How To Lay Laminate Flooring

Remove the tongue.

For the first row along straight walls, use a table saw to cut off all of the long side joints and the short side of the first plank.

Trace and Cut

If you have uneven walls, trace contour with a compass on the tongue side of the plank, and cut with a jigsaw.

Assembling the first row

Assemble the first row with tongue side way from the wall. Insert the end tongue into the end groove and rotate downward to assemble.

Make sure you provide space for expansion

Using wooden spacers, provide a 3/8″ space for expansion (two wooden spacers equals 3/8″)

Making cuts for new rows

Cut the first piece at least 8” long and start new rows using pieces trimmed from the previous row, ensuring at least a 12” end joint offset.

Starting the second row

Insert the tongue of the second-row plank into the groove of the first-row plank at a slight angle until the laminate edges meet. Next, rotate down until the joints lock. For the next plank, join the short end of the plank first. You will see a gap on the long-side joints when the plank is rotated down. Raise the outside edge of the plank upward approximately 1”. Keep this angle as you push the plank in until the laminate edges meet. Rotate downward on the plank until the joint locks.  Repeat previous steps to complete installation.

Check for a gap

Use a tape measure to ensure there is a 3/8” gap from the wall to allow for expansion.

Installing the last row

Align the plank you’ll connect to the second to last row. Using a full-width plank as a spacer, trace the contour of the wall, and cut the plank to size. Install the long side tongue into the groove with the end joint aligned. Work evenly along the length of the plank, and lightly tap the joint closed using a pull bar and rubber mallet. After tapping the long side joint closed, tap the short side closed using a tapping block or pull bar. Remove all spacers.

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