Are you looking for a DIY route to lay laminate flooring? The process is tricky and requires more attention than other flooring options for perfect results.
Most homeowners prefer laminate flooring for their living spaces because of its scratch-resistant and hard-wearing nature. However, you must go through a tricky puzzle to lay this flooring option.
This installation guide for laminate flooring contains plenty of hidden tricks you might not learn even from a specialist installer. Read on to find these tips from our guide.
Keep reading for a successful DIY laminate flooring installation.
How to Lay Laminate Flooring – Quick Answer
- To start the proceedings, test the laminate with some planks. If you like the design, then just continue with the process.
- Put the underlayment sheet on the floor and push it from the edges, so it never overlaps. You can trim the underlayment also to fit it.
- Install the planks from the first row towards the end of the room.
- Lock all these planks with a hammer and complete the first row.
- Plan for the next row and install the planks from right to left of your floor. Trim the length of planks where necessary.
- Continue to lay all the planks and lock them with a hammer or tapping block technique.
- Install the final row with an appealing and attractive finish.
Table of Contents
Before You Begin
Before you lay laminate flooring, check the subfloor or old flooring surface. The subfloor must be flat, smooth, and clean.
Laminate flooring can be installed over old floor coverings, but the surface should be flat, smooth, and not soft. A foam sheeting is sufficient as a base for laminate plank flooring.
If the surface has any damage or unevenness, you must remove it. Before laying foam sheets, lay down a rigid sheet of thin plywood.
Before installing, remove all the planking and trim around the room’s border, heating resisters, or air return opening covers mounted on the floor. Sweep and vacuum the entire floor thoroughly.
Cut down some trim from the doorways, then cut the flooring materials to fit an irregular shape. Trimming allows your flooring to fit underneath for a smooth result.
7 Steps to Install Laminate Flooring
Here is a step-by-step guide to installing laminate flooring. This guide will help you install the flooring even if you don’t have any expertise in floor installation.
Step 1: Test the Flooring Design
Test laminate planks to see how they will look in the room. It is easy to use the flooring itself rather than measuring and calculating for a small or medium-sized room.
Put planks side by side across the room. The side joints can also lock or arrange the planks against one another. Do not walk on the flooring if the joints are not locked together.
Now, arrange a length of planks end-to-end. Do not lock the planks together because it’s difficult to undo.
It may damage the edges. Once you understand the overall layout, pull up the planks and stack them nearby.
Step 2: Install the Underlayment
According to manufacturers, DIYers should always put down underlayment before they lay laminate flooring. Underlayment is a thin and dense foam layer.
It helps absorb sound, provides a thermal barrier, and makes the floor easy to walk. It also helps the flooring overpass minor gaps and cracks in the undelaying floor.
Put the underlayment sheets in place and push the edges together so they are touching but do not overlap them. Manufacturers recommend sealing the seams with a tap.
Some underlayments come with peel-and-stick adhesive edges. These edges are used to join the pieces.
Use a utility knife to trim the underlayment to fit against the walls and obstacles.
Step 3: Start the First Row of Planks
Trim off the tongues from the boards that will edge the first wall. This is easy to do with a sharp utility knife, a table saw, circular saw.
Trim the edges of the planks against the wall and start laying the first row on the longest wall. Start on the right side and work to the left.
Put a full-size plank against the wall, spacing it about ¼ to 3/8 inch away from the wall. Make sure the groove edge faces out.
Place scrap wood spacers between the flooring and the wall to keep this gap. Continue with additional full-length planks and work toward the left to the end of the room.
While working, lock pieces to each other using a hammer and a tapping block to tighten the joints. The end joints should be tight, with no gaps.
Manufacturers suggest tapping the planks with a rubber mallet to close the end joints.
Step 4: Complete the First Row
The last plank will be long on reaching the left end of the first row. Measure the length as required and shift that measurement to a full-size plank.
Measure length from the right to the left side, so that the tongue-end of the plank is preserved to attach to the last full plank. Consider the expansion gap at the wall.
Use a circular saw to cut the plank to the length. Keep in mind the cut-off end. This end will form the first plank in the second row, beginning back at the right side of the room.
Fix the final cut piece into the first row of flooring. A pull bar is handy at the end of the row.
