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Laminate Flooring Install Quick Start Guide


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.

The following photo is linked to the EXACT product I installed in my man cave / office / ham radio shack. It was FANTASTIC:

oak laminate flooring

This is the exact product I have in my man cave. You'll trick 9 out of 10 people. They'll think it's reclaimed oak from a barn. CLICK THE IMAGE NOW TO HAVE THIS DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME.

I remember when laminate flooring was introduced in the late 1990s. 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.


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  • 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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7 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.

  4. Hi Tim, I'm Tim Carter also! I installed some Pergo XP in my kitchen and I removed my existing baseboards before the project. I plan to save some money by not installing the quarter round. My question is to do with the reinstall of these moldings. This kitchen has 2 archways coming off it where the moldings wrapped around and joined the next room. Since the flooring is quite thick, it does not allow me to match up the moldings at the same height as they were before. How do I handle this height change of the moldings between the two rooms? I imagine a corner block of some kind but I'm not really sure. Thanks!

  5. We installed Laminate flooring in our dining room and kitchen. While the box said "complete in a weekemd", ours took about a week. Our dining room floor was an inch lower in the center of the room compared to the walls. Leveling the floor took several days alone. We had to pause the flooring to repair the hot water shutoff under the sink, as the old one just spun and spun. Under the fridge, the floor was rotted to the point parts of it came up when I vacuumed, so had rmto replace the top layer of subfloor in that section. Then, we had to trim the bottom of the pocket door, as the new flooring was taller than the old. Ah, the joys of owning an older home. But thanks to Tim and his advice over the phone, we were able to get it done. Two years later, and we still marvel at hoe good the floor looks.

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