How to Install Laminate Flooring
Learn how installing laminate flooring is made easy with instructions and step-by-step installation videos.
Before you start any flooring project, there are three important considerations:
- Leave unopened cartons of flooring horizontally in the room in which the flooring is to be installed for at least 48 hours before installation. It's important for the laminate flooring to acclimate.
- Make sure your subfloor is flat so that the new laminate flooring will lie flat as well.
- Conduct a moisture test.
- Remove any existing carpeting or wood flooring glued to a concrete floor. (Wood flooring NOT glued to a concrete floor can remain.) Ensure the floor is clean and dry.
- If your project includes the removal of baseboards, remove them now
NOTE: If installing over concrete or a concrete floor covered by tiles, you must first lay down a 6-mil plastic sheet vapor barrier. Sheeting should overlap at least 7-8 inches and run wall-to-wall. Secure seams with masking tape. Do not use plastic sheeting over an existing wood floor. (See Fig. A.)
- For slate or ceramic tile designs, the width of the first and last planks should be approximately equal (width of the room), AND the length of the first and last planks should be approximately equal (length of the room).
For the width of the room, measure the width of the room and divide by the width of one plank. If the remainder is less than 12 inches, calculate 1/2 of the remainder and trim this amount from the first row of planks on the tongue side (the less machined side). The last row of planks should be the same width as the first row of planks.
For the length of the room, measure the length of the room and divide by 46-1/2 inches (the length of one plank). If the remainder is less than 12 inches, calculate ½ of the remainder and trim this amount from the length of the first plank that aligns along the floor edge. The last plank should be the same length as the first plank in the row.
- If possible, install planks with their length parallel to incoming sunlight.
- Start in the left corner of the room. Trim the first row per the above instructions or cut off the tongue of the planks (whichever is applicable), and run this trimmed edge parallel to the wall using the expansion spacers. (See Fig. B.)
INSTALLATION TIP #1
The best visual effect is obtained by mixing planks from different boxes (preferably 4 or 5 boxes) during installation. Bear in mind that the width of the joint between the tiles on each strip varies. Using strips from various boxes and placing thin joints next to thick ones gives a more natural look. Aligning grout lines lengthwise and crosswise in a room is recommended.
- Install each sequential plank by inserting one short end into the other at an angle and pressing down. (See Fig. C.)
- When you reach the end of the row, measure and trim the last plank to fit. (Cut with the decorative side up with a handsaw, decorative side down with a power saw. See Fig. D.) Cut a new plank according to the pattern you have chosen (aligning or not aligning grout lines) and use this new plank to start the next row.
- Lift the previously installed row slightly to enable you to snap the first adjacent plank into position. (See Fig. E.) For subsequent planks, the short end is positioned at an angle to engage the planks. (See Fig. F) Then give the board a sharp rap with your hand to fully engage (See Fig. G) and press down firmly (See Fig. H.) Continue until you are done.
INSTALLATION TIP #2
To install flooring around pipes, drill a hole in the plank that is ¼ to ½ inch larger than pipe diameter. Cut the plank across the center of the circle, position on the floor, glue plank pieces back together and clamp (do not glue laminate to subfloor). Cover expansion gaps with molding or pipe rings when the floor is complete. Water pipes require silicone sealant. (See Fig. J.)
INSTALLATION TIP #3
Flooring should extend under the doorframe. Use a piece of scrap flooring to mark the depth that the doorframe should be trimmed. (See Fig. K.)
- To install the last row, trace the wall contour and cut. The last row should be the same width as the first row. Remember to leave room for expansion. (See Fig. I.)
INSTALLATION TIP #4
To replace any planks that may have been damaged in installation, simply raise the last installed board approximately 1 ¼” until it disengages. Do not engage and disengage more than 3 times. Continue until you reach the affected plank, replace and reinstall the planks
- Trim any excess plastic sheeting and remove spacers. Reinstall baseboards without nailing to the floor.
Our FasTrim® Multi-Transition System helps simplify the final stages of your installation. The system contains transition pieces that can be combined to form t-molding, hard surface reducer, carpet reducer, end molding or stair nose. Each transition piece snaps firmly into the included floor track for a snug, solid fit every time.
For gauging quantity, count the number of doorways and stairs. You will need one package of FasTrim® per doorway/step. If doorways/steps are larger than 47”, you will need additional pieces. Then, measure the linear feet of the transition profiles. Divide by four feet and this will equal the number of FasTrim® moldings needed. This product is sold separately.
Our Accu-Tite™ Wedge laminate installation kit, which is sold separately, helps to ensure that the glueless locking system is engaged properly.
English Installation Instructions
Click here to download a pdf file that contains Installation Instructions for woodgrain laminate flooring.
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