how to lay laminate

How to Lay Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a popular and cost-effective option for homeowners who want to upgrade their floors. It provides the look and feel of hardwood flooring without the high price tag. Whether you are a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a beginner looking to tackle a new project, laying laminate flooring is a relatively simple process that can be completed with the right tools and a little bit of patience. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to lay laminate flooring, step-by-step, along with some frequently asked questions and their answers.

Guide on Laying Laminate Flooring

Preparing the Subfloor

Before starting the installation process, it is crucial to prepare the subfloor properly. This includes removing any existing flooring, such as carpet or vinyl, and making sure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. If there are any imperfections, you may need to use a floor leveler or sand down high spots to create a smooth surface.

Choosing and Acclimating the Laminate Flooring

Once the subfloor is ready, it’s time to choose the laminate flooring that suits your preferences and needs. Consider the color, style, thickness, and durability of the laminate planks. Ensure that you purchase enough flooring to cover the entire area, including extra for waste.

After purchasing the laminate flooring, it’s essential to acclimate it to the room’s temperature and humidity. Leave the sealed boxes of laminate flooring in the room for at least 48 hours before installation. This will prevent any expansion or contraction of the planks after installation.

Installing Underlayment

Underlayment is an important layer that provides sound insulation, moisture resistance, and adds a slight cushioning effect. Roll out the underlayment across the entire area, making sure to overlap the seams and secure it with tape. Trim any excess underlayment around the edges.

Measuring and Cutting the Laminate Planks

To achieve a professional-looking installation, measures and precise cuts are crucial. Start by measuring the length and width of the room and multiply these numbers to determine the square footage. Subtract the area of any closets or permanent fixtures.

Once you have the measurements, you can begin cutting the laminate planks to fit the space. Use a power saw or a manual saw specifically designed for laminate flooring. Be sure to wear safety goggles and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cutting the planks accurately.

Installing the Laminate Flooring

Now it’s time to start installing the laminate flooring. Begin by laying the first row of planks along one wall, leaving a ¼-inch gap between the planks and the wall. This gap allows room for the flooring to expand and contract.

Use spacers to maintain consistent spacing between planks. As you begin to lay subsequent rows, be sure to stagger the joints, ensuring that no two adjacent joints line up. This will create a more visually appealing and durable floor.

Continue this process until the entire floor is covered, making sure to check for any gaps or unevenness in the planks. Use a tapping block and a hammer to tap the planks together tightly.

Adding Baseboards and Transition Strips

To finish the installation, install baseboards along the walls to cover the expansion gap and provide a polished look. Attach them securely using a brad nailer or finishing nails.

If you have areas where the laminate flooring meets carpet, tile, or another type of flooring, you will need to install transition strips. These strips create a smooth transition between the different flooring materials and help prevent tripping hazards.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and their Answers

What tools will I need to lay laminate flooring?
– Some of the essential tools you will need include a measuring tape, circular saw or hand saw, pneumatic nailer or manual nailer, tapping block, spacers, and a pry bar.

Should I remove the existing flooring before installing laminate?
– It is recommended to remove any existing flooring before installing laminate. This ensures a level surface and avoids potential problems with height differences.

How do I prepare the subfloor for laminate flooring?
– To prepare the subfloor, remove the existing flooring, clean and level the surface, and ensure it is dry and free from any debris. It may be necessary to use a floor leveler and sand down high spots to create a smooth surface.

Can I install laminate on a concrete subfloor?
– Yes, you can install laminate flooring on a concrete subfloor. However, it is essential to lay down a vapor barrier and use an underlayment suitable for concrete floors to prevent moisture and provide insulation.

How long does laminate flooring acclimate?
– Laminate flooring typically needs to acclimate for at least 48 hours before installation. This allows the planks to adjust to the room’s humidity and temperature, preventing buckling or gaps after installation.

Do I need to install underlayment under laminate flooring?
– While not always required, installing underlayment is highly recommended for laminate flooring. Underlayment provides sound insulation, moisture resistance, and helps to smooth out any minor imperfections in the subfloor.

How do I measure and cut the laminate planks?
– Use a measuring tape to measure the length and width of the room, then multiply these numbers to determine the square footage. To cut the laminate planks, use a power saw or a manual saw specifically designed for laminate flooring, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can I install laminate flooring in all rooms of my house?
– Yes, laminate flooring can be installed in most rooms of the house, including living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, and kitchens. However, it is not recommended for bathrooms or areas with excessive moisture.

Can I install laminate flooring on stairs?
– While laminate flooring can be installed on stairs, it is a more complex process that requires special techniques and additional materials, such as stair noses. It is recommended to seek professional assistance for stair installations.

How do I install laminate flooring around doorways?
– To install laminate flooring around doorways, you will need to cut the planks to fit the space using a saw. Make sure to leave a small gap around the door frame to allow for expansion. Install transition pieces to cover the gap.

How do I clean and maintain laminate flooring?
– Laminate flooring is relatively easy to clean and maintain. Sweep or vacuum regularly to remove dirt and debris, and wipe spills promptly. Avoid using excess water when mopping and use a damp cloth or mop instead.

Can I install laminate flooring in a bathroom?
– While some laminate flooring is specifically designed for bathrooms, it is generally not recommended to install laminate flooring in wet areas. Moisture can seep between the planks and cause damage. Consider other flooring options such as luxury vinyl or ceramic tiles for bathrooms.

How long does it take to install laminate flooring in a room?
– The installation time depends on the size of the room and the complexity of the project. A small room with straightforward layout can typically be completed in one to two days, while larger rooms or more complex layouts may take longer.

Can I install laminate flooring over uneven subfloors?
– It is not recommended to install laminate flooring over uneven subfloors, as it can lead to an unstable and uneven floor. It is crucial to level the subfloor before installation to ensure a smooth and durable surface.

Can I install laminate flooring on top of carpet?
– No, it is not recommended to install laminate flooring on top of carpet. Laminate needs a stable and flat surface, and the carpet will create an uneven base. Remove the carpet before installing laminate for best results.

How do I choose the right laminate flooring for my home?
– Consider factors such as the color and style that match your home’s décor, the durability and thickness of the laminate, the warranty provided by the manufacturer, and your budget. It is also helpful to read customer reviews and seek recommendations from professionals.

How do I fix squeaky laminate flooring?
– Squeaks in laminate flooring are often caused by loose planks rubbing against each other or against the underlayment. To fix squeaky laminate flooring, locate the source of the squeak, secure the planks using adhesive, or add shims between the subfloor and the laminate planks.

Can I install radiant heating underneath laminate flooring?
– Yes, it is possible to install radiant heating systems under laminate flooring. However, it is important to choose laminate flooring that is compatible with radiant heating and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation.

Can a DIY beginner lay laminate flooring?
– Yes, a DIY beginner can lay laminate flooring with proper guidance and the right tools. However, it is crucial to thoroughly understand the installation process and have patience and attention to detail.

What are the benefits of laminate flooring?
– Laminate flooring offers several benefits, including affordability compared to hardwood flooring, easy installation for DIY enthusiasts, durability, scratch resistance, and a wide variety of styles and colors to choose from.


Laying laminate flooring is a DIY project that can give your home a fresh, stylish look without breaking the bank. By following this step-by-step guide, you can successfully install laminate flooring in your home. Take the time to properly prepare the subfloor, choose the right laminate flooring, and complete the installation with precision. With the right tools, materials, and patience, you can transform your space with beautiful laminate flooring.

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