How to Install Laminate Flooring
Learn how to lay a snap-together laminate floor.
Thoroughly clean the subfloor so that there is no debris on the floor and that it is flat and smooth.
Directly onto the subfloor, lay down a layer of plastic sheeting to create a moisture barrier (Image 1). Tape the sheeting 2 inches above the floor using painters blue masking tape (Image 2). If needed, use duct tape to overlap the edges of the plastic sheeting. Overlap the plastic sheeting by 6 inches.
Use small sections of planks as spacers to hold the flooring away from the wall about one quarter inch. The spacers help allow for expansion around the perimeter of the floor. Place the first row snug against the spacers. Trim the last row to length to fit so that it ends a quarter-inch from the wall.
Use the short trimmed section of the previous row to start the next row. This will ensure the joints between planks in a row are staggered from the joints in adjoining rows (Image 1). The laminated flooring in this project has a soundproof backing and textured cherry wood finish. It snaps together by lining up the planks at an angle and then flattening out the row being installed (Image 2). To save the edges of the flooring boards, use a piece of scrap wood to tap adjoining rows together. This will prevent damage to the tongue or groove with the hammer (Image 3).
When installing the next plank in the row, lift the plank at an angle to allow it to set/lock in place (Image 1) and tap the plank against the previous plank in the row with a hammer and tapping tool (Image 2). Continue across the room until reaching the far side. Rip planks lengthwise to fit in the last row and install transition strips between the flooring and other floor types at the doorways.
Remove the spacers around the border and install baseboards and quarter round covering the plastic moisture barrier on the wall and the gap between the wall and the flooring. Set nail heads slightly below the surface of the molding and fill with wood putty. Use touch up paint to cover the wood putty.