Installing Laminate Wood Flooring Properly

What You'll Need
Utility knife
Tape measure
Saw (hand or fine tooth jigsaw/power saw)
Drill and bits
Manufacturers installation kit (hammer block, spacers and pull bar)
Miter (for cutting trims)
Trim pieces to cover expansion spaces
Flexible sealant
Glue or small pins

Laminate wood flooring is available in numerous finishes and styles that will suit any design scheme. Easy to install and maintain, laminates are also a cost-effective addition to any home.

Step 1 – Acclimate Flooring and Prepare

Place the laminate wood flooring in the room where it will be installed at least 48 hours before you plan to begin installation. This will allow the material to adjust to the temperature and humidity conditions in the space. Also take the time to prepare the base floor so that it will be clean and level before you add laminate on top of it.

Step 2 – Install Underlayment

If you are installing on concrete, first place down a vapor barrier. Once the vapor barrier is in place, install the laminate underlay. The direction in which you position the underlay does not matter.

Step 3 – Install Planks

Use spacers between the planks and the wall to create an expansion gap. Once you have placed them, check the first two rows to ensure that the laminate wood flooring is straight. The expansion gap will be covered by trim later.

Now it is time to cut the planks. If you are using a handsaw or a circular saw, cut with the plank face down. If using a jigsaw, cut the plank face up. This will eliminate chipping of the laminate face.

Step 4 – Cut for Pipes

To cut around pipes or other obstacles while laying the laminate wood flooring, determine where it falls on the plank. Mark the center of the area, and drill a hole or space large enough to accommodate the obstacle plus a 1/8-inch expansion gap.

Step 5 - Install Detail Items

Install transition plates any place where flooring type changes, typically at doorways. Set the pipe collar (same color as laminate). Remove the spacer blocks from the laminate wood flooring, and install the trim to the wall with glue or small finishing nails. If you can not cover the expansion gaps, fill with a flexible sealant.