With its durability and a vast selection of styles, laminate flooring is a top choice for many homeowners looking to enhance their interior decor on a budget. For the do-it-yourselfer, installing laminate flooring can be a rewarding, albeit challenging, project. If you are ready to take on this task, this comprehensive step-by-step guide will help you install your laminate flooring with the precision of a professional.

Preparation of Subfloor

Before starting your laminate flooring project, properly preparing the subfloor is essential. If necessary, remove the existing flooring, then thoroughly clean the area. This step ensures the removal of all debris, dust, and small particles which could interfere with your new laminate’s installation and longevity.


Next, check the subfloor for levelness. Any dips or bumps can result in an uneven laminate floor. If you find any, use the self-levelling compound to fix the problem. Once the subfloor is clean and level, you can move on to the next step.

Choosing and Acclimating Your Laminate

When you’ve selected the laminate flooring that complements your home, it’s vital to acclimate it to your home’s environment for at least 48 hours before installation. This process allows the laminate to adjust to your home’s humidity levels and temperature, preventing it from expanding or contracting after installation.

Measuring the Room and Cutting Planks

Accurate measurement is key to achieving a professional-looking result. Measure the room’s length and width to calculate the area you’ll cover. Ensure to account for a 10% wastage factor for offcuts and mistakes.

Cutting laminate planks accurately is another crucial factor. Always use a high-quality laminate cutter or saw for precise cuts. Remember to measure twice before making each cut, keeping in mind that planks at the end of rows should be at least 8 inches in length for structural integrity.

Laying Down the Underlay

An underlay acts as a cushion between your subfloor and laminate flooring, helping to smooth out minor subfloor imperfections, offering sound reduction, and providing moisture protection. Roll out the underlay in the same direction as laying the laminate. Overlap the edges and secure them with duct tape.

Installing the Laminate

Now comes the main part – the installation. Start from the left corner of the room and work to the right. Apply a small amount of wood glue on the tongue of the first plank, then fit it into the groove of the next plank. Use a rubber mallet to tap the boards together and ensure a snug fit.

Stagger the joints of each row for a more stable and visually pleasing floor. Maintain an expansion gap of at least 1/4 inch around the room’s perimeter to accommodate any future expansion and contraction of the laminate.

Installing the Laminate

Continue laying the laminate, ensuring each plank fits tightly into the previous one. Use pull bars or tapping blocks to help fit the planks together.

Final Touches

Once the laminate has been installed, remove any spacers and cover the expansion gaps with baseboard or quarter-round moulding. Secure the moulding to the wall, not the floor, allowing the floor to move freely underneath.

It’s also worth installing transition strips in doorways or where the laminate meets another type of flooring. This provides a neat finish and allows for the different flooring materials’ expansion and contraction.


Even pros run into occasional issues during installation. Here are a couple of common ones and how to resolve them:

  1. Peaking occurs when there isn’t enough space for the laminate to expand, causing it to rise in areas. To fix this, increase the size of the expansion gap at the floor edges.
  2. Gapping: If gaps appear between planks, it might be due to low humidity. Using a dehumidifier can help. If gapping persists, the planks might not have been installed tightly enough and may need to be reinstalled.

Installing laminate flooring like a pro is about patience, precision, and careful planning. By following this guide, not only will you achieve a fantastic new floor, but you’ll also gain the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself. Happy installing!

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