Did you know I am working with Maytag® and recently got all new appliances? That started a snowball effect with home improvement projects around here. Today I’m going to share my top 10 tips for installing laminate floating floors. After installing them in four rooms and a hall, I’ve learned a lot along the way. I first installed floors years ago in Jamie’s little house, and haven’t done it since. This was a big job and I didn’t do all those rooms by myself. My neighbor Rodney was right there every step of the way, doing the measuring and cutting.
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Remove any existing carpet or tack strips
Most of the carpet had already been removed in recent years. There was still carpet in the master bedroom closet. Useful tools for a job like this are a small pry bar , hammer, vice grips, pillow, or foam for kneeling, and a small garbage can to hold debris as you go along.
Decide whether you need to lay a subfloor.
The original hardwood floors in most of the house were in good shape and we were able to lay the floor without putting down a subfloor (thin plywood).
Change Saw Blades
If you have a decent blade on your saw, it will NOT be worth anything when you get finished cutting laminate flooring. I had a relatively new blade on my compound miter saw and switched it out with an older blade.
In most cases you will also be using a table saw for rip cuts, change that blade too.
When you buy your laminate floating floor, bring it in to the house so that it can acclimate to the temperature. Find an out of the way spot where you won’t trip over it for a few days.
Mark your cuts
Using a white chalk pencil was helpful in marking the cut lines on this dark laminate flooring. In this photo you can see that the pencil mark is very difficult to see.
Dust off your boards
After making cuts to your laminate flooring use a small dust brush to remove saw dust before bringing it into the house.
Move large furniture to one side of the room
I removed all the small furniture pieces from the room and shifted the large pieces to the other side of the room to get started.
Remove baseboard and vents
Removing baseboard and vents prior to laying the floating floor will make the job easier. It is recommended that you leave 1/4” between the wall and the floor.
Clean as you go
You want to make sure there is no debris under your floating floor. Sweep or use a dust mop to clean up as you go.
Separator at transition
A small scrap piece of wood was used to hold the floors in place at the transition areas in between rooms.
Roll out underlayment
Some laminate floating flooring has underlayment attached. Mine did not. Roll out underlayment trimming around corners with scissors or a utility knife. As you can see, there is a “right side up”.
Click and Lock
The flooring I used is from Home Depot. I love the color and how it has a rough sawn look to it. It is a “click and lock”. We found it was best to slide it back and forth in the groove, lower once, lower twice and click the end joint in place.
If you notice a tiny crack, you may need to tap the floor into place (lock it). Do NOT tap on the floor. Use a scrap piece of wood or even a scrap piece of flooring and gently tap the floor into place. This only happened on rare occasions, typically when the original floor had a flaw such as a raised area.
It’s difficult to say how long this job may take you. In general it took a little more than half a day per room. The guest room, the last room we did is quite small. We removed the carpet and tack strip, cleaned and laid the floor all in one day. I was surprised it went so quickly, but elated to call the floor done!
I still need to do the baseboards. The floor doesn’t photograph very well. It looks so much prettier in person.
I was in the process of putting the living room back together and Lulu Mae was wondering where her pet ramp was so she could get on the couch. I’ll be sharing more pictures after everything is done. Who would have thought that getting new appliances could cause so many changes and home improvements?
There is still a lot to do, but I’m just taking baby steps trying to get the most important projects done before Christmas! A huge thank you to Rodney for his patience, and his family for “making due” without him lately!
Do you find that home improvement projects seem to snowball into way more than you expected?
If you prefer the look of refinished floors, you might want to read How To Stain Vintage Hardwood Floors.