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Laminate Flooring Installation Tips

Tips for managing your laminate flooring installation.

Laminate flooring installs over just about any subfloor and locks together without nails or glue, making it a relatively easy product to install. They still require a lot of trimming and proper layout, so unless you are a relatively savvy carpenter, you should consider professional installation.

The following covers the basic steps for installing laminates, which may help the comfortable do-it-yourselfer determine whether this is a job you want to tackle or leave to the pros.

Where to Install

Laminate floors are well suited for installation anywhere in your home except for very wet areas such as full baths. They may be installed over concrete or wood subfloors, above or below grade.

Flooring Preparation

Store your flooring for at least two days in the room where you plan to install it to allow the flooring to adjust to the humidity and temperature in the room. This will help prevent problems arising from expansion and contraction after installation, such as cupping and gapping.

Subfloor Preparation

Subfloors must be clean, level, dry and structurally sound.

Trim and Prep the Room

Remove all baseboards and other moldings along the floor. Trim door jambs to allow the laminate planks to slide underneath. To cut the jambs, lay a piece of flooring against the trim and use it to mark your cutting line. Then cut the jamb along the line, parallel to the floor.

Install the Vapor Barrier

Install vapor barrier according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Lay the First Row

Lay the first row of laminate along the longest side of the room with the groove facing the wall. Place ½” spacers along the wall and push the plank up against them. This creates a gap to allow the floor to expand and contract after installation.

Lay the Floor

Install subsequent planks by laying them in place and using a scrap board to tap them together with a rubber mallet. Tap until the tongues and grooves are joined and no gap remains. Make sure to stagger the joints of the planks for the best appearance. This will require trimming at the ends of the room. Remember to use spacers along every wall.

Install the Final Plank

The final row of planks will have to be trimmed to fit. Remember to use spacers along this wall as well.

Install Moldings

Install thresholds and base moldings to complete your installation.

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