How To Install Laminate Flooring

A How To Laminate Flooring Installation Guide

So you’ve chosen laminate flooring for your home. Excellent choice! You’re going to have the look of realistic hardwood or stone with even greater durability and affordability. But before you start planning that open house to show off your new investment, it’s important to focus on the installation process. Being prepared will create less stress for you — and your installer! 

Go Pro

Laminate flooring is easy to install yourself — if you know what you’re doing. If you don’t have extensive experience with this product and/or situations like yours, then it’s best to save yourself the time, hassles and potential minor (or major!) imperfections and go pro, instead. Only a professional can guarantee a beautiful, efficient and correct installation. Your specialty flooring retailer can coordinate the installation process for you.  Click here to find a professional laminate installer in your area.

Here are the four primary methods of laminate flooring installation:

1. Glueless

Glueless installation makes laminate floors quick and easy-to-install — and without the mess! These floors come in both planks and squares. A thin, plastic underlayment is needed to float the laminate above the subfloor and seal out moisture from below.

2.  Attached Underlay

These laminate floors come with several different types of tongue and grooved locking systems and an attached underlayment to reduce noise levels.

3. Glued

These are the “original” style laminate floors that require a special formulated glue to be applied to the tongue and groove of each plank. Although planks usually fit together easily, installers will sometimes use a tapping block. Once the glue dries, the planks are almost impossible to separate. These floors come in both planks and squares.

4. Pre-glued

This installation method leaves no mess because the glue is already applied to the tongue and grooves. The result is a quick and easy installation.

Preparation

Prior to installation, it’s important to relocate all furniture and other objects from the rooms where new flooring is to be installed. It’s always best that you do your own moving to ensure nothing gets damaged in the process, though some installers will do it for you at an additional charge. Assuming you purchased your flooring through a specialty retailer, this is just one of several items they will coordinate with you prior to beginning the installation.

Before moving your furniture, be sure to empty the contents of china cabinets, closets, etc. Also, be aware that the installation area must be climate controlled (heated or air conditioned). Indoor humidity should be maintained between 45-65%.

Goodbye Hello

What do you plan to do with your old floor covering? Rip it out? Install your new floors over it?

If you’re going to remove your old floors, do it at least one day prior to arrival of your laminate to allow for time cleanup and floor preparation. Your installers may remove your old flooring for you for an additional fee.

Need A Trim?

In most cases, moldings and baseboards need to be removed prior to laminate installation. Your installer may do this at an additional charge, but will most likely not be responsible for damage or breakage. Painted baseboards and woodwork may need patching and painting after the installation is complete. This is typically your responsibility.

Subfloors

Existing subfloors may require preparation to receive the laminate, or a new subfloor may be required. Be sure to discuss your unique situation with your specialty flooring retailer or installer. Subfloors need to be as clean and level as possible.

Doorways

There’s always the possibility that doors, especially closet, basement and bedroom doors, may not clear your new laminate floors. Some installers will remove doors in order to install the laminate flooring and then re-hang them — if possible. Check with your installer about their policy and cost. You may require a qualified carpenter to shave or cut your doors down after installation.

The Clean Up

Depending on your installation method, installing laminate flooring may create a mess inside and possibly outside your home. Typically, waste materials are collected by your installer and disposed of for a fee. Confirm this prior to installation so that you understand the terms of the agreement.  

Take the Day Off

Plan to stay home on installation day. Inevitably there will be questions to answer and decisions to be made. Your presence will help ensure that your new floors are correctly installed in all the right areas.  

Safety First

Laminate floor installers use a variety of tools and techniques that can make the work area hazardous. Be sure that children and pets are kept out of the work area. In you’re installing floors in the kitchen, for example, plan to have food and drink available in another room so that entering the kitchen during work hours won’t be necessary.

Walk Thru

Prior to the completion of the installation, it’s important to walk the job site with the chief installer. This “walk thru” gives you an opportunity to ask questions, point out any unsatisfactory aspects of the work and ultimately “buy off” on the overall job.

Molding & Transitions

Custom finished moldings and trim will give your laminate flooring a beautiful, finished look. Moldings and trims can be coordinated to match or accentuate the design of your floor. Here’s some terms and definitions that are good to know.

The Step Down Stairnose is a coordinating piece that provides the proper transition for all the steps in your home.

Reducer Strip is the transitional piece used to connect laminate flooring to another type of floor covering, such as vinyl, thin laminate tile or low-pile carpeting.

An End Molding or Carpet Reducer is used to transition from laminate floors to other flooring surfaces when the reducer doesn’t allow enough height, such as on high-pile carpet or thick laminate tile.

Square Nosing is often used where laminate flooring butts up to carpeting, or other vertical surfaces where the edge will be exposed, such as along a fireplace.

T-Molding is typically used in doorways to join two laminate floors in adjoining rooms. It's also recommended when making transitions from a laminate floor to another floor that’s about the same height.

Finally, a Quarter Round is often installed wherever a laminate floor meets the wall or baseboard.

We recommend that you work closely with your retailer and installer to become familiar with moldings and transition pieces.

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Web Page: How To Install Laminate Flooring
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Overall Rating: 3.9 stars - 7 reviews

By:
Date: June 18, 2014
Page Rating: (4.0/5)
Comments:
I wish you had some tips on what to do with actual furniture if you are moving yourself/ripping out your self. I am doing my whole house and really am not sure what in the world I am going to do with my furniture as I prep. I mean, rent a truck? Storage? The cost would overlay the benefit pretty quickly if that were the case.
By:
Date: March 12, 2014
Page Rating: (4.0/5)
Comments:
This page did little to explain a DIY project, but did an exellent job toward educating a homeowner who plans to hire it done about the periferal expectations.
By:
Date: January 29, 2014
Page Rating: (2.5/5)
Comments:
Why even mention laminate flooring that requires glue when it hasnt been on the market for nearly a decade? This article also does nothing to actually explain how to install laminate, its all about what to do when having it installed by a pro.
By:
Date: May 29, 2013
Page Rating: (3.5/5)
Comments:
I had designer choice laminate flooring install by a professional.In a few areas the floor has movement and bounce. Dealer refuses help. I think the flooe needed prep. before it was installed.how can it be corrected?
By:
Date: December 1, 2012
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
I liked the information about what to do with the furniture. that was a concern but it seems that installing planks with attached underlayment will be a little different than a carpet install. THANKS
By:
Date: November 17, 2012
Page Rating: (4.5/5)
Comments:
pretty good info for a noobe
By:
Date: November 5, 2012
Page Rating: (4.0/5)
Comments:
found article easy to understand and very informative for new d.i.y.

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The WFCA is the floor covering industry’s largest advocacy organization representing specialty floor covering retailers, cleaners, installers, manufacturers and distributors around the globe. To find a WFCA member by specialty.

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