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Home > Ideas & Tips > How To Install Laminate Flooring: 4 Steps To Finish In A Snap

How To Install Laminate Flooring: 4 Steps To Finish In A Snap

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How To Install Laminate Flooring:
4 Steps To Finish In A Snap

Give your room an instant lift with
laminate flooring!

Fashionable floors establish your unique style from the bottom up. From the kitchen to the bathroom,
laminate flooring is a popular choice for its affordability, low maintenance, and
easy installation.

Living in a full house with kids and grownups that are always on the go? Laminate floors are built to last,
tough enough to hold its own for years in high traffic spaces. If surprise messes pop up, there’s
no need to
panic — spills, fades, and stains are quick and simple to clean.

Laminate flooring offers an irresistible combination of style and substance. Choose from a wide selection of
tones and textures to achieve a trendy or traditional look. For conscious consumers seeking eco-friendly
options, it’s often made from recycled materials and doesn’t require harvesting rare trees.

Ready to get started? Follow our four simple steps to learn how to install laminate flooring in a snap!
Remember that if you need professional help at any time, visit your local store and speak to a Lowe’s
Flooring Specialist to learn more about our installation services!

Shop All Laminate Flooring

1. Choose your laminate floor: Explore styles
and features that meet your needs

Go ahead and experiment with the latest laminate flooring trends! Glossy, smooth, and sophisticated
or rugged, heavy textured, and bold? When you visit in-store, don’t be afraid to reach out and touch
the different finishes available. You’ll even discover laminate flooring with the look and feel of real
hardwood! Take small laminate samples home to visualize how it can look with your furnishings.

When sorting through your options, style is just your starting point. You should also pay attention to
your thickness and AC rating as two key factors for long-lasting laminate floors.

What’s the best thickness for laminate flooring, and why does it matter? Thickness ranges from
7 mm to 12 mm — in general, the thicker the flooring, the better. Thicker laminate floors are more
rigid, and as a result, they are easier to lay against uneven subfloors during installation.
They’re also a great way to reduce noise.

You may also find yourself asking, what’s an AC rating? Based on the Abrasion Rating System,
AC ratings represent the durability of your laminate flooring. The higher your AC rating on a scale
of 1 to 5, the more resistant it will be to foot traffic, scratches, and stains. For busy areas such
as your foyer or kitchen, aim for
AC3 and up.

When you’ve found your laminate flooring,
it’s time to start installing!

2. Prep your project area: Ensure your
subfloor is clean, dry, and smooth

What is a subfloor? Subflooring is a flat, foundational layer that you’ll use to build
your new floors.

One of the great benefits of laminate flooring is it can be installed over any surface, including vinyl,
concrete, ceramic, and plywood. Before you start your installation, free your space from obstructions
such as staples, nails, dust, and debris. Throughout your removal and installation, having
knee protection will also avoid any aches and pains later.

Remove your baseboards and pull up your carpet (if you have it). Be careful when tearing out tack
strips with sharp nails around the perimeter of the room. It’s important that your subfloor is smooth
and flat, so that when you lay your laminate flooring, it can be flush without bending or “slapping”
when you walk over it.

Finishing your basement? If you have concrete flooring, make sure to add a dry core panel as your
subfloor, plus a moisture barrier.
Adding wood subflooring over concrete will help to allow air
circulation underneath and will warm up the floor.

How To Install Laminate Flooring: 4 Steps To Finish In A Snap

Learn more about levelling and
subflooring with Bryan Baeumler

Tackle any unexpected surprises with expert tips and advice! Whether you live in an older home with
uneven flooring or have trouble deciding which subfloor is right for you,
Bryan knows best!

How To Install Laminate Flooring: 4 Steps To Finish In A Snap

How do I install laminate flooring
if my floors
are uneven? Find out how
to level your floors.

How To Install Laminate Flooring: 4 Steps To Finish In A Snap

What type of subfloor is best to use?
Learn how to choose your subflooring.

3. Choose and install a quality underlayment
for maximum performance

What’s an underlayment and how is it different from subflooring? An underlayment is another layer
of material that is placed above your subflooring and below your laminate floors. This is a necessary
step when installing any type of flooring, as it helps to absorb noise and smoothen any subfloor
imperfections. Some laminate flooring have underlayment pads pre-attached for convenience!

Never install your laminate flooring directly above the subfloor, especially if you’re building over
concrete floors in your basement.
A foam underlayment can work as a moisture barrier to prevent
cupping, gapping, and squeaking due to expansion. Always read your manufacturer’s instructions for
more details on moisture protection.

Choose from the wide selection of underlayments available with features and benefits that best suit
your room and your needs. Lay it flat over your subfloor, covering it completely without overlap.
Remove the sticky tape strip on the side (most underlayments should have it), and press it down to
secure it in place on the floor.

You’re at the final stage. Let’s start adding your flooring planks!

4. Complete your project and
install your laminate floor

Before you begin, remember to check your manufacturer’s instructions. Some may recommend
to leave your laminate flooring package in the room for a certain period of time. Your planks will
acclimate to humidity and room temperature, so you can avoid gaps or buckling in your flooring
later. Carefully inspect all your planks before and during installation in daylight for any defects.

Starting at the longest wall, choose planks from more than one package at a time. This will even
out colour variation and avoid too many light or dark planks next to each other.

Add spacers against the wall to create a small gap that allows for expansion and contraction.
Start building your first few rows, and place them against the spacers. You can also hold them in
place by laying your flooring package or a weight on top the first plank of each row.

Each laminate flooring plank has a tongue and groove that fit together and “float” above the
subfloor. Try to stagger them at least 12 inches at a time, you’ll need a saw to cut some pieces
at a certain length. Remember to wear your safety glasses!

Use the right tools if you encounter barriers such as doorframes, vents or cabinets. A jigsaw will
cut your flooring to fit, and you can also refer to your manufacturer’s instructions on how to use
a tapping block. If you’re installing laminate flooring to your bathroom, apply silicone caulk
around your tub or toilet for a water-tight seal.

With one final row to go, measure the distance between the wall and the last row, minus the
expansion gap. Now you know the width needed for the final row. When marking the cut line on
your plank, don’t measure from the tongue. Cut the plank along the line, and if needed, insert the
last row with a pull bar.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing transition strips and floor moulding. If you
installed a separate underlayment, trim the excess from the perimeter around the floor. Finish it
off by attaching your baseboard moulding to the wall, not the floor.

Congratulations! You made it through and installed gorgeous new laminate flooring that will last
for years to come!

How to install
laminate flooring:
Follow our video tutorials

How To Install Laminate Flooring: 4 Steps To Finish In A Snap

A quick 3-min review with Bryan Baeumler.

How To Install Laminate Flooring: 4 Steps To Finish In A Snap

Detailed step-by-step instructions.

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