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If the First Row of Flooring is Not Straight Can I Continue a Laminate Flooring Installation?

Dear Bob and Betsy,
I just got done installing the first row of my new floor. It is a little bit crooked but it doesn’t look too bad. Will it correct itself as I go? Can I continue a laminate flooring installation if the first row is not straight?
– Monica F.

Dear Monica,

Stop! Do not move forward with the installation until the first row is completely straight.

The first row sets the tone for the entire installation. If it’s crooked, your entire flooring will be crooked. This is the most important step in the installation process. Let me explain.

Why It’s Problematic

For laminate flooring to stay in place and seal completely (important when you consider how crucial it is that moisture stay out from under your flooring), the planks must be completely straight. If they’re not tightly sealed, your flooring will not be as durable and will not last you as long as it should.

The flooring will not and cannot correct itself as you go. Instead, the problem will compound with the more planks you install. When you reach the end, you could have an unsuccessful installation with gaps in the planks.

Correcting the Problem

Step 11Continue Installing Standard Flooring Underlayment

With your first row looking a little bit slanted, it’s a good idea to pull up each plank and diagnose the problem. Most of the time, there will be residue between the grooves causing the planks to become misaligned. Other times it’ll be an easy shift and fix to tighten up the seal.

If you’re still unsure of why your flooring is crooked even after you pull up the first row, call our office. Our team will try to walk you through the installation over the phone to help you find the problem.

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  1. Hi Kimberley, thanks for the question. Is the slanted wall long ways or to the short pieces of the flooring? The edges could have been cut to prepare for the angle, so that the flooring stayed straight, but the plank was cut in consideration with the slant like this video: Adding a transition will give the floors a straight starting point. I hope this helps!

  2. I have a house that was built in 1908 in 1985 they added the addition. The walls are not even. the walls shift on an angle about two inches off. When the contractor started to lay the floor in the first part of the house and down an angled hallway everything looks correct but as he moves into the kitchen which is a galley Style. The cabinets start out at 89 in apart and then at the end they are 87 inch apart . The floor still looks even but as he lays the floor to go left into the dining room the flooring starts to shift 4 inchesto the right. he says it’s because the walls are off in the diningroom because the addition is more of an angle compared to the front of the house ( the flooring is a continuance right from the front door through the kitchen and into the dining-room). The contractor says that the floor is plum but because the walls are off the floors are going to be angled.
    I’m perplexed by this because it seems like maybe the first line a flooring that he laid in the beginning is off until when he came to the kitchen and dining room that’s why and he says absolutely not it is the walls that are off that are causing the floors to angle to the right. What do we do?? The contractor suggest pulling up the dining room floor into the end of the kitchen and cutting that flooring at an angle so we will see a transition piece from the kitchen into the dining room.

  3. Hi Ann, thanks for your question. You could do a glue down vinyl here. Any floating floor will need a level subfloor.

  4. Hello, I have an add on room connected to my kitchen. The floor is not straight. I currently have carpet. It hides the flaws. What would be the best thing to use to cover floor?

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