How to Install Laminate Wood Flooring on a Second Story Home


Installing laminate floors on a second story follows the same procedure as installing floors on a first story. While the process takes time and consideration, you can do it yourself with a little know-how, patience and the right tools. Most laminate floors are glueless, also known as floating or click and lock. Their installation is simple; getting them straight is often the difficult part. Take your time while installing the floor and the result should be what you were looking for.

Things You'll Need

  • Cork or foam underlayment (or what the floor manufacturer recommends)
  • Chalk line
  • Tape measure
  • Laminate installation kit (includes several tools for easing the process, such as spacers, knock blocks and other items)
  • Click-and-lock flooring
  • Saw with carbide-tip blade
  • Roll your underlayment over the subfloor according to product instructions.

  • Measure 1/4 inch from your starting wall and slap a chalk line. The chalk line gives you a definitive mark to lay your boards. Insert your 1/4-inch spacer against the wall.

  • Lay out your boards for your first row. Make sure the grooves of the boards are pointed at the wall. Once they are laid out, lock the ends together. Locking the boards is done by holding the board with the tongue at a 45-degree angle and placing the tongue in the groove of the other board. Push the board in and down, locking them together. Do not force. If it's not going down easily, adjust it and try again.

  • Using the saw, cut your starting board for the new row 8 to 10 inches in length. Stagger the joints for a nicer look and stronger finish. Lock one row together like your first row and then click and lock the entire second row into the first one. This process is simpler with two people; however, you can do it by yourself.

  • Complete each additional row, always staggering the first board of the row to the previous row. Leave a 1/4-inch space around every wall. This may mean ripping your boards lengthwise in the last row.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using two or more people simplifies the installation process. Use cut sections from boards to start new rows. This helps eliminate waste and eases the staggering process.
  • Follow all manufacturer's recommendations and instructions regarding underlayment, installation and other factors.
  • Sealant is available for some floors. Ask a flooring expert or refer to the manufacturer for more details.
  • Never use a hammer on the floor. The laminate installation kit provides a tapping block. Use a rubber mallet on the tapping block pressed against the floor boards if you need to tap them in.

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  • Photo Credit Floor image by Einar Bog from
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