How to Install a Floating Laminate Floor

Installing a floating laminate floor in your home is a great way to get the hardwood-floor look without the added expense. The great thing about this type of flooring is that it can be installed over the top of most other floorings, rather than having to take the existing floor off. However, this material cannot be laid over any type of carpet. Of course, if you have the time and knowledge, it is better to remove the existing flooring so that you have bare subflooring to lay the laminate pieces down onto, which allows you the ability to start from scratch.

Items You'll Need:

  • Tape measure
  • Laminate flooring
  • Staple or nail gun (air driven)
  • Rubber mallet
  • Foam underlayment
  • Small pry bar
  • Miter saw

Step 1: Measure the Square Footage

Before purchasing the laminate flooring that you want to install, measure the length and width and multiply them together. This gives you the square footage needed in order to completely cover the area. After you come up with this number, add ten percent to it to allow for mistakes, bad flooring pieces, and repairs for later on.

Step 2: Lay the Foam Underlayment

Stretch the foam underlayment out onto the subfloor and staple it down. If the subfloor is uneven at all, it is a good idea to add a thin row of sheeting to help level the flooring out, which prevents dips and excessive movement of the laminate flooring. You can easily check this by placing a level in various spots on the subflooring. A few uneven spots are to be expected unless the subflooring is new, but if there are numerous humps and holes it must be leveled before continuing.

Step 3: Lay the First Row

Begin laying the floating laminate flooring by starting on the widest side of the room. It is not necessary to nail the boards down, but many people run small trim nails into the groove end of the boards, before tapping the next row into place.

Cut any pieces that you may need with the miter saw, taking care that the flooring is cut straight and smoothly. Leave a half-inch gap around all the edges to allow for movement and expansion.

Step 4: Lay the Rest of the Floor

Continue adding rows, tapping the pieces together on the tongue and groove connections with a rubber mallet. Always stagger your seams for better stability and design. When you reach the final row, use the crow bar to gently pry the final pieces into place. Once again, leave a half inch gap to allow for expansion.

Step 5: Finishing

In order to hide the gaps along the edges of the floor, cut and place trim pieces all the way around the flooring, effectively hiding the gaps and giving the room a more appealing look.

There is nothing as breathtaking as a hardwood floor, and since floating laminate flooring gives you the same look at a reduced price, there is no reason that you, as the homeowner, cannot purchase and install it. Flooring specialists should be kept on hold for more complicated jobs, such as installing ceramic tiles.