Almost anyone can learn how to install laminate flooring. Check out our step by step instructions with photos. It’s easier and cheaper than you might think!
My office had carpet in it and I used a square plastic mat for my chair but it was beyond annoying and kept shifting. I’d have to get up and adjust it several times a day. Finally, we decided to rip out the carpet and put in a “wood” style floor. We expected to pay about $350. Ends up it only cost $175. We used the low end laminate and it’s held up wonderfully. Roy had never installed this type of flooring but it was not difficult at all. He’ll give the steps and any tips below.
- Straight edge
- Carpenter square
- Jigsaw or a table saw
- Utility knife for the pad (if you use the kind that takes pad)
- Laminate Flooring (Any hardware store carries this. We purchased our as Lowe’s. Amazon carries a highly rated 10 year warranty stick on, no pad type.)
Measure For Flooring
Measure how many square feet are in your room and then buy enough packages accordingly.
Remove existing baseboard and floor trim.
I used a typical pry bar and removed the baseboard. One section of the wall had baseboard and another “quarter-round” piece of trim. If you intend to re-use your baseboard, use extra care to remove it carefully. Baseboards are easily broken. Set it aside in a safe place where children and animals are not at risk with exposed nails.
Clean and prepare the floor.
Whether you’re going over a concrete or wood floor, make sure there’s no bumps, rises, or other debris that has made your floor uneven. The surface needs to be clean and flat.
Install the foam padding.
I purchased a very thin white padding that’s made for laminate flooring. The process is to sweep up your floor before putting the padding down. Follow the instructions on the padding. Do not allow the pad to overlap, and just cut it as it is needed.
Understand how the layout of your floor is going to work.
You’ll need to measure your room to determine how to lay the boards out. The boards in the last row need to be at least 2 inches in width.
Start the first row.
Most manufacturers recommend that you install the boards with the tongue side facing towards the wall. Connect the boards using the tongue-in-groove feature.
Install the remaining flooring boards.
Stagger the seams at least 12 inches when installing new rows. The last row must be installed at an angle using a pry bar to pull them into place. Be sure to leave a 1/4 gap at the wall with the last row.
The tricky parts like doors and odd angles.
Where possible you’ll want to allow the flooring to slide underneath the existing wall boards and the bottom casements for doors, etc. However, chances are that you’ll have to carefully measure and cut around the bottoms of existing doors. Remember, that unless you’ll be covering the edges with a baseboard or other trim, your handiwork around the bottoms of doors are likely to show. You’ll be able to use caulking to cover any gaps, but you still want to have the fit be as close and visually appealing as possible.
Replace the trim.
Once your floor is installed, replace the existing trim that was removed at the beginning of the job.
Admire your work!
Congratulations! You’ve just saved yourself some money and have a beautiful floor!
You can see what the carpet looked like. You can also see my plastic mat under my chair that drove me nuts.
This is exactly what we purchased at Lowe’s however, its showing that it’s no longer available. There are a variety of others to choose from. We paid $23 a box.
Change makes Barnaby nervous.
Awesome job! We’ll soon be restructuring some floors in our home, and will be getting new flooring. I’m pinning this so we can HOPEFULLY do it ourselves! Thanks!
Glad to have helped out a bit. Thanks so much for stopping by Martie!
Great work Roy! The floor looks awesome! We can’t wait to see your next project! Peace+Joy+Love.