Drop and Lock Laminate Flooring Installation

Always prepare your subfloor properly before beginning! Install underlayment prior to laying down the flooring.

1. Line up the flooring along the wall, taking planks from several boxes to get the look and pattern you desire. This is especially important if your flooring has a variety of texture and color variation.

2. Begin installing the first plank in the corner of the room. Lay the plank in the corner, groove side facing the open room, and use spacers to create the expansion gap (1/4″ to 1/2″). Make sure the plank is snug against the spacers.

3. Take the second plank and line it up with the end of the laminate.

4. Angle the plank at a 45 degree angle and lock the planks in, end-to-end.

5. Add 1 to 2 more planks on the first row following these instructions, depending on how long your planks are. For drop and lock installation, we recommend working in 3-4 plank sections and beginning a second row to keep the strength of the joints.

6. To create the staggered look and protect the joints, you’ll need to cut your first plank. The plank will be 1/2 to 3/4 length of the board, keeping in mind the joints should be staggered at least 6″. Mark the plank after measuring it next to the joint.

7. Using the measurement taken, cut the plank using a saw with the decorative side up in a separate room from your installation. We recommend using a jigsaw or table saw, but you can also use a laminate specific cutter. Save both pieces of the plank, as you will use the other section during the installation. Saw instructions: for a jigsaw, use a laminate flooring blade, which has a medium tooth, downstroke blade. For a table saw, use a medium tooth carbide blade with upside down teeth.

8. Take the plank end that was the measurement needed and begin the second row.

9. Angling the plank at a 45 degree angle, put the tongue end into the groove. Move the plank side to side in the groove to get a solid fit and then drop it to the ground. You may need to add some force to make a flat fit. Add your spacers to the end of the plank.

10. Add the next full laminate plank to the row.

11. Following step 9, fit the tongue into the groove and line up the ends. Drop the plank into the end joint and add some pressure to create a flat surface.

12. Return back to the first row and add another full plank following the prior steps.

13. Continue working in this pattern and add another plank to the second row.

14. Begin the third row with a full plank.

15. Once your installation reaches the end of the first row, you will notice the planks will normally not fit perfectly to the room size. Measure the length of the plank needed to finish the room, factoring in the expansion gap, and create a cut guide.

16. Cut the plank using the directions in step 7.

17. Angle the piece to fit snug into the space left and drop it into the locking system.

18. Continue installing, using the end pieces to begin your staggered rows.

Have questions? Need a little bit of extra help? We’re here for you. Start a chat with one of our flooring experts in the box on this page and get a fast answer to your laminate flooring installation questions.

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