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Laminate Flooring Installation: Frequently Asked Questions

Laminate Flooring Installation: Frequently Asked Questions

Laminate flooring installation is a great project for DIY homeowners! But don’t fret if you find yourself having questions, it’s only natural! Here’s a list of 10 frequently asked questions right from our customers.

1. Can laminate flooring be installed on steps?

Yes, laminate floor can be installed on steps. The planks should be glued with regular wood glue with no underlayment. The moldings and transitions need to be nailed down. Here’s more information about installing on steps.

Installing Laminate Flooring on Stairs

2. Can laminate flooring be installed in bathrooms and/or laundry rooms?

Yes, however you have to follow “wet area” installation rules. You need to seal the floor on the perimeter of the room and add a bead of glue to the tongue on the planks to be used in the areas subject to have spills. You should be aware that many warranties that come with laminate flooring do not include areas with a high moisture content. Before installing, be sure to check if your flooring brand is allowed to be installed in wet areas.


3. Can laminate flooring be installed in basements?

Yes, laminate flooring can be installed in basements. Make sure your underlayment has a vapor barrier to keep moisture from coming up through the cement subfloor. This excess moisture can ruin your lamiante flooring. A good underlayment for this type of installation is Visqueen Vapor Barrier. Do not install on any floor with a drain and make sure you subfloor is level.

Shep Greene - QS Burlap Hickory 2

4. Can laminate flooring be installed over carpet?

Laminate flooring cannot be installed over carpet. Laminate flooring is a floating floor system- meaning it is designed to cover any floor surface without being fixed to it. This makes it possible to cover almost anything- from linoleum to vinyl, ceramic to hardwood, and of course concrete and plywood sub-floors. Carpet is the only exception. While it is possible to install laminate over industrial carpet, any other type must be removed along with the padding underneath. Installing over plush carpet types creates too much flexibility under the laminate flooring, which can cause the locking system to break due to too much padding.

5. How much space should be left for expansion?

The  most important rule  for laminate flooring installation is to leave an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room and around any stationery objects such as pipes, columns, built in cabinets, etc. For a standard room you need to leave at least ¼” space for floor expansion. For bigger rooms, you need bigger expansion gaps. Ignoring this important rule may cause the floor to buckle.
Leave at least 0.25" expansion gap

Leave at least 0.25″ expansion gap

6. Can laminate flooring be installed over heated floors?

Absolutely. Floors with radiant heat are no problem- you just want to be sure that the temperature is below 80°F at all times. Turn the heat down to 60°F one week before installation, so that the floor can properly acclimate to the room temperature. As with installing over concrete, a vapor barrier is required underneath your foam underlayment, to protect against humidity.

7. Can laminate flooring be installed over carpet underlayment?

No, you have to remove it. Carpet underlayment is too thick. The most laminate flooring underlayment is only 3mm thick (1/8”). If you reuse your thick carpet padding, your floor will be too bouncy and it may damage locking system. Use our tutorials and get yourself familiar with the installation of the laminate underlayment.

8. What’s the best tool to use to cut laminate flooring?

Any type of saw with a medium-coarse blade works fine for cutting laminate, however the best option is to use a table saw for all of your straight cuts, and a jigsaw where you need to cut around doorjambs and other obstacles. When cutting the laminate, it is very important that the teeth of the blade are cutting into the decorative surface of the laminate- this way all chipping takes place on the back side. Laminate flooring is very DIY friendly, and to install it you need just few basic tools. A friend will be helpful too.

9. What is underlayment and is it necessary?

The foam underlayment is essential to the bow and flex of the laminate. Being a wood product, it will expand and contract with the climate of the room- and the foam allows it to do this without any friction between the laminate and the floor underneath it. For installation over concrete, you must first put down a plastic vapor barrier before laying the foam.

10. How long should the floor acclimate prior to installation?

The recommended time for acclimation is 24 hours. In colder months, you will want to extend this time to 36-48 hours. Be sure that while this process is taking place, you have the room temperature set above 65°F with a relative humidity of 75%.
Acclimate your flooring by cross stacking the boxes

Do you have additional questions we can answer? Head over to our Bob & Betsy series to find more frequently asked questions or you can post them below this article and we will be happy to help you!

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*This post was updated from 2010 to give you a better reading experience!

