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Can I nail laminate flooring down to the subfloor?

Since laminate flooring looks so much like hardwood flooring, you may wonder if the installation process is to nail laminate flooring down to the subfloor. Since laminate flooring is a floating floor, it is not meant to be attached to the subfloor by nails or glue.  The floor needs to be able to expand and contract with temperature changes and therefore must freely lay on the underlayment or subfloor.  Nailing the laminate flooring down would also leave marks on the flooring that would be very unappealing to the eyes.

Why You Shouldn’t Nail 

Nailing laminate planks down will cause damage that will not only make the floor useless, but also void your warranty. The proper way to install laminate flooring is to use the tongue and groove locking system to click planks together, creating a smooth and seamless floating surface.

Laminate flooring installs with a click and lock system.

How To Float Laminate Flooring

Remember to decide what underlayment is right for your project – the underlayment is what will allow your flooring to float. The right underlayment is key to a successful installation. Laminate flooring is meant to float, and the right underlayment will give it stability and strength.

How to choose laminate flooring underlayment - can i nail laminate flooring

Do you have any questions we can answer? Please post them in a comments area below this article. We will be happy to help.

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  1. Avatar

    My client is wanting me to install an engineered laminated wood floor in a restaurant. The surface is quite big and they don’t want any kind of baseboard on the walls. Also, we have a terrazzo bar right at the center that has a brass strip separating the laminate floor and the terrazzo. We are doing a gap between the laminate floor and the brass strip as small as possible. Is this a cocktail for a disaster or am I being paranoid? Thanks!

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Erik, thanks for the question. Are you installing laminate or engineered hardwood? I am not sure what you are referring to as an engineered laminate. Regardless, if you are doing a floating floor, you will need a gap around the edges. Unfortunately, a baseboard or some type of molding will be necessary unless they want the gaps to be seen. I would recommend them to look into an SPC or WPC vinyl in this situation. Also, the possibility of gluing it down if the space is very large. Any type of moisture or water can affect a laminate floor. A vinyl will be spill proof. Feel free to give us a call if you have more question: 800-520-0961

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    Michael Mitchell

    I have seen videos installing laminate flooring on a wall with glue and nails , why is this ok for wall and not for a floor

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Michael, great question! A laminate on the floor needs the ability to float and move as one piece together. To put it on the wall, you need to secure it in some way. Since it will not experience daily usage of being walked on and typically it will be a small area, it will have less potential for any issues at the joints and large movements. It may expand and contract slightly, but with it being secure, should stay put.

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    Our laminate floors have gaps all over and I am assuming in the winter time they shrink causing the gaps to occur? Help…it is annoying and it happens all over our flooring.

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Mickie, thanks for the question. Yes, gaps can happen when temperatures fluctuate. I’m thinking the biggest cause for this is the dryness in the air – if you’re having your heat on consistently. If you’re finding this all over, you may want to consider getting a humidifier to add moisture back into the air. Your floors should expand back with the change.

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    My sink filter froze and busted while I was away ( the water leaked for about a day), the floor laminates were wet but they look dry now but popping up, I was thinking of nailing them with very thin nails ( I tested them and look invisible), is there any problem with that? Thank you.


    • Alana Kane

      Hi Nolan, thanks for your question. Since laminate is a floating floor, we do not recommend nailing the planks down. Unfortunately when there is water damage, the only way to truly fix the issue is to install new planks. If you have any other questions, please let us know!

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    I had friends lay my laminate flooring and some of the corners are popping up. Can I nail random planks. If so what type of nail?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Valerie, sorry to hear your corners are popping up! It would not be wise to glue these. The best thing would be to figure out the root cause of the problem. It seems it could be the expansion gap, humidity or lack thereof. Once you figure out the problem, you can attempt to fix it depending on what it requires.

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    Can I use finish nails on laminant steps

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    My laminate floor was installed 2 years ago, and it is now popping up. We had another installer come and take a look at it and he said it was not installed properly. There was NO gap left at the walls for the floor to move.
    Lumber Liquidators won’t help us and we can’t afford another $4,000 for a new floor. We are thinking of nailing it down where it is popping up. We are both over 65 and can’t afford a proper repair.

    • Tyler

      Hey Maria, I apologize that you have had this experience. In this case the best choice would be to remove the base molding and to trim the floor back so it can expand properly. This is going to be the best option for you. Thank you for reaching out.

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