How to Install Laminate Flooring

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON: We’re in Columbus, Ohio.  It’s almost smack dab in the center of the state and aside from being the capital, it is also the home to the Ohio State Buckeyes.  We are headed to the home of Nicki and Glen Henry to help them out with their dining room. 

GLEN HENRY: Hi Ron.  Welcome to Columbus, Ohio.

RON HAZELTON: Hey, Glen, how are you?  Good to meet you.  Nicki, how are you?

NICKI HENRY: Hi, fine, this is Alex.

RON HAZELTON: Hi, you must be Alex huh, give me five Alex, all right.  And Danielle, how are you?  Okay guys let’s go inside; show me what you got here.

NICKI HENRY: Ron, this is the carpet that we wanted to replace with laminate flooring.

RON HAZELTON: You say laminate flooring, why laminate flooring here?

NICKI HENRY: Well we’ve been looking around and we wanted something that was very durable.

GLEN HENRY: Something easy to clean, low-maintenance.

RON HAZELTON: You got a door right here, that goes outside, so you have a dog and?

GLEN HENRY: A lot of traffic through here.

RON HAZELTON: You got a dog?

GLEN HENRY: He comes in and we are constantly cleaning the carpet here.

RON HAZELTON: And of course the chairs dragging back and forth across it.  Okay, I can see that.  So, over on this side then we are going to have your dining room.

NICKI HENRY: Uh-huh.

GLEN HENRY: Right.

RON HAZELTON: And over here your living room, so if I were a line, then over here we are going to have carpet and over here we are going to have laminated floor.

NICKI HENRY: Yeah that’s correct.

RON HAZELTON: I’m too wide a line though to do much good.  So we’ll lay down a piece of masking tape and strike a chalk line.  Okay, Nicki, we are going to cut into your carpet, oh boy, this is probably the only time you’ll ever do this.  So this is a straight edge here, so lay this down right on top of that line. This is a linoleum or carpet knife, very, very sharp blade here; it’s got a blade on both sides, so be careful you don’t cut yourself.  Oh, wait a second, I think we are doing this in the wrong place. Just kidding you.

NICKI HENRY: (Laughs)

RON HAZELTON: You want to pull the carpet now toward the center of the room as you pull it up.  Go ahead, over toward this cut.  To remove the carpet, we first pull it off the tack strips that runs around the edge of the room.  A second cut we’ve made down the center divides the carpet into two smaller sections making it easier to handle.  Do one half at a time; there you go, bring this on back.  Next, we roll up the pad and finally, pry loose the tack strip.  Be real careful on these because the tacks are very sharp.  This is called trim track.  We are going to install this right along the edge of this cut carpet right here and it is going to make the transition from the laminate floor to the carpet.  I’ve got a little demonstration over here to show you how this actually works.  On this side of the trim track will be our laminate flooring.  On this side, right here, will be the carpet and then covering the two and concealing the joint will be this piece of molding and we’ll just place it in positioning right there and give it a tap and it’ll settle down on that tab right there.  To attach the transition strip to the concrete floor, we drill holes with a carbide tipped masonry bit.  Sometimes when you are drilling into concrete like this, you’ll get the hole actually filled with dust so one way to clear that is to take a can of compressed air or an air hose for that matter and just blow the dust out.  The next step is to insert plastic anchors into the holes and drive them flush to the floor.  Finally, we attach the transition strip using screws.  Now this is called laminated floor underlayment.  It actually does three things; it acts as a moisture barrier, the plastic right here, very important on a concrete slab, keeps the water from coming through.

GLEN HENRY: Right, right.

RON HAZELTON: It also because of these pellets in the inside here cushions your footstep on here so the floor is quieter and it will correct minor surface imperfections.

NICKI HENRY: Okay.

RON HAZELTON: It comes in a four-foot roll, I’ve got one laid out here, just unroll this Glen, if you will.

GLEN HENRY: Okay.

RON HAZELTON: And Nicki, when he gets it down here to the end of the room, just cut it off, give us about an extra foot going over onto the carpet.

NICKI HENRY: Okay.

RON HAZELTON: We roll out a second strip alongside the first making sure the edges are flush with each other, but not overlapping.  Duct tape holds the seams securely in place.  Next, I saw off the bottom of the door casing using a piece of flooring as a thickness gauge. Now we temporarily lay down three rows of flooring without glue as a test fit. Down, down. Crosscuts on laminate flooring are best made with a sliding power mider box. To reduce chipping we make a light scoring cut as we pull the blade out and push the blade downward and forward as we cut all the way through.  Now here’s a little tip that’ll help while we are putting this together without glue.  To keep these boards tight, just use a piece of duct tape here to hold everything in place until we get the glue on.  Right down here there is a gap that goes from almost nothing here down to almost 5/8 of an inch down here which means that this end wall is, is got a bow in it.  So in order to get a good fit or the proper fit on this on end board right here, I am going to have to cut it to match this curve in the wall.  And to help me do that, I have created this little template, just a block of material, I bored a hole right here and all I am going to do is slide it down the wall, it’ll transfer that curve in the wall to this pencil line and then we’ll cut it off.  Ah, nice, see it’s in contact with the wall even though the wall is crooked.  In order to give the floor room to expand and contract, we’ll leave a quarter inch gap between the edge of the laminate and the wall.  These wedge shaped spacers can be paired up to give us the exact thickness we need.  We’ll drop them right down behind the edge of the flooring like that.  Let’s do several of these along the length of this.  Put a little masking tape on these spacers to hold them in place there.  Now in a second, we are going to take all of this apart and we’ll glue it together.  Now, you put glue both on the tongue and in the groove, giving it a nice even bead of glue like that.  And you’ll see that the glue is squeezing out all the way down, that’s good.  I want a nice even bead.  And here’s something you can do to be sure that both boards are tightly together.  Take your finger and draw it across the glue bead like that. 

