Installing Laminate Flooring

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This week’s project consisted of installing laminate flooring.  My Grandparents had bought a home about 9 months ago, and I have had the opportunity of helping them remodel and fix the place up a bit.  A few months back I tiled the shower in their guest bathroom, this time around, we set laminate flooring in the dining room and kitchen. It’s amazing how projects such as these can add so much more life to a home.

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The old flooring in the dining room, carpet, needed to be removed. They had the carpet cleaned prior to moving in, but it really only did a surface clean. The more I see carpet come out of a house the more I never want carpet.  Let’s just say despite the cleaning, the carpet stunk. STUNK. The owners before them had small dogs and the smell and the dirt under the carpet after we took it out was disgusting.  I will say this though, if you are planning on putting in new flooring and want to save some big money, do the removal of the existing flooring yourself.  Just by taking the carpet out yourself will save you $hundreds if not more.  It can be a dirty job, but if you are looking for ways to save, this is a great place to start on a project involving flooring.  Plus, it’s not that difficult once you get into it.

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This was the first time I have ever worked with laminate flooring. I found that setting laminate flooring can be tricky when it comes to making precise cuts around cabinets and door jams, but with good measurements and precision it can look fabulous. Mostly, it’s just about taking your time to do it right rather than trying to speed through it.  The biggest trick I found when installing the flooring was getting it started.  When I first started setting the floor, it liked to move on me.  I found having something heavy sitting on the flooring helped to keep in place.  Once I had set a good little section I found the rest of it went down pretty easily.  Starting against a wall or a straight edge is a definite must, and having the right tools is also a necessity.

Here’s what I used for tools:

Rubber Malet
Tape Measure
Pencil
Chop Saw
Table Saw
Spacers
Tapping Block
Wide Angle Pull Bar

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The process is pretty simple. To start, typically which ever direction is the longest run within the room is the direction you want the flooring to go. The pieces are meant to lock together and can then be tapped in tight. You definitely want to make sure the pieces are tight together otherwise you will get unwanted gaps and your lines will possibly get off. The start is the big key. The pieces we used were 4 ft long. I used a 3 piece pattern which started with the 4 ft piece, a 32″ piece against it, and a 16″ piece locked into it. This gives a good stair stepped pattern to start the floor. Once these pieces are in all that is needed is to follow the pattern, adding a full piece to the end of each and working your way down adding a new pattern as you go.

Using the spacers is another key step. Each new piece that goes against a wall needs a spacer between it and the wall. This allows room for any shifting and expansion of the floor as it acclimates to the climate. To connect the pieces together, length wise, lock the piece in, and using a tapping block and mallet tap the board in to lock it into place at the end. When you work your way up against a wall, this is where you will want to have the pull bar to be able to tap the board into place. The pull bar fits in-between the wall and the board and makes tapping the board into place possible.

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All in all installing laminate flooring isn’t super difficult. Having the right tools, being meticulous in keeping the boards tight as you install, and precise with cuts, are the big keys to making the project go well. It’s amazing the difference installing a flooring such as this can make in a room. For my grandparents place, taking out the carpet and installing laminate flooring added so much life to the room as well as made the room feel bigger. Adding the laminate was also a great way to divide the dining room from the living room and really differentiate the two spaces.

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If you decide to take on a project like this, definitely have the right tools and use the correct safety gear and precautions when using power tools. I hope you found this read helpful for installing laminate flooring and thank you for visiting our blog. For other helpful project tips feel free to check out other posts on our site.

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