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Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

Installing laminate flooring in your home

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Laminate flooring is among the many types of flooring you can install in your house and is generally regarded as one of the easiest types to install. Whether you're updating after a home inspection or want a new look, laminate presents a more affordable option compared to hardwood. 

Laminate is created in a way so homeowners can install it with little trouble. You'll need a few materials and some time, but before you know it, you'll have new floors in your home.

Here is your tools and materials list:

  • Flooring spacers
  • Hammer
  • Hand saw or coping saw
  • Knee pads
  • Laminate flooring
  • Pencil
  • Pull bar
  • Safety glasses
  • Tape measure
  • Tapping block
  • Underlayment

When purchasing laminate for the job, you'll first need to measure the room to determine how much you need. After you have your measurements, plan to purchase a little more to account for the pieces you'll be cutting.

Here are the steps for installation:

1. Acclimate the flooring
As temperatures and humidity change, floors can contract and expand. About a week before you're ready to install, stack your laminate in the room where you're going to install it. Don't forget to remove any plastic from the boxes and leave space between them to allow air to circulate.

2. Clean your subfloor
The first part of this step is to carefully remove your floor moldings with the pull bar. Store them in another room. If the old flooring was carpet, remove the tack strips, as well.

Then, remove all debris, dirt and other waste from the subfloor. If the subfloor is concrete, check that it doesn't have any moisture and is fully cured.

3. Install the vapor barrier
The underlayment will serve as a vapor barrier. In some cases, the manufacturer instructions will require you butt the edges of two sheets, while others will say to overlap the sheets. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for this issue. Be sure to start with the longest wall.

4. Trim your door jambs
This step ensures your flooring fits under the jambs for a clean appearance. Place a piece of laminate next to the jamb and mark it by cutting a horizontal line into the jamb. Using the mark as a guide, cut out piece of the jamb so the flooring can fit under it.

5. Install the flooring
When you lay the planks, they should be parallel to the longest wall. The groove should face the wall when installing the first plank. Place the ½-inch spacers between the first planks and the wall to give the boards room to expand and contract. Spacers should be a foot apart and at the end of the planks on the adjoining wall.

Work from left to right as you lay the planks.

After you've completed the first row, lay the second on, matching the tongues of the first row to the grooves of the second one. Gently tap the planks together with a hammer. Use the tapping block to soften the blow from the hammer and avoid damaging the planks. Stagger the joints, which improves the appearance of the flooring and strengthens the floor, and ensure there are no gaps between planks.

6. Install the last row
You'll have to cut the final row of planks to fit. First, place one plank over another in the next-to-last row. Then, stack a second plank on top, sliding one edge to evenly rest against the spacers. Draw a line along the edge of the top plank on the bottom plank. This will give you the width for the last row. Trim the laminate with a saw and install it.

7. Final steps
Install thresholds for any areas where the flooring ends at an open door. Remove the spacers, and reinstall the floor molding over the expansion gap.