How to Install Laminate Flooring

Completely change the look of a room with new laminate flooring.

Materials and Tools:

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laminate flooring (Pergo Applewood 046019)
shoe molding to match
finishing putty to match (Pergo)
black self-stick rubber base
thresholds/transition strips
foam underlayment, if not pre-attached
tape measure
miter saw with laminate blade
right-angle square
brad gun or hammer and brad nails
compressor
hammer
small, flat crowbar
chalk line
jigsaw
utility knife
rubber mallet
pencil

Tips/Benefits:

  • Laminate flooring is scratch-resistant because it's made of a composite material similar to plastic. In addition, it won't damage like regular hardwood, so it'll last for decades.
  • Because the laminate flooring clicks and locks together, it's simple to install.
  • For a smaller room, use a lighter-colored flooring to make the space feel warmer and much larger.
  • Always buy more flooring than needed in case you make some bad cuts.
  • Laminate flooring can be installed directly over existing flooring.

Steps:

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1. Empty the room. Use a small crowbar (or hammer and chisel) to remove existing shoe molding and rubber base under toe kick. Be careful not to damage the wall or existing base molding when removing the shoe molding.

2. If necessary, remove any flanges on radiator pipes. Vacuum thoroughly and clean the floor.

3. Lay out foam underlayment according to the manufacturer's instructions. If the flooring has a pre-attached underlayment, you won't need to purchase one separately and it will save time on installation.

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4. Always start hardwood flooring along the most prominent and noticeable wall in the room. This way, if the room is out of square, the crooked cut will be hidden under the cabinet's toe kick. In order to keep the floor straight and square, start laying the laminate away from the wall because the wall may not be straight. Measure away from the wall the width of one piece of flooring and add 1/4 inch (for example, if flooring is 5 inches wide, measure out 5 1/4 inches) and snap a chalk line across the room. Line up the first run of flooring with the chalk line and everything after should then line up.

Note: Remember to leave a 1/4-inch gap around the entire perimeter of the room to allow for the floor to expand and contract with weather and humidity changes.

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5. Begin installing laminate flooring by following the manufacturer's instructions. Use the miter saw to cut pieces to length and the jigsaw to cut around any corners or pipes. The height of the door(s) may need to be taken into account for the change in the height of the floor.

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6. Cut the shoe molding to fit using the miter saw. With a brad gun, nail molding to baseboard around the perimeter of the room. Countersink and fill holes with finishing putty according to the manufacturer's instructions.

7. Install rubber base instead of shoe molding under toe kicks. The rubber base cuts with a utility knife and sticks to the toe kick using a peel-off adhesive.

8. Install any transition strips where new floor meets tile, carpet or other hardwood floors. Install them in any doorway by cutting to fit and nailing or gluing down.

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