How to Install Laminate Wood Flooring

Durable, scratch resistant and easy to install, laminate wood flooring is fast becoming the floor of choice for any room in the house.

Prepare the Floor for Installation
Unwrap the packages of floor planks and them stack up on the floor. The planks need 48 hours to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room before you install them. Use this time to prepare the floor for installation. Remove the baseboards in the room and label them for easy reinstallation. Clean the floor thoroughly with an all-purpose cleaner to remove dirt and grime, then vacuum the floor to remove any debris and dust. If you are using a vapour barrier, which is recommended but not imperative, install it according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Trim the Door Jambs
If you have door jambs that the flooring will not cleanly slide beneath, trim them. Lay a piece of flooring against the jamb and mark the jamb with a pencil. Use a coping saw to remove the bottom of the jamb, careful to make the cut perfectly parallel to the floor.

Install the First Row
Place 1/2-inch spacers against the walls every 12 to 18 inches. This will allow space for expansion and contraction, and will keep the floor from warping. Install the first row of planks with the groove side of the plank firmly against the spacers. The planks should be laid so they’re parallel to the longest wall.

Cut Planks to Fit
To cut the proper sized piece for the last plank on the row, lay a plank on top of the last, with the ends flush. Lay another plank on top of the second, and slide this top plank firmly against the spacers along the wall. Mark the second plank using the edge of the top plank as a guide. Cut the second plank with a table saw and install it.

Install the Remaining Rows
Install the second row of planks, beginning on the side of the room where you left off. Gently insert the grooved side of the plank into the tongue on the first row. Place a small piece of wood against the plank and hammer the two together until the seam between the first and second row is completely closed. Be sure to stagger the planks so that the end seams are not uniform. The planks in the last row may need to be ripped, or cut along the length, to ensure a perfect fit. Measure the planks using the same method as before.

Replace Baseboards
Remove the spacers along the walls. Replace the baseboards, attaching them to the wall with finishing nails. To counter-sink the nails, place a nail directly over the head of the nail in the plank and tap with a hammer until the first nail sinks below the surface of the baseboard. Fill the holes with putty and paint or stain to match the wood.

Colin McDonald writes on behalf Floors 2 Go – Engineered Wood Flooring

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