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Drop & Lock Laminate Flooring Installation Tips and Common Problems



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Today we're going to be talking about an installation method of laminate flooring called Drop And

Lock.

Now, as you probably know, there are different ways to install laminate flooring. Every manufacturer

has their own license for a lock system or a click system so ALWAYS BE SURE TO READ THE

INSERT THAT COMES IN THE BOX with the flooring you purchased before attempting to install

any flooring.

The one that we're going to talk about today is Drop & Lock. The two most popular install

methods, or click methods, are "Drop and Lock" and "Angle Angle". We've already done a video

on Angle Angle installation. Today we're going to be demonstrating the Drop & Lock installation.

So let's get started with one of our drop and lock products.

The first thing you'll want to do is put your spacers all along the wall every 18 inches

to two feet or so, and down your side walls as well. On a Drop and Lock flooring installation,

just as with an Angle Angle, you have two sides to your boards. You have a groove side,

which is kind of a lowered lip, and then you have a tongue side.

You install this flooring with the tongue side against your wall, and your groove side

out into your field, out into your install area. You're going to be up against your spacers

on the side wall, and your spacers on your back wall.

There are two common mistakes people often make when installing Drop & Lock flooring,

but they're easy to correct, and then the rest of your install job should be a breeze.

Let's look at the two common mistakes real quickly. The first - this is your starting

wall. This is the groove side of the board. This needs to be out into your field, out

into your room, and the tongue side needs to be up against your starting wall. Often

people reverse that. They put the groove against the wall, and the tongue into the field. Makes

everything backwards, very difficult to install, but very common mistake and very easy to fix,

because all you do is you turn it around. But make sure that lower lip, that groove

side that's out, is facing into your field, and then this tongue side is facing towards

the wall. That's the first common mistake people make.

Okay, so we have our first board installed, laying up against, or sitting up against,

the spacers on both sides. To continue out and finish our first row, all we do is we

line up the end joints, and simply place the second board over top of the first, line up

the end joints, make sure everything is tight against the spacers, and continue all the

way to the end of the first row.

Now these pieces are not completely locked together. That's one of the tricks that most

people don't know about the Drop & Lock system. When you put the end joints together, this

seam is not fully installed until you do your next row and this joint is covered. So it

takes the next row to fully engage and fully lock in the row behind it.

So we have our first row done all the way to the end of our wall, and always remember

that, with Drop & Lock flooring, just like with Angle Angle, whatever cuts off over here

usually is a good sized piece (and you need to measure it. It needs to be at least eight

inches long) is usually a good sized piece to come over and start your second row with,

because, with Drop & Lock, just like with Angle Angle, you will want your end joints,

or your end seams, to be a minimum of eight inches apart. So you need to make sure that

that first piece in the second row has a board length that will give you at least an eight

inch stagger between rows.

So, to start the second row, the first piece of the second row goes in at a slight angle.

You'll see that it can slide very easily. Slide it all the way down to the end, up against

a spacer, and then rock it into place. If necessary, you can tap the face with the palm

of your hand. Now the second piece in the second row, you start with the side seam,

the long seam. It, too, will slide at a slight angle. You do need to be careful to hold this

seam, this joint, together, because it's not engaged yet. You slide this in all the way

over to the first piece, to where it's basically laying right on top of the end joints, and

then you push that down into place. Again, if necessary, palm of your hand across the

board.

Now this is what locks in, like we said before, the seam in the first row. So just as this

wasn't locked in until the second row came in, this joint is not locked, fully locked

together, until the third row comes in. So you continue that all the way down.

The second common mistake people make when trying to install Drop & Lock flooring is

that - you install the long, side seam first. You angle it in, you slide it, you get it

over top of the other end seam, and then you push it down. The common mistake here is that

people try to put in this end joint first, and they try to angle this in, slide it back,

and then somehow rock the piece on the long side. Can't be done. Causes problems. Causes

boards to break. Causes locking mechanisms to break. Makes people want to use a tapping

block, or a rubber mallot, on the side seams. Causes this row to come apart, all kinