how to install laminate floor
When a homeowner is planning to upgrade their existing flooring, there are many options and
factors to consider. What kind of flooring is the homeowner going to want, such as hardwood, laminate,
tile or carpet? Laminate flooring is a cost effective way to have the look of real wood floors for less.
Laminate flooring is very durable. Unlike wood which can dent, laminate flooring is almost impervious to
dents and scratches. It is good for moist places and can be installed in bathrooms, kitchens and other
places where you encounter moistures. It is easy to clean and resists stains and also is great for any
family members that have allergies. Once a homeowner has chosen their color of laminate flooring, they
will need to purchase a roll of moisture barrier. It is important to make sure the homeowner has all the
necessary materials and tools to install the laminate flooring correctly. Most home improvement stores
sell laminate floor kits that will provide all the necessary tools you will need in addition to a miter saw
and coping saw.
The first step that you need to do is to stack the laminate flooring before installation.
Temperature and humidity can affect flooring planks. Acclimate the flooring in the house 48 hours before
installation. Remove any plastic wrapping from the boxes and leave air space around each box to allow
air to freely circulate around them.
The second step will be to demo the existing flooring and to remove base molding. You must
clean the subfloor to make sure it is free of any dirt and debris. DIY network (2014) says that “if
installing on top of a new concrete floor wait until the floor is fully cured.” Then carefully remove all
base molding (p. 1)
The third step is to install the moisture barrier by laying out the moisture barrier one row at a time
from the longest wall of the room. It is best to follow the manufacturer’s directions. It is easiest if you
butt each row against the previous one and tape together.
The fourth step is trimming the door jambs. Lay a piece of flooring flat on the subfloor and up
against the door jambs. When cutting the jambs make sure you use a guide so that you can correctly cut
the jamb so that the new flooring will slide underneath the jamb. Using a coping saw to cut the jambs is
best. Be sure to cut parallel to the subfloor. This will give the floor and jamb a nice finished look without
having to remove the entire jamb.
The fifth step is installing the first row. When looking for the best appearance to lay the floor,
you will want to lay the plank parallel to the longest wall. Install the first plank with the groove side
towards the wall and place ½” spacers against wall and push the first plank flush up against them. The
spacers create an extension gap so that the floor can expand and contract and not warp or buckle. Don’t
worry about the gap because it will be covered later with base molding. Continue doing this until the first
row is complete.
The sixth step is installing the flooring. DIY network (2014) tells us that for each plank, you
must match tongue and groove and tap it into place using the tapping piece and hammer from the
installation kit so that it protects the planks. The pieces should fit snugly together and there should be no
gaps along the length of the planks. When installing each row, make sure that you stagger each of the
joints of the flooring. Offset the floor about six to eight inches so that the joints at the ends of planks do
not line up row to row (which can weaken the floor and create a too-uniform look) (p. 2).
Step seven is installing the last plank. The plank on each row needs to be trimmed to fit. To
mark the plank to fit in correctly, turn it opposite way, place the end of the plank against the wall and
mark a line where the other plank ends. Make sure that you add ½’ to allow for the spacer. Rip cut the
plank along the line and install.
The last step is to install thresholds and base molding. You should install any thresholds between
the end of the flooring and any open doors where the flooring ends. There are different styles to
accommodate the kind and height of the flooring the new laminate floor butts up against. Remove the
spacers and install the base molding to cover the expansion gaps.
To keep your new laminate floor looking amazing there are some helpful tips to clean and protect
your laminate floor for years of lasting beauty. Don’t use any oil sop based cleaners as they will leave a
dull film. Don’t use abrasive cleaners or steel wool because it can leave scratches in the floor and do not
wax or polish your floor. Place a natural or colorfast mat at outside entries to catch tracked-in dirt and
moisture. Prevent indentations with felt floor protectors on chairs and furniture. Immediately wipe up
spills or wet feet with a cloth or sponge. Use only hardwood & laminate floor cleaner with microfiber
mop. It is very easy to install and care for you new laminate flooring; all you have to do now is to enjoy