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Where to Start: Beginning a Laminate Flooring Installation

Dear Bob and Betsy,
I have my laminate and it’s acclimatizing now but I’m getting nervous about beginning a laminate flooring installation. I’ve never done this before and I want to make sure I start it right. Any tips to help?
-Sian L.

Dear Sian,

Many people can relate to your nervousness to start a laminate flooring installation. The beginning of any big project is critical. You want to start it on the right note so everything runs smoothly.

You’re in luck! A laminate flooring installation doesn’t require years of on-the-job training and experience. It’s ideal for DIYers.

To help you enjoy the process and begin in the best way, here are a few tips.

Gather Your Tools

One of the best ways you can ensure having an easy installation experience is to have all of your tools ready.

There are a few tools you’ll want to gather before beginning. For a full list of tools needed for a laminate flooring installation, click the link and check out our answer to Brian’s question earlier this year.

Decide on Your Direction or Pattern

Which direction are you planning to lay your laminate flooring? Decide this before you cut any pieces or start measuring. Give yourself a small square to work with and set down a few planks to decide on the right direction for your home. Don’t’ forget to stagger your planks. This will give a more natural look.

Will you add a pattern, such as chevron or scattered colored planks? This requires a little extra planning on your part. Lay down your planks to gauge how you will install your floors. This will also help you determine where you need to make cuts.

While doing this, try to make sure you will end up with a row that is at least 3 feet wide. This will save you from cutting and make it easier to finish up the room when you’re close to completion.

Measure it Out

With your direction or pattern in mind, start measuring where you’ll need to make cuts. Remember, you will need to leave room for an expansion gap. This should be a quarter inch. Placing spacers can help you keep the gap consistent around the room.

Read All of the Manufacturer Directions

Reading the directions and getting a feel for the installation will be very beneficial before starting. Following the instructions is important to maintaining the warranty and avoiding damage. If you’re confused at the directions, try to search for a video tutorial online or call one of our flooring experts for some help.

Start Small

Don’t overwhelm yourself with making all of your necessary cuts right away. Start small and gradually make cuts as you go. You’ll soon get the hang of it and find yourself getting into a steady rhythm.

Any other questions? We’re here to help! Contact our flooring experts by phone, chat or email anytime for a quick response.

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  1. Hi Tina, thanks for reaching out. Are you able to reach out to the company that originally installed your flooring? Generally speaking, buckling is caused by improper installation or moisture damage. If you have not had any moisture issues, you should speak with the installer about how they installed the flooring. We suspect that the floor was not properly acclimated prior to installation, or there was no expansion gap left around the perimeter of the room. All floating floors expand and contract with temperature changes, so if the expansion gap is too small, the flooring will buckle. Here is an article about repairing buckling flooring for your reference, please let us know if there is anything else we can help with!

  2. The guy that layed my laminate floor I came and he was gone I noticed it buckled up by my closet door in the middle of the room I called the company and the guy came out took a picture and the installer would be back to fix it I waited and now it’s probably be a 1 1/2 years now was wonder how to do fix it I have lots of laminate left over not sure if I should try and someone to fix it or if I could do it.

  3. Hi Glenda Jo! Thanks for the comment. You cannot install over carpet, unless it is an industrial, flat carpet. Normal residential carpet has too much cushion for the laminate to float over and will not be a sturdy enough base. Here’s a post that dives a little deeper into your question:

  4. can you lay laminated floor over carpet ?

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