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A Consumer Guide to Installing Laminate Flooring


We decided on laminate as opposed to hardwood, or engineered wood because of the experience of others.  We have dogs. Real wood, even the hardest woods scratch.  High heel pumps can leave dimples.  And it is a lot more money.  Laminates can take a beating.  Go ahead and test this like the worker at Lowes did for us.  He lightly tapped a key on a sample of hardwood and it left marks.  He practically smashed the laminate sample and it left no marks.  So we bought Pergo.



Below are some specific tips, this is not a complete list but just some tips that can help you through some obstacles.

1.  Don't expect this to be easy.  It doesn't just 'snap' together.  You have to work it.  Read a lot of other guides and experience online.   Work through any frustration.  Your floors will look great.  It's important to read reviews on the laminate you like before buying.  Some laminates are more difficult than others to install.  Get a block, pullbar, and spacers.   You'll need a good Chop Saw and change blades often.  You can use a table saw to cut boards length-wise, or use a jig saw.

2.  Buy a good underlayment.   We chose Quiet Walk and we love it.  The laminates with underlayment already attached are not nearly as good.

3.  Take the moldings off.   You can try to leave them on and use a quarter round shoe to cover the gap but it's a lot more work around door jams.  Just take them off.  Cut along the top of the molding with a razor, so the paint doesn't rip on the wall and work it off with a couple putty knifes. Be careful not to damage walls. Save moldings for reinstalling on top of the laminate...or buy new.

4. Cut beneath the door jams so the laminate on top of underlayment will fit beneath.  I cut into the casing as well, so I could bring the laminate beneath.  I used a flat flush saw by hand, it works great and they're cheap.

5. As you're laying the laminate, your walls are probably not going to be straight.  I worked with shims to keep the floor as straight as possible.  If the floor gets out of square, you'll notice the joints not fitting together correctly.  As you use your rubber mallet and block to tap the floor boards into place, you can knock it out of square.  You need to watch this and readjust as necessary.  The hardest part is getting the first few rows laid.

Good luck!  You will love your new floor!




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