How can I Install Laminate Flooring?

Malcolm Tatum

Laminate flooring has become increasingly popular in recent years. As a floor covering option that requires less maintenance than carpeting and other types of flooring, laminated flooring is available in many different colors and styles. The flooring can resemble natural wood floors as well as provide the appearance of other flooring types. Fortunately, just about anyone has the skill set to install laminate flooring, making it the ideal weekend project.

Laminate flooring is an inexpensive alternative to hardwood flooring.
Laminate flooring is an inexpensive alternative to hardwood flooring.

Before you begin to install laminate flooring, it is important to assemble your tools and materials. Along with your choice of flooring, you will need a rubber mallet, hammer and nails, padding to go under the flooring, a utility knife and a coping saw to trim sections of the flooring. A tape measure and a pull bar will complete the basics required to do the job.

A utility knife is needed to install laminate flooring.
A utility knife is needed to install laminate flooring.

To install laminate flooring, it is necessary to prepare the space where you will place the flooring. This means taking up carpeting and padding, as well as cleaning the bare floor thoroughly. It is also important to make sure that all carpet tacks are removed and that the floor is as level and smooth to the touch as possible. At the same time, make sure to remove the baseboards before beginning the actual installation.

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With the tools and materials collected and the floor properly prepared, it is time to begin the actual installation. Your first step is to roll out and secure the padding. Make sure there are no bubbles or wrinkles in the padding. Since a laminated floor is essentially a floating floor, an even level of padding is essential to the installation process.

Unlike laying tile, you will want to begin at one wall. Use spacers to leave a quarter inch space; this will allow you to place the baseboards back into place, as well as allow some room to level the floor as you go. You will find that you can install laminate flooring by connecting the individual pieces. Many types of laminate flooring, especially the wood flooring, snap together using a tongue in groove design. As you join the pieces, use the mallet to gently tap the sections; this helps to ensure that the fit is complete. Continue the process until the opposite wall is reached. Remember to use spacers to allow a quarter inch of space as well.

The trickiest task you will encounter as you install laminate flooring is dealing with doorways or recessed areas in the room. Here you may need to employ the coping saw or utility knife in order to trim a section to fit. Use the tape measure to take exact measurements. If necessary, add a little wood glue to the ends of the sections that reach into the doorway. This will help to hold them in place and will easily be covered by the threshold or retaining strip you will install later.

Once all the sections are in place, you have one more task to perform. Walk across the floor gently. The idea is to make sure the sections are remaining joined properly and that the floating floor is functioning as a solid unit. Once you are assured this is the case, you can move on to the final stages and install the baseboards. Make sure to remove the spacers before putting the baseboards into place, and do not nail into the sections of the floor, as this could inhibit the slight movement of the floating floor.

You can install laminate flooring in an averaged size room in one day or less. This makes the task easily accomplished as a weekend project. While the task does take some time and effort, the end result is often worth the time and trouble.

It's important to take exact measurements when installing laminate flooring.
It's important to take exact measurements when installing laminate flooring.

Discussion Comments


If you have never installed a floor and you want it to be perfect, get help from someone who knows how to install laminate wood flooring. However, if you like the challenge and have the patience and persistence then go for it. Also, be willing to live with any subtle imperfections created by the installer.

My laminate flooring installation weekend project turned into a week-long project. I'm not sure whether that is because I am a perfectionist or because our kitchen floor is so slanted. The instructions for installation say the floor must be level, but of course, I figured I could make it work.

I was installing the laminate flooring that looks like tile. Making all the lines meet up turned out to be a challenge, and the uneven floor made getting all the pieces to fit evenly and tightly difficult. I put portions of the floor together and then took them back apart 4 or 5 times.

I did finally get the floor together and like the article says, it was rewarding to look at the finished product and know I had completed the job myself. The final product is not perfect, but unless I point out the little imperfections, no one seems to notice.


Here's a piece of advice I'd like to pass along. Buy the tool kit! Wherever you buy the laminate flooring, a clerk will most likely recommend that you buy the tools to install laminate wood flooring.

Read the box and see the tools that are included. If you don't have them at home then buy the kit. Having the right tools is going to save you time and reduce the frustration.


If you are like me, you probably don't like reading all the directions that come with a job like laminate floor installation. In this case, I advise that you take the time to read the directions carefully if you have never done the job before. I failed to read closely and had to redo several steps, which cost me a lot of time, energy and patience.

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