How to Install Shaw Laminate Flooring

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When it comes to home improvement, few of us are capable of handling some of the tougher jobs. You might be looking at your floor and assuming that replacing it is a tough job, but it's really not, provided you choose laminate flooring rather than hardwood flooring. If you've picked up a box (or two or more) of Shaw laminate flooring and are confused by the installation instructions it comes with, that's OK. You'll learn how to quickly and easily install it here.

Things You'll Need

  • Shaw laminate flooring
  • Foam underlay
  • Laminate flooring installation kit
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Ruler
  • Hand saw
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife
  • Purchase Shaw laminate flooring, foam underlay and a laminate flooring installation kit. You can find all three at most home improvement stores, though it's a good idea to check out flooring stores, as they usually have salespeople who are more helpful in regards to giving you advice on what brand of foam underlayment to use, as well as what installation kit is best.

  • Leave the laminate flooring and foam underlay in the room in which you plan on installing the flooring in. You should leave both items in there for at least 48 hours, as this will allow both to adjust to the environment and ensure that installation goes smoothly.

  • Remove all baseboards around the floor. When the flooring is installed, it will expand as necessary, so it needs the room that is provided under the baseboards. Removing the border is fairly easy--just use a crow bar and a hammer to get it off, but be careful to not crack the wood.

  • Sweep the floor clean and remove any furniture in the room. It's absolutely essential to have a completely smooth floor to lay the underlay on, as not having this will result in laminate flooring that is uneven and does not look very good. Also, take the time to put the spacers in place against the wall--these create a fake border that helps with positioning the laminate flooring so that it has room to expand.

  • Begin laying the foam underlay. You want to lay it so that it covers the entire surface of the floor. You may need to cut it with the knife in order to have it perfectly fit the room. It's a good idea to have one person lay on the foam while the other tapes each successive row of the underlay. When taping the underlay, do it so that each row is taped together but not overlapping.

  • Start laying the Shaw laminate flooring on top of the underlay. You'll want to have one person who kneels on it while the other works on connecting each piece of the laminate flooring. To connect the pieces, simply slide the tongue of the flooring piece into the opposite end of another flooring piece at a 45-degree angle to form a tight lock. Create one whole row of the flooring.

  • Measure around the areas of the room and cut the flooring with a hand saw as necessary. Depending on the shape of your room, you may be doing a lot of work with the hand saw or hardly any at all, but it's important to measure accurately or else you will end up with wasted pieces of wood.

  • Begin the next row of the Shaw laminate flooring, making sure to connect it with the previous row. It's a good idea to take out the bar from your installation kit and use your hammer to help with bonding the pieces together. Make sure you've created a nice, tight fit between the rows.

  • Lay the rest of the rows of flooring until you've completely covered the room. Once you've done this, take a good look at the floor to make sure it's level, isn't cracked in any place and has no gaps.

  • Put the baseboard back up around the floor and sweep the floor. As long as you've followed the steps, you should have Shaw laminate flooring that looks like hardwood flooring but without all of the work.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take your time. While laminate flooring installation is pretty simple, it can be tough for the average handyman. That's why it's important to take your time in installing it, as it's better to take a long time to finish the job than to rush through it.
  • Don't skimp on supplies. Think you can get away without purchasing the flooring kit? Think again. The laminate flooring kit you purchase serves to make the installation process much easier and yields better overall results. Because you've spent so much money on the flooring itself, it's best to buy good supplies too.

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