10 months ago
Ultimate guide on how to install the laminate floor that DIYers do not want to miss.

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Time: One day Difficulty: Intermediate

The laminate floor can be installed in almost any room in the house, including the kitchen.

Because it does not need glued, grout, or mortar, most people can get it done within one day. You can cut planks with a hand saw, circular saw, or flooring cutter, and most laminate flooring comes in planks that simply snap together with a tongue-and-groove system, making it quick and easy to install and maintain.

In the following, we will be explaining how to install a laminate floor. But if you prefer to have it installed by a professional handyman, please contact us directly.

Tools you may need: punches, panel saws, carpenter, clamps, knives, claw hammers, circular saws, levels, tape measures, tapping blocks.

Materials you may need: underlayment, caulk and sealant, patching, duct tape, threshold and toe thread, hardcover nails.

1. Calculate the Floors You Need

Measure the length and width of the room and multiply the two to get the area of the room (square feet: sqft). In general, a margin of 10% should be reserved. For example, if the room area to be paved is 150 sqft and 150 sqft x 0.1 = 15 sqft should be reserved, then the floor area of 150 + 15 = 165 sqft should be actually purchased.

If the floors are packed in boxes, and each box covers 25 sqft (varies on the products), 165/25 = 6.6, then 7 boxes should be purchased.

2. Preparation

Before installation, make sure the ground is smooth and flat.

If it is a renovation from an old floor, remove the existing flooring and footrest and check that the ground floor is firm, flat, and clean. If the underlayment is concrete, repair the damaged part with a patch. For a wooden-structured underlayment, you need to remove the protruding nails and replace the damaged parts. If the underlayer is slightly uneven, this can be corrected by placing the plastic foam pad. And if there are significant dents, it can also be corrected by polishing and using a repair agent.

If the floor is to be installed in a damp room (such as a basement), a damp proof coating should be placed before installation. It will prevent moisture from seeping into the fiberboard of the floor and from warping. Some underlayment has a moisture-proof layer, so there is no need to lay a separate layer. Choose according to the installation location when you purchase floors.

Don't take newly purchased floors out of boxes right away. Leave them indoors for at least 48 hours to adjust to the room's temperature and humidity.

3. How to Process Door Jambs

It is way easier to cut a small piece off the bottom of the door frame than to cut a complex shape on the wood floor. After cutting off the right height, insert the floor underneath so it has a better overall appearance. Stack the floor panel and underlayment and place them next to the door frame for reference of height before cutting. To avoid inadvertent damage to the material, it should be placed facing down. After determining the approximate height, you can draw a line on the door frame with a pencil and cut it with a jamb saw.

4. Plan the Installation

At installation, make the panels parallel with the wall where the door is at, the floor brim of such threshold position will look neater and more beautiful. Measure the width of the room starting from the mentioned wall, then divide the distance by the standard width of each panel to calculate the width needed for the last row of panels.

Please note, leave a 3/8-inch gap along both walls to allow for expansion of the flooring to prevent deformation.

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. It is easy to calculate as well, just divide the width to be cut by two and cut each panel in the first and last row to that width. Don’t forget to allow for the 3/8-inch gaps along both walls.

5. Cutting Panels

Before cutting the panels, check the cutting instructions for the specific product you purchase.

In most cases, you don't need a special saw. You can cut the panels using a table saw, miter saw, circular saw, hand saw, or laminate cutter. However, a diamond blade is recommended as laminate can be tough to cut through and may damage another type of blade.

A little trick is that you will cut with the finished side up. Use duct tape to mark the plank more easily and reduce splintering.

TIP: Although all cut edges will be hidden when finished. But it's still a good idea to use a sharp saw blade more a clean cut. Alternatively, a clamp can be used to help hold the wood in place while cutting. When cutting, wear the necessary protective equipment, such as goggles and earplugs.

6. Install the Underlayment

If your laminate product didn’t come with an attached underlayment, you will need to make a separate purchase. Roll out two rows of the underlayment which should meet but not overlap, as overlaps in the underlayment result in bumps under the flooring. Cut the underlayment with a knife to the desired size and duct tape them together.

7. Install the First Row

As we learned in Part 3, all laminate floors expand and contract due to temperature and humidity fluctuations. In response to this change, mark the wall 3/8 "away from the wall to ensure a consistent distance from the edge of the floor.

The first row of panels should be laid from the corner, and the tongue side should face but be 3/8 inches away from the wall so that the second panel can snap directly into the groove on the other side. Press down on the board to hold it in place. The last panel in each row usually needs to be cut, so keep in mind that there should be a 3/8 inches gap between the last panel and the other side of the wall as well.

8. Install the Remaining Part

As long as the remaining part of the last panel in the first row is more than 1 foot after cutting, it can be used directly as the first panel in the second row. If not, please cut another panel to a length of more than 1 foot and start the second row. The first panel in the second row shall be laid from below the last panel in the first row to facilitate staggered seams. Any adjacent seams shall be staggered by at least 12 inches. This makes the finished floor look more natural and achieve a more stable installation.

When installing the second row, hold the longer side of the panel with a certain angle, insert tenon in the groove of the first row, press down until in place. Because the fibers in aggrandizement floors can be easily eroded by water, make sure there are no gaps between the joints. Some of the products require tapping blocks to install the floor, so each tongue and groove is snapped tight.

Once complete, the sign marks 3/8 " can be removed from the wall, and the matching threshold and footer can be installed using finishing nails.

Besides how to install the laminate floor, another concern is how to maintain and clean it, which we will cover in detail in another article. If you have content you are more interested in, feel free to leave us a comment below.