How to Install a Tongue and Groove Laminate Floor

Old wood floors wear out over time, and getting them back to their original condition can take a lot of time and effort. Instead of spending the time and money on rehabilitating the old floors, you should consider installing laminate floors. Laminate floors look like real wood, but are much easier to clean and maintain. Here is how to install a tongue and groove laminate floor.

Prepare Sub-Flooring

You have to make sure the sub-flooring is clean and free of all debris before you put down the laminate floor. Remove all the base molding to give you room to install the laminate flooring right up to the walls.

Install Vapor Barrier

Lay down a vapor barrier over the sub-floor. The barrier will prevent moisture from rising up through the sub-floor, which would impact the laminate floor and make it warp. The vapor barrier is especially important to have when installing the floor over a concrete slab.

You need to follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing the vapor barrier as not all barriers are installed the same way.

Preparing Door Jambs

If you want to have a nice even look around the door jambs without taking the jamb out, you'll need to create space to slide the laminate flooring under the jamb. Place a piece of laminate flooring against the door jamb and mark the spot with a pencil. Use a reciprocating saw to cut away the bottom of the door jamb.

Install Laminate Flooring

Start at the widest part of the room away from door openings. Set the first row of laminate flooring against the wall. Make sure the groove part of the laminate board is facing the wall.

Use a couple of pieces of wood about a half an inch thick between the first row of laminate flooring and the wall. This will create room for the laminate to expand and contract during moist and dry times during the year.

The groove side of the second row of laminate flooring is pushed into tongue side of the first row. Use a block of wood to place over the tongue side of the second row and gently tap the block with a hammer. The groove side should slide onto the tongue side and lock in place. Repeat this process until the entire floor is covered with laminate boards (you may have to trim the boards on the last row so they fit between the wall and the second last row of flooring).

Make sure that the joints where the boards meet are staggered on each row to prevent a seam from forming along the middle of the floor. Seams running along joints weaken the floor, and gives it too much of a uniform appearance.

Cut laminate lengths to size when filling door ways, and other smaller areas of the floor.

Re-install the base molding around the room (make sure to remove spacers before you install the base molding). For assistance, talk to a professional like Lockwoods Carpets.