Kitchen and Dining

Kitchen + Dining

Kitchen + Dining

Laminate Flooring Intallation

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 193 Projects

Laminate flooring comes in a floating system that is simple to install, even if you have no experience with other home-improvement projects. You may install a floating laminate floor right on top of plywood, concrete slab, sheet vinyl, or hardwood flooring. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The flooring is available in planks or squares in a variety of different sizes, colors, and faux finishes—including wood and ceramic. The part you see is really a photographic print. Tongue-and-grooved edges lock the pieces together, and the entire floor floats on the underlayment. At the end of this project there are a few extra steps to take if your flooring manufacturer recommends using glue on the joints. The rich wood tones of beautiful laminate planks may cause you to imagine hours of long, hard installation work, but this is a DIY project that you can do in a single weekend. Buy the manufactured planks at a home-improvement or flooring store and install laminate flooring with the step-by-step instructions offered in the following pages.

How to Install Laminate Flooring

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    Start in one corner and unroll the underlayment to the opposite wall. Cut the underlayment to fit using a utility knife or scissors. Overlap the second underlayment sheet according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and secure the pieces in place with adhesive tape.

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    Work from the left corner of the room to the right and set wall spacers and dry lay planks (tongue side facing the wall) against the wall. The spacers allow for expansion. If you are flooring a room more than 26 ft. long or wide, you need to buy appropriate-sized expansion joints. Note:Some manufacturers suggest facing the groove side to the wall.

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    Set a new plank right side up, on top of the previously laid plank, flush with the spacer against the wall at the end run. Line up a speed square with the bottom plank edge and trace a line. That’s the cutline for the final plank in the row.

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    Press painter’s tape along the cutline on the top of the plank to prevent chipping when cutting. Score the line drawn in step 3 with a utility knife. Turn the plank over and extend the pencil line to the back side.

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    Clamp the board to a work table face down on top of rigid foam insulation or plywood. The foam reduces chipping. Clamp a speed square on top of the plank, as though you are going to draw another line parallel to the cutline—use this to eye your straight cut. Place the circular saw’s blade on the waste side of the actual cutline.

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    To create a tight fit for the last plank in the first row, place a spacer against the wall and wedge one end of a drawbar between it and the last plank. Tap the other end of the drawbar with a rubber mallet or hammer. Protect the laminate surface with a thin cloth.

    To create a tight fit for the last plank in the first row, place a spacer against the wall and wedge one end of a drawbar between it and the last plank. Tap the other end of the drawbar with a rubber mallet or hammer. Protect the laminate surface with a thin cloth.
    To create a tight fit for the last plank in the first row, place a spacer against the wall and wedge one end of a drawbar between it and the last plank. Tap the other end of the drawbar with a rubber mallet or hammer. Protect the laminate surface with a thin cloth.

  7. Continue to lay rows of flooring, making sure the joints are staggered. This prevents the entire floor from relying on just a few joints, which keep the planks from lifting. Staggering also strengthens the floor, because the joints are shorter and more evenly distributed.

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    Fit the final row: Place two planks on top of the last course; slide the top plank up against the wall spacer. Use the top plank to draw a cutline lengthwise on the middle plank. Cut the middle plank to size using the same method as in step 3, just across the grain. The very last board must be cut lengthwise and widthwise to fit.

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