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Laminate Flooring Install Quick Start Guide

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: hammer-4-5

I’ve installed countless floors in my career. Some took weeks to complete they were so hard and complex.

Imagine, however, having a bare subfloor and just HOURS later (yes, hours!) you could be moving in the furniture. It’s possible with laminate flooring.

This project is PERFECT for a beginner, that’s why I rate it at two out of five hammers.

laminateflooring

I remember when laminate flooring was introduced in the late 1990’s. It was not bad, but it’s now a real player. There have been significant technology improvements in the clear coating and the replication of the actual wood or stone flooring that’s being imitated.

Watch the video below unless you’ve come here from YouTube having already watched my video.

Be sure to look at the RELATED CONTENT links at the bottom of this page. Lots of goodies there for you.

REQUIRED TOOLS & MATERIALS:

         
dotArmstrong Laminate Flooring  toolsarmstronglaminateflooring   dotWide Pry Bar toolsstanleyprybar
dotCircular Saw  toolsmilwaukeecircularsaw   dotFraming Square toolsstanleyframingsquare
dot10-Inch Double-Bevel Miter Saw  toolsdewalt10inchmitersaw   dotTopographic Map Bandanas toolstopomapbandana
dotTape Measure  toolsfatmaxtapemeasure    dotSafety Glasses  toolssafetyglasses
dotTim's Favorite Tools timcartoon50x50      

TIPS

  • Crazy as this sounds, STOP and read the written instructions that came with your flooring. Just Do It.
  • SECRET TIP - If you want your laminate floor to turn out nearly perfect, the subfloor MUST be flat. This doesn’t mean LEVEL. It means there can’t be humps, dips, low or high spots in the floor.
  • Fix the humps and bumps in your subfloor. Fill with thinset used to set ceramic tile. Asphalt shingles with the granules turned DOWN can be used too. Glue them down with caulk so they don’t move.
  • Check the wall you’re starting against to make sure it’s STRAIGHT. Most walls are NOT straight. Use a taught string line to check it. If you have a dip in the wall that’s greater than the combined thickness of your baseboard and toe stripping, you’ll have to scribe the first row. UGH!
  • Maintain the 1/4-inch gap between the flooring and the walls. Laminate floors move baby!
  • Use strips of 1/4-inch material, not little loser pieces. Always place a long strip at each butt joint of flooring. This helps keep flooring STRAIGHT.
  • If using a circular saw to make cuts, cut with finished face pointing DOWN to prevent chipping. When possible, use a power miter box saw.
  • Inspect each piece of flooring before installing. Look for defects on the finish and make sure the tongues and grooves are NOT damaged.
  • Maintain the 1/4-inch spacing when you cut around outside corners and doorways.
  • The rest is easy! Send me photos of your installed floor. Leave comments on my YouTube videos if they helped you!
  • Celebrate your Victory!

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4 Responses to Laminate Flooring Install Quick Start Guide

  1. You never showed the cutting process you said you would at the end of the first video. Are the cut ends a plain butt joint on each side of the joint?

    I'm considering putting in a bathroom. How do I handle the tongue or groove end next to the tub since I cannot nail a baseboard into the tub itself? Do you have any advice about laying the floor under a toilet?

    • Sorry about skipping that step. Cut end is against the wall. You can glue a toe rip to the tub. I would NEVER install laminate flooring in a bathroom. Too much risk of water damage.

  2. Hi Tim,
    Thanks for the informative installation videos about laminate flooring, I learned a few things. One being to use the flooring material from three packages for a more random look. You forgot to mention that in your tips summery though.

  3. Tim,
    I installed Armstrong laminate in my kitchen/ hallway/closet/laundry room. Needless to say, the planning process was much different from yours. One thing I wish you had showed was the process of connecting the pieces. In my case, I wanted a perfectly smooth connection between the pieces. Yours has a visual groove. I ran into an issue (actually several) but the most tricky was the final piece. I ended up making my own double L bar out of 2 pry bars so I could tap the final piece in place. To connect the pieces, you need to get a certain angle so the groves lock properly. This was tough to do next to the wall. it turned out great and we love the flooring. Nothing sticks to it, scratches or dents it, including dog claws.

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