NICKI HENRY: Oh, okay.

RON HAZELTON: You should see no gap here.  If you do, you need to push these together a little bit more.  Professional installers say the first three rows of planks are the most important in the floor.  They’ll form the foundation for the rest of the job.  Any mistakes here will be magnified as we work our way across the room, so we take special care to be sure these joints are tight.  Once the first three rows are glued, Nicki and Glen use a special flooring band clamp to apply pressure to the joints and hold them securely until the glue dries.  In about an hour, the glue is dry in the first three planks and we begin to lay the rest of the floor.  Now the whole family can jump in.  Dried glue is easily removed from the surface using a putty knife and a damp rag.  Finally quarteron molding is installed at the base of the wall to conceal the edges of the flooring.  The transition strip is tapped into place.  And the transformation from carpet to laminated floor is complete.  Wow, you know I really like the way that this divides up the two rooms now.  This feels like one room and that’s another, but there’s no wall there.  Are you guys happy?

GLEN HENRY: It looks great.

Install Low-maintenance and Durable Laminate Flooring in the Dining Room to Eliminate Carpet from a High-wear Area

Replace high-maintenance dining room carpet with durable easy-to-clean laminate flooring that resists the wear of foot traffic from an exterior door, the dog, and dining table chairs dragging back and forth across it. The laminate floor installs easily on the concrete subfloor and, in this home, visually divides one large area into two rooms with separate functions.

Mark the Dining Room Boundary for the Laminate Flooring
Step 1

Mark the Dining Room Boundary for the Laminate Flooring

Divide the room at the desired boundary between carpet and laminate flooring with a strip of masking tape and a chalk-line struck on top. Lay a straight-edge along the chalk line and cut the carpet with a linoleum/carpet cutter.

Remove the Carpet and Pad to Prepare for the Laminate Flooring
Step 2

Remove the Carpet and Pad to Prepare for the Laminate Flooring

Lift the carpet off the tack strip at the room's perimeter. Roll up the carpet pad beneath and pry the tack strip off the subflooring. The exposed concrete subfloor will be covered with a special underlayment for laminate flooring.

Install Trim Tack Strip between the Carpet and Laminate Flooring
Step 3

Install Trim Tack Strip between the Carpet and Laminate Flooring

Pre-Drill holes in the subfloor with a carbide-tipped masonry bit to install a trim tack strip to join/transition between carpet and laminate flooring. Clear dust from holes with compressed air and tap in plastic anchors before attaching with screws.

Join Panels of Laminated Flooring Underlayment As a Moisture Barrier
Step 4

Join Panels of Laminated Flooring Underlayment As a Moisture Barrier

Install laminated flooring underlayment as a moisture barrier, cushioning layer, and correction for minor surface imperfections in the concrete subfloor. Unroll and cut pieces to length, butting the edges (rather than overlapping), and taping the joints with duct tape.

Trim Door Casing to Fit Laminate Flooring beneath the Wood
Step 5

Trim Door Casing to Fit Laminate Flooring beneath the Wood

Use a Japanese side saw to saw off the bottom of the door casing to enable fitting the laminate flooring between the wooden trim and the concrete subfloor. Use piece of laminate flooring as a thickness gauge.

Cut Laminate Flooring with a Sliding Power Miter Box
Step 6

Cut Laminate Flooring with a Sliding Power Miter Box

Cut several rows of laminate flooring with a sliding power miter box. Score the top, pulling the blade towards you and cut through while pushing the blade away. Making cross cuts in this way helps reduce chipping.

Position and Fit Laminate Flooring to Wall Imperfections
Step 7

Position and Fit Laminate Flooring to Wall Imperfections

Secure joints temporarily with duct tape and use a template to locate bowed and crooked walls. Cut to correct. Position with a 1/4 inch expansion gap between the laminate flooring and baseboard with special wedge-shaped spacers and test fit.

Disassemble Test Pieces of Laminate Flooring and Reinstall Permanently
Step 8

Disassemble Test Pieces of Laminate Flooring and Reinstall Permanently

Disassemble the test laminate flooring. Apply glue to the tongue and the groove. Join and confirm that tongue and groove are properly seated. Use flooring band-clamps to hold joints securely until the glue dries in an hour.

Remove Dried Glue from Laminated Flooring Joints
Step 9

Remove Dried Glue from Laminated Flooring Joints

Scrape dried glue gently from the laminated flooring joints, running a plastic putty knife across the seams to avoid scratching. Follow up with a damp rag to lift any remaining dust and residue.

Seal Edges of Laminate Flooring with Appropriate Trim
Step 10

Seal Edges of Laminate Flooring with Appropriate Trim

Install quarter-round molding over the laminate flooring at the wall. Secure it with a pin nailer. Finish the joint between the laminate flooring and the remaining carpet by tapping the decorative transition strip into place on the base trim tack.