How to Install a Laminate Floor

Step 1: Trim Door Casings and Jams

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To install a laminate floor, first make room for the new flooring at doorways by cutting back casings and jams.  Use a scrap of new flooring to gauge the cut and a handsaw to cut the casing.  Then wrap around and cut the jam.


Step 2: Clean Up

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Next, clean the room so there's no dust or debris to interfere with the new floor.


Step 3: Install Underlayment

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Roll out underlayment and cover the entire sub floor. Underlayment is cut to length, placed into position, and trimmed with a utility knife at edges where needed.  At heating units, it's trimmed and tucked underneath. 


Step 4: Tape Underlayment Seams

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Where pieces meet, the seams are sealed with seam tape to make it a continuous layer.  On this product, the tape is integral.


Step 5: Installing Flooring From Left to Right

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To install the flooring, begin on the longest wall and work left to right. The first row will require a rip cut to remove the lip and leave a clean edge.


Step 6: Mark and Cut Around Obstructions 

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Here, a heating pipe obstructs the first piece and will require a special cut.  


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Mark with a pencil, and use a coping saw to make the circular cut. Then, fit the piece and position it around the pipe. 


Step 7: Connect End Joints

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Laminate floors lock together on all sides each with it's own proprietary system.  Here, the end piece slips in as you fit and lock the pieces together. 


Step 8: Snap Edges Together

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Edges fit together by lifting the top edge and connecting the interlocking joint.



Step 9: Stagger Joints

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Once the first row is in, subsequent rows just lock in place as you fan out and fill in the field. Stagger the rows for a random look.



Step 10: Shave the Lip off and Glue

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At door jams, temporarily install the adjacent piece to easily see the shape of the next one.  Then take measurements and cut the piece. For tricky areas like this, where new flooring will extend under the casing and jam, shave the lip off the tongue with a sharp chisel and add glue to secure the joint.  


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Use the manufacturer supplied beater block and a dead-blow hammer to nudge it into position. Then, continue with installation until the final row. It's necessary to shave the lip and add glue for strength.


Step 11: Nudge the Row

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To fit the last piece, use the beater block and dead-blow hammer to nudge the entire row down to make room.  Then, shave the lip off the end piece and the lip lengthwise and add glue to all joints before setting the piece and knocking the row back into position.


Step 12: Set the Molding

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The final transition is between the laminate floor and tile floor.  Here we install a heavy bead of construction adhesive and sink a piece of T-molding into the gap to bridge the two floor surfaces.  


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Painter's tape holds it in position as the adhesive sets up.



Step 13: Install Shoe Molding

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Finally, we install shoe molding around the baseboard, and at doorways, and the installation is complete.


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