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Installing a Locking-Laminate Floor

This DIY Download will provide tips on installing a locking-laminate floor.

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Watch an Overview Video

Tools & Materials

Measuring tape
Self-leveling compound
Long level or yardstick
Spacers for expansion gap
Laminate planks
Rubber mallet and tapping block
Table saw
Safety goggles
Trim or caulk
Molding, transition pieces

Prep the Area

TIP: Laminate can be installed in any room.

1. Remove baseboards, molding, and doors.

2. Clean floor.

3. Note direction of joists.

TIP: Nail heads in subfloor will show direction of joists.

4. Fill dips with self-leveling compound or screw down loose or squeaking boards, as necessary to prepare subfloor.

Install the Underlayment

TIP: Check level of floor with long level or yardstick.

Roll out underlayment in abutted rows.

Begin Laying the Boards

TIP: Acclimate flooring to installation area for at least 48 hours prior to installing.

TIP: Laminate should run crosswise to the joists.

1. Lay first boards against starting wall, groove side out.

2. Use spacers to keep an expansion gap between wall and boards around entire perimeter of floor.

3. Stagger joints at least 8 inches apart: first board in first row should be full length; first board in second row should be 2/3 length; first board in third row should be 1/3 length.

TIP: If using circular saw, cut flooring finish-side up; if using table saw, cut boards with fine-tooth blade with finish-side down. This will minimize splintering.

Join the Boards and Finish Installation

TIP: Join boards by inserting tongue into groove and pushing down until boards lock together.

TIP: Never hammer laminate boards.

1. Rip final boards to fit.

2. Replace baseboards and molding and add transition molding as necessary

TIP: Nail baseboards and molding to wall, not to laminate.