Renovation Survival Guide

Install Laminate Flooring

Learn how to install durable and inexpensive laminate flooring — it's a snap.

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Materials and Tools:
protective eyewear
measuring tape
level
rubber mallet
circular saw
tapping block
underlay pad
laminate flooring
quarter-round shoe molding

Lay a protective barrier under the laminate boards.

Steps:
1. Remove any baseboards in the room and take measurements of the area where you wish to install new flooring.

Tip: When buying flooring, make sure to get approximately 10 percent extra, better to have it on-hand should you need it rather than have to run out mid-job.

2. Put on protective eyewear.

3. Install the underlayment. This will level the floor, give a cushiony step and protect against mold and mildew growth.

Start laying boards on the longest wall.

4. Begin laying the laminate flooring along the room's longest wall. Leave a 1/4-inch gap between the laminate boards and the walls on all sides, this allows for expansion and contraction due to seasonal humidity and temperature changes. If necessary, use 1/4-inch spacers.

5. Lay laminate flooring away from the wall, staggering the boards so the seams don't match up.

Use a mallet to tap each board into place.

6. For a tight fit, use a mallet and tapping block to secure the boards together. Once the entire floor is in place, reinstall baseboards.

7. To cover expansion gaps along the walls, install quarter-round shoe molding. Attach the molding to the baseboard using a nail gun, do not nail the shoe molding into the new laminate flooring.

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