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Bestlaminate’s blog is dedicated to you by making the home improvement process easier and more affordable. Bestlaminate comes to the floor with you by providing DIY installation instructions which guide you step by step, saving you time and money. Bestlaminate’s team writes for you and provides details in wide variety of home improvement projects. We hope to make your home remodeling and maintaining a more positive experience.


  1. I have a question and it may be simple, but I am genuinely concerned.

    I have my living room and kitchen together is 45 feet wide and 30 feet long going into the foyer and hallway to multiple doorways to bedrooms. I will be laying Allen-Roth Laminate flooring and the box states that every 40 feet I need to place an expansion joint. I have discussed this with others who tell me the expansion areas will be the surrounding walls, cabinets and doorway, but I have an installer who tells me I need to break it and place an expansion joint/transition piece in 2 different areas. A break at the kitchen entry, and another at the hallway entrance. I really prefer not to do it, but what is the correct way?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Randy! Thanks for the question. In any room that is larger than 30 ft in width (we usually recommend 30 ft), a transitional molding should be placed. You mention cabinets, so here is what you need to weigh – if at any point in the room the laminate row is 30 ft or more in width or length, a transition needs to be placed. If a transition piece is not added, the stability and strength of the laminate can be put in jeopardy. Since the installation is a floating floor, there is more of a chance of buckling due to the pressure put on a large area of flooring. We would probably have to agree with your installer to add the transition pieces at the doorways.

      Also, keep in mind that your flooring warranty will not cover an installation that goes against the instructions. If you experience buckling, it is likely that the company will not approve your claim due to the transitions not being placed. Hope that helps! Let us know if you have any other questions.

  2. Because of the cost I dont want to use expensive fibre board underlay. Would it help deaden sound to cover an old T and G wood floor with sheets of cardboard before laying foam underlay and laminate flooring?

    • Hi Brian, thank you for your question. There are many underlayments with superior sound dampening such as Floor Muffler. You can try the cardboard, but I am unsure of whether or not it will give that much sound dampening. I hope this helps. Good luck! – Brittany

  3. should cement always be used on floors that had carpet before placing laminate

    • Hi Jerry thanks for your question. When laying laminate down it can go over cement you just have to be sure to use an underlayment that has the vapor barrier in it as well. I hope this helps. – Brittany

  4. I am going to install laminate flooring in a ballroom 50′ x 100′. currently there is parkay wood tiles down now. Question : can I go over existing floor down now or do I need to pull up parkay wood ? I ve been told yes and no . the parkay flooring is glued down over concrete

    • Hi Carlos thank you for your question. Yes you can absolutely go over the Parkay wood tiles with laminate, just remember to put the underlayment down before you lay the laminate. Good Luck! – Brittany

  5. The laminate we have is not cooperating, hard to snap together gaps, tapping and ruining pieces, are they all this hard, or do I have a crappy product. I’m using clarion and it is kind of inexpensive, the tongue and groove is a fiber or cardboard type material

    • Kelly, I am sorry to hear about your problems. Clarion floors maybe are cheap but we don’t have complains about the quality of it. This floor is designed to click together. Tapping is wrong method of installation and maybe because you have all the problems. Use Clarions steps-by-step installation instruction as a refference or you can also watch video how to. Here is installation link: Good luck. If you have additional questions please call us at 1-800-520-0961

  6. Fred

    Kirk, in your case as long as you have scraped most of the old glue off of the subfloor and smoothed it out then you will be fine. If there are any high or low spots that are more than 1/8″ then you will need to fill in those areas with a self-leveling floor patching compound. You can purchase the floor leveling compound from your local hardware store. After your floor is fully prepped and smoothed as much as possible then go ahead and lay down the moisture barrier and your underlayment. Good luck with your install. Feel free to ask any other questions that you may have.

  7. What is the best way to install laminate flooring to an ‘L’ shaped passage

    Should the strips be all length-wise to the long leg and continue in the same direction for the short leg


    Should they meet on the corner with a bevel. ie all the boards will be lengthwise

    • Fred

      Without seeing a picture of what you are installing I would recommend that you continue to run the flooring in the same direction through the entire “L” shaped passage. I would not recommend to stop the floor so they meet in the corner at a bevel. If you just continue laying the floor all in the same direction it will be a correct installation and you will get many years of use out of your laminate floor.

  8. Great Tips. Thanks!

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