Simple DYI tips on Laminate Flooring

Never fear, it's really quite simple......

It's hard to know when a DYI job is really something that you can do yourself. If you're at all like me and rather enjoy charging into these situations at full speed and half brain then this is a Tip Guide for you!!

Laminate flooring really is easy to install, looks wonderful when you're done and can completely change the visual perception of a room making it appear longer or wider depending on the direction that you lay it. There are many other pluses to it such as maintenance and cleanliness also. Here are some basic guidelines and tips which make this job a cinch and the result beautiful.

Laminate is easy to install and completely changes the look of a room


The first thing to remember is that when you say to yourself, "Oh, I have a rubber mallet at home, I don't really need the kit that is recommended", stop it. Buy the kit. Or borrow one from a friend. You need it. It comes with the mallet, the bar necessary to install the flooring along the walls, the block used to lock the flooring into each other and the spacers. Once you get past that part, just follow these simple tips along with the instructions on your product.

  • Flooring is usually laid in same direction as the main window in the room faces. The light runs along the length of the flooring and makes the room appear bigger. However, in a narrow basement room with no windows or very small, high ones you can lay the flooring width-wise to give the room the illusion of being wider.
  • Measure the distances across the room to make sure the walls are consistently the same distance apart throughout the whole area. If the distance at one end is 24 feet and the distance at the other end is 24 feet 3 inches, then the flooring isn't going to be square with the room once you get to the last row and the distance between the wall and the edge of the flooring will be too great for a trim to cover. Adjust with the spacers (you may have to double up on one end or use the thick side on one end of the room and the thin side on the other end) and width of your trim.
  • Make sure your laminate is no less than 8mm thick. They sell thinner laminate for a lesser price but it's just not as good. It doesn't seem to self level as well and can break/snap easier. Absolutely an inferior product by comparison.
  • Best to vacuum before putting down your underlay, don't just sweep. Make sure there are no nail heads poking up as they can end up causing problems down the road. Most imperfections other than that are inconsequential and laminate can be laid directly on existing flooring such as linoleum, tile, etc..  The best part of using this underlay and the laminate is that it's what is called a "floating floor" and "self levels".
  • When starting the first few rows, you'll find the spacers will pop out and be tempermental. I actually ended up taping mine to the wall so that they held their place and stopped causing problems. A couple strips of masking tape across the top works just fine and makes sure the flooring stays square.
  • The first row begins with a whole laminate strip. When you get to the end and cut the extra off, that end piece now becomes the first piece of your next row. Always start rows at the same end of the room.
  • There are two slits in the edge of the block that comes with the kit. When putting in the board do so on a 45 degree angle and use the slit farthest from the floor when getting it into place. Once the board is in place it should rest a centimeter or so off the floor. Flip the block over and use the slit closest to the floor. When you tap on the block this will lock the laminate into place and make it lay flat. If you miss this step the flooring could end up with the seams causing "peaks" as one piece will be raised and the next may lay flat. A tip no one told me so I know............
  • Laying the last row against the wall is the trickiest part I found. You'll really have to work out a technique that works best for you. My friend and I personally found that the first step of locking it in was easier if you only did the lengthwise edge then gently tapped it up into place to click in to the one before it on that row. The bar that comes in the kit comes in handy as you can't really use the block, though be careful as it can chip the flooring easily and ruin it.


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Comments 11 comments

Urbane Chaos profile image

Urbane Chaos 6 years ago from Wister, Oklahoma

Excellent hub!!!

If I may, I'd like to offer one more tip for ya that a lot of DIYers don't know about laminate flooring.

Buy some wood glue. When installing laminate flooring, the head joints (at the top and bottom of the pieces) on some of the lesser quality products have a tendency to slide apart after a year or two. I usually run a small bead of glue along the inside edge to prevent this from happening.

You're absolutely right, at first, installing the floor can be intimidating - but really, it's super easy. I used to do this professionally, and I always felt like I was cheating the customer because it is so easy. You've given a lot of great advice here! What a great hub!

Congrats on the HubNugget nomination!

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Susanne - A really terrific hub, very informative and well written hub. Definitely worth sharing and bookmarking.

Congratulations on you HubNugget nomination!

Best of Luck


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Susanne, A very good hub. We put laminate down about 4 years ago and it wasn't totally easy for my husband as one of the rooms wasn't as square as it should have been, but he worked through it. You gave a nice set of steps to follow.

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Susanne, we have to change the flooring our preschool classroom by the end of this term. This looks so easy and to follow. Now I wonder if I can convince the teachers to try it out??? LOL Anyhow, I have this hub to bookmark for reference if we do decide to give a go!

Congratulations to your Hubnugget Nomination! Woohoo! Keep promoting your hub to get more votes. Yes, you can do that! :) Just no spamming in the forums. But you can definitely send emails and ask your family and friends to vote for your hub. Non hubbers can vote too.

To vote,

As you enjoy recreating your floor, enjoy the hubnuggets as well! :)

Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

Great hub with good tips on laminate flooring, I keep trying to convince myself that I can do this on my own. Perhaps one day, I will give it a try. Congrats on being selected as a HubNugget Wannabe and good luck! :)

relica profile image

relica 6 years ago from California

Good for you! Installing a laminate floor is a project, but it certainly should not be an intimidating one! And, adding a bead of glue along the top edge of each plank is a great way to help your floor be more durable and wear longer. Great hub!

kowality profile image

kowality 6 years ago from Everywhere

Just a thought..Engineered laminate flooring is not meant to be glued or fastened. That is why the planks lock together. That's why it's laid on top of a membrane and it shouldn't be installed to tight to the walls. These floors expand and contract over time. They are meant to move without restriction.

prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 6 years ago from Canada

Thank you for this. My husband have been trying to install laminate in a mobile home we are trying to sell. It's been really acting up, by not staying put. The tape idea is a great one!

whitton profile image

whitton 5 years ago

Great Hub Susanne! You have great step by step tips to follow. This Hub was very helpful!

Best Laminate Inc profile image

Best Laminate Inc 5 years ago from Willoughby, OH

Excellent hub! This is extremely valuable information for homeowners. Installing the floor yourself will enable you to get the high gloss laminate or other type of laminate that you want. These tips will ensure the floor is installed correctly.

working mom 4 years ago

We installed Wilsonart wood laminart in our familyroom kitchen area, about 500 sq feet 12 years ago. Still ooks great and one of the best thinks we ever did. We have a crawl space under the house so we upgraded the padding to help with any noise factor/echoing and i feel it made a big difference. We also glued everything to make it more water resistant especially since we were putting it in the kitchen. Only issue is now I want to extend the flooring into my living room and the Maple has been discontinued so I'm kind of stuck. Dogs, kids, best stuff ever.

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