How to Start a Laminate Floor

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Laminate flooring is usually designed today as glueless or floating floors. This means the boards aren't actually attached to anything except each other. They're among the easiest floors to lay, going down on any firm, flat surface (not carpeting). You'll generally start along the longest wall in the room. It's important to start the first course with an expansion gap alongside the wall to allow for floor movement with environmental changes, and to keep the gap around the perimeter as you proceed.

Things You'll Need

  • Prybar
  • Hammer
  • Plastic moisture barrier underlayment
  • Utility knife
  • Floating laminate flooring
  • Wall spacers
  • Miter saw
  • Trim nails
  • Use your hammer and prybar to take off the trim around the edges of the floor. Keep it intact as your remove it. Pull out the nails. Set it aside.

  • Spread a row of plastic moisture barrier underlayment along the edge of the room where you're going to start the flooring. Cut the barrier at the end with a utility knife. Make sure the barrier rises up on the wall by an inch or two along each side.

  • Set the first board at one end of the floor, in the corner, with the long side of the board along the starting wall. Put spacers between the board and the wall to hold it consistently out by about 3/8 inch.

  • Link the second board to the first by holding the first board down and pressing the end of the second board to it until it clicks in place. Lower the second board to the floor, putting spacers between the board and the wall as you do.

  • Repeat the process to lay the rest of the first course, clipping the boards together end to end. Cut the last board in the row on a miter saw to fit against the side wall, with a 3/8 inch space left there. You'll lay the rest of your courses in the same manner, alongside the first course, locking them together at the long edges as well as the ends, while rolling out more rows of moisture barrier as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • You'll reinstall the floor trim at the end, which will cover up the 3/8 inch gaps.

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