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How to Install Laminate Floors

Choosing a Floor and Installation Type

There are hundreds of different laminate flooring options. When installing floors on your own, you want to consider the following questions:

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Before You Begin
Many floors that are tongue-and-groove or snap-together are not actually meant to be floated. Please make sure to get flooring that is designated for this purpose.

You will need:

We recommend the Roberts Laminate Flooring Installation Kit, which comes with spacers, pry/pull bar, and tapping block.

Step 1: Underlayment
Lay down wood floor underlayment following the manufacturer's directions for installing the underlayment. Underlayment acts as a moister barrier and a sound barrier in one. We do not recommend the kind of flooring that has underlayment pre-attached to the flooring because it will not provide as good of a barrier.

Step 2: Spacers
Put spacers along all the walls. Use spacers that provide the amount of space suggested by the manufacturer for your wood and your climate. This is often something like 5/16".

Step 3: First Row
Place the first plank with its groove side towards the wall. If this is tongue-and-groove flooring, apply glue to the end of the plank and tap the next plank into the glue. Clean off excess glue immediately. If this is snap-together flooring, just slide the next plank into the groove without glue. For the last piece in the row, use a pry bar to lever the piece into place.

When you reach the end of the row, unless you are lucky, you will not have any boards that are the perfect length. Measure the length you need with the tape measure and cut a board on the tablesaw. The easiest way to measure is to turn the board around so that the end that is supposed to be against the other boards is pointing to the wall. Then you can measure at the point where the boards overlap.

Step 4: Continue Rows
If you are doing tongue-and-groove flooring, squeeze a continuous bead of glue into the groove and then slide it onto the tongue of the previous row. Set the tapping block against it and tap it with the dead blow hammer into the previous row to set them tightly. If you are doing snap-together flooring, gently snap the next row on and slide into place. Be careful to follow the manufacturer's directions.

Step 5: Last Row
Cut the last row of planks lengthwise on the table saw to fit the remaining space while still leaving the spacer gap. If you use a jigsaw, you can cut doorway notches. Then, remove the spacers. For snap-together flooring, just snap the last few pieces on. For tongue-and-groove, apply glue, then use the pry bar to wedge the piece tight. You may need to use the block and hammer to get it into place. Put in any trim or transition pieces at this time as well.

Step 6: Done
If you used glue, wait 12 hours before walking on the floor. With snap-together flooring, you can walk on it immediately. Then remove the spacers and put in your shoe molding.

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