Step 5: Outline the Next Rows
Working from right to left, the last piece in each row will always be cut off. The cut-off piece from the left shifting down to begin the next row of flooring on the right.
The rows of laminate planks should have an appearance that seams never line up in adjacent rows. It will look unattractive, and the flooring will not be strong structurally.
Cut the lengths as short as 1 foot for a good stable and flat subfloor. If your first row leaves you with a very short-cut piece on the left end, it’s best to reconstruct the row.
The new row should begin with a partial board on the right end. This will confirm that the cut plank on the left is an acceptable length.
Step 6: Continue Laying More Planks
Continue installing the planks for the second and upcoming rows using a similar but slightly different technique.
Hold each piece at a 45-degree angle and insert the long tongue edge into the groove of the planks in the earlier row.
Lower the piece flat to the floor to lock the joint. Tap the piece into its neighbor in the same row with the hammer and tapping block.
Step 7: Install the Final Row
The next layer is the designer layer, now, this layer is here to enhance the appearance and make these floors look appealing and more attractive.
This layer is built out of an image of wood or tile, and then that image is printed onto the layer and sealed with a melamine resin.
One of the reasons that the laminate floors feel so real is that the print of it is taken from the image of the real wood.
DIY vs. Professional Laminate Flooring
Both DIY flooring installation and hiring a professional have many advantages and disadvantages. Decide according to your budget and comfort with the floor installation kit.
Laminate flooring or floating floor installation is not difficult. Most homeowners can do this easily without any professional help.
Installing laminate flooring on your own will take a few hours but requires the right equipment.
If you have not completed a home repair project before and do not have the necessary equipment, it would be better to hire a professional. They have all the materials and tools required for installation.
Laminate Flooring Installation Tips
- Floor manufacturers recommend installing moisture or barrier before laying flooring over a concrete surface or moisture-prone surface. A moisture barrier will protect the flooring from moisture.
Many underlayment types are designed to serve as a moisture barrier. Thick plastic sheeting can also be installed, and seams should be sealed with tape to provide a moisture barrier.
- Snap a chalk line where the groove edge will be on the first row. Measure the line along the wall where the planks will start. Ensure the recommended gap and check that the re-installed base will cover the gap. The groove edge on the first row should be laid in a straight line.
- Mark the long cutting lines with a long straightedge. Use a speed square to mark lines for crosscuts.
Tips for Cutting Laminate Flooring
These tips will help you in cutting laminate floors:
- The planks are very thin and you can cut them easily. The cut edges will be hidden when the baseboards and molding are installed, so it is unnecessary to cut them perfectly.
- Table saws produce the best cuts, but you can also use a circular saw, a jigsaw, or a handsaw. Fine-tooth saw blades produce better cuts with less chipping of the laminate surface. Jigsaw is best for notches, curves, and other custom cuts.
- Circular saws and jigsaws cut up through the material, so most chipping occurs on the top side of the plank. Cut from the backside of the plank to minimize chipping on the flooring surface.
Still Confused? Watch Instead of Reading
If you are in a hurry, you might miss out on some steps or crucial information while going through this piece of writing. That’s why this video is here to ensure you install laminate floors like a pro.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Lay the Laminate Floor Yourself?
You can easily lay DIY laminate floors in every room in your home, including kitchens. It does not have to be glued down and does not need grout or mortar.
Planks can be cut with a hand saw circular saw or flooring cutter.
Do You Have to Lay Laminate Left to Right?
Planks are always installed from left to right.
How Many Spacers Do I Need for Laminate Flooring?
Two spacers are required along the wall parallel to the long direction of your laminate flooring planks.
Does the Tongue or Groove Go Against the Wall?
The tongue is the side you will want to place against the wall when starting your laminate flooring installation.
Turn your floors into gorgeous laminate flooring by the DIY route. With the proper tools and the right installation, this guide will help you lay laminate flooring.
The whole process can be quite easy and satisfying for many homeowners. If you reach out to a professional, they may charge you more for installation than the actual price of laminate floor.
So, it’s perfectly fine to install it on your own. Give laminate flooring time to familiarize yourself before you start the installation. Allow sufficient expansion gap so that it does not crack up.
DIYers can easily lay laminate flooring if they are well-familiar with the underlayment and moisture barriers.