstructions.
Do You Need To Stagger Laminate Flooring In Hallway
Laminate flooring manufacturers often require their floors to be staggered anywhere between 6 to 12 inches, some manufacturers even want more. Dont ever short-stagger your flooring, it is both not aesthetically pleasing, and can also bring up some of the same issues as not staggering the floor at all.
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Install The Remaining Rows
- Use the remainder of the laminate flooring planks you cut at the end of row one to start the next row, as long as its longer than 1 foot. If its 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 remaining pieces from the previous row that are longer than 1-foot until the room is complete.
- If youre 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.
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Install The Underlayment And The First Row Of Flooring
Unroll the underlayment and lap it up the baseboards or walls 2 in. Temporarily secure the edges with masking tape. Butt the sheets together and seal the seams with the tape recommended by the manufacturer. Cut the first row of boards narrower if necessary to ensure that the last row of flooring will be at least 2 in. wide. Then start the installation by locking the ends of the first row of flooring together. Measure and cut the last piece to fit, allowing the 3/8-in. expansion space.
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Step 10 The Finishing Touches
Now that your laminate flooring has been laid, its time to put the final touches on your project. Be sure to:
- Take your spacers out from between the end floor boards and the wall
- Trim any excess underlayment that curls up the wall
- If youre installing in a more humid climate or in a room that sees a significant amount of moisture, be sure to apply a silicone sealant in the expansion space around the perimeter of the floor
- Attach the baseboards and shoe molding to the walls as needed do not attach them to the floors
And there you have it! Youve successfully installed your laminate wood flooring using a floating methodand in just 10 easy to follow step!
What do you think? Do you have any trade secrets or tips on installing laminate floors via a floating method? Let us know in the comments section!Article updated on September 18, 2019
Install First Row Of Flooring
Use small sections of planks as spacers to hold the flooring away from the wall about 1/4 inch . The spacers will allow for natural expansion to occur around the perimeter of the floor after installation. Using a table saw, rip the boards for the first row to remove the tongue. This ensures the true edge of the board will rest against the spacers, so the expansion gap will not be too large for the baseboard to cover. Install the first row against the spacers both on the side and end . Trim the last plank to length to fit so that it ends 1/4 inch from the wall.
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