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How to Install Laminate Flooring

Directions for Installing Laminate Flooring

Your exact installation of your laminate flooring may vary. The following install instructions focus on the most popular type of laminate flooring -- board-style planks with tongue-and-groove construction.

Start on the left side of the room and work to the right. Place spacers along each wall to set up the expansion zone. Set the first plank down, and add another piece of the flooring to the right, lining up the short ends and locking them into place.

When you get to the end of the first row and you need to cut the last piece, measure the distance between the last piece and the wall. Subtract a quarter-inch (6 mm) before cutting. When cutting the laminate with a handsaw or carbon-tipped blade power tool, the decorative side of the board should be facing up to minimize chipping. Use a pull bar to get the last piece of the row in and ensure the joints between planks are tight. Don't forget to put the spacer between the wall and the laminate!

Use the leftover piece to start the next row, providing it isn't too short (less than 8 inches [20 cm]). Generally, end joints of boards should be staggered at least 8 inches (20cm). Angle the boards for the new row, lining up the short ends and locking them into place first. After this row is connected and the last piece cut, the entire length needs to be angled and pushed forward to connect with the groove of the first row. Continue installing row by row, walking or pressing the boards into the sub-floor.

The laminate flooring will probably need to be cut lengthwise for the last row. Line up the flooring pieces on top of the last row of installed planks. Use a plank and a spacer to trace the contour of the wall onto the board that will be cut.

Read on to discover how to finish up your laminate flooring installation.