Five Simple Steps to Install Laminate Wood Flooring

You love the look of real wood and have always dreamed of owning

a home with beautiful wood floors. But, is hardwood the best

choice for you? Have you considered a very attractive alternative

laminate wood flooring?

Laminate wood flooring is much less expensive than hardwood

flooring, it’s very durable, and it comes in almost endless colors

and patterns. Laminate flooring can fool the most finicky of

friends. Your friends may very well compliment you on your

beautiful wood floors! You’ll have to decide whether or not to

confess that your floors are laminate.

Most often, friends will be very curious about your laminate

floor and its installation. They will be impressed when they find

out just how easy it is to install a laminate floor — and that

you did it yourself!

Here are five simple steps to follow when installing your new

laminate floor:

1. Prepare the Sub Floor

Since laminate flooring is a “floating” floor your preparations

will be minimal. The “sub floor” is the floor you are installing

the laminate flooring on. You can install laminate flooring over

tile, vinyl, concrete, natural stone, etc. The main point to

ensure is that the floor is level and flat. Make sure that you

remove any old carpet nails or lumps of glue that are ¼ inch high

or higher. Any holes that are larger than three inches should be

filled in. Be sure to clean the sub floor — remove debris,

dirt, dust, etc before beginning your project.

2. Determine the Amount of Flooring Needed

Measure the length and width of the room where the new floor will

be installed. Multiply the width times the length to get the

square footage of the room.

For example, a room that is 12 ft wide and 14 ft long would be

168 square feet. To simplify, round off the number to 170 square

feet. If the brand of laminate flooring you are using comes in

planks in a box of approximately 17 square feet, you will need

about 10 boxes of flooring. You will need to add 5-10% more

flooring due to waste when the boards are cut or for the few

mistakes that may occur as you are learning. To be sure you will

have enough, and extra is always better than running out, you need

to buy about 20 boxes of laminate flooring for the 12 ft by 14 ft


Don’t forget to buy the under layment – a 1/8 inch thick

cushioned plastic that goes under the laminate and works as a

moisture barrier and a sound barrier. The under layment comes in

rolls about three feet wide by about 150 feet long. You will need

the same number of square feet of flooring and under layment.

3. Determine Which Direction to Lay the Floor

Generally, you will want to lay the floor planks parallel to the

light that enters the room.

4. Start Laying Your New Laminate Floor

Roll out the under layment across the length of the room in the

direction you will be laying your floor. Cut the under layment

to fit all the way across the floor with an overlap of about an

inch on each end.

Lay out a row of planks to determine how many will fit.

Beginning in the corner, lay the first plank on top of the under

layment. Place ¼ inch spacers between the plank and the wall on

the end and sides of the plank. Make sure that the under layment

comes up higher along the wall than the laminate plank. Lay the

second plank along the short side of the first plank and snap them

together. Continue this until you can no longer place a whole

plank on the floor.

At this point, you will need to measure how long of a plank you

will need to fill the remaining spot. Using an electric handsaw,

you can easily cut the plank. Snap that piece into place and your

first row is completed.

Use the cut piece as the first plank in the second row. On this

row and continuing rows, you will snap the plank onto the long

side of the previous row. The subsequent planks will be snapped

into place on the long side of the previous row but than also must

be snapped into the short side of the new row. You will need to

use a hammer and a special block to gently move the new plank into

position. Continue this process until all rows are complete.

5. Finish the Edges

Now all you need is to finish the edges. Add baseboards or ¼

round trim to the edges of the room to create a finished look.

Also, install door jams to separate your new laminate flooring

from other types of flooring.

At this point, your floor should look fabulous. Congratulate

yourself on a job well done. Replace your furniture and invite a

few friends over to enjoy your new floor with you. Chances are

you will receive many compliments.