How to Install Laminate Flooring

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

Materials and Tools:

frame 169

hdswt101_1h_laminateflooring_after

frame 169

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:

frame 8

hdswt101_1b_removemolding

frame 8

frame 8

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.

frame 1

hdswt101_1f_layflooring

frame 1

frame 1

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.

frame 1

hdswt101_1e_layflooringaroundpipe

frame 1

frame 1

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.

frame 9

hdswt101_1g_bradmolding

frame 9

frame 9

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.

Next Up

How to Clean Laminate Floors

Keep your laminate floors looking like new with these simple, gentle cleaning techniques.

How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Many homeowners have turned to vinyl plank flooring as an alternative to hardwood or tile because it’s easy to install, very durable and comes in a huge variety of styles. Learn how to transform your home with high-quality vinyl floors.

2024: Average Cost to Install Carpet Per Square Foot

Knowing the average cost of installing carpet can help you dial in your remodeling budget.

How to Paint Laminate Countertops

New kitchen countertops can be an expensive upgrade. Transform your kitchen without breaking the bank by priming and painting your existing laminate counters.

How to Clean Vinyl Floors

Remove dirt, scuffs and stains from vinyl floors with these easy cleaning and maintenance tips.

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

Learn how to care for hardwood floors by using these natural cleaners and following these simple tips.

How to Replace a Window

When it's time to replace an outdated, inefficient window, it can be hard to know where to start, so we’ve got everything you need to know to get the job done.

How to Install Wainscoting to a Wall

Add an instant touch of class to a room with these step-by-step instructions on installing beadboard wainscoting.

Difference Between Laminate and Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl and laminate flooring options offer affordability and durability for homeowners, but each of these popular options comes with certain strengths and weaknesses. Consider the pros and cons and feel confident in your product choice.

2024: The Best Types of Basement Flooring and How Much They Cost

Explore today's choices for finished basement floors including luxury vinyl tile, hardwood, carpet, porcelain tile, specially dyed concrete and yes, even laminates.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

On TV

Down Home Fab

11am | 10c

Down Home Fab

12pm | 11c

Down Home Fab

1pm | 12c

House Hunters

7:30pm | 6:30c
8pm | 7c
8:31pm | 7:31c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Down Home Fab

9pm | 8c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Down Home Fab

12am | 11c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c
3am | 2c
3:31am | 2:31c

House Hunters

4:30am | 3:30c

House Hunters

5:30am | 4:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.