Laminate flooring has a reputation for being easy to install. But that all depends on what level of experience you have. These guidelines will help you assess what skills you need to properly install laminate flooring and determine how easy your particular project is if you plan on “doing it yourself.”
Remember, everyone is different – and these are just guidelines.
This level requires only hands and eyes, some knee pads, safety goggles, a dust mask and some hand tools.What can you do at this level? Plenty!
- Move furniture and remove the old flooring
- Remove the tack strips (if the room was carpeted)
- Conduct a simple test for moisture in concrete subfloor with a mat test
- Purchase and load the laminate flooring
- Arrange and acclimate the planks
- Read the installation instructions
- Inspect the condition of the laminate planks
- Roll out, cut and install the laminate flooring underlayment
- Lay out the planks and engage the locking system to install
- Measure, mark and cut planks
- Apply and clean up glue if needed
- Apply silicone sealant, especially in areas where moisture may be more likely (where sinks, toilets, bath tubs, refrigerators and washing machines will sit; in front of entrances from outside; etc.)
Take care of and maintain your beautiful laminate floor!
With a little simple carpentry work under your belt, and a scroll or hand saw in their tool box, most advanced beginners also can do the following:
- Make subfloor corrections (leveling out the subfloor with a leveling compound)
- Under-cut a door casing (see “How to Install Laminate Flooring Under a Door Jamb“)
- Build a laminate flooring “island” with proper expansion gaps and transition moldings (for heavy objects)
And one last tip for any beginner: Practice installing laminate flooring under a door jamb on a closet door where, if the outcome isn’t quite as perfect as you’d like, only you will notice!
At this level you will need to have worked with wood and have a certain level of comfort with it. You’ll need to have handled an oscillating blade tool and a pneumatic nail gun. You should be able to do the following tasks with relative ease:
- Install laminate flooring in a hallway
- Do trim and detail work
- Compromise the locking system on a laminate plank for special installations
- Approach a stone fireplace hearth, scribing and cutting around an uneven vertical obstruction
- Box steps (on the higher end of the Intermediate level)
At this level you should be either a near-professional or outright professional. People at this level have built or remodeled rooms using their carpentry skills and experience. They should be able to do such tasks as:
- Install sophisticated stair components (shadow box or waterfall effects, spindles)
- Replace damaged laminate-flooring planks
- Perform advanced humidity testing on concrete subfloors with electronic moisture meters
Know your laminate flooring installation limitations
Laminate flooring is a beautiful and versatile flooring system that you can install yourself. Or, if you don’t feel you have the skills, you can have a professional do it for you.
If you decide to install your laminate floors yourself, we recommend that, no matter what level you are, always work safely; practice common sense; read and understand the installation instructions before you begin; give yourself adequate time; and never attempt more than you feel comfortable doing. Then be extremely proud of your accomplishment when you step back to enjoy the beautiful laminate floor you’ve just installed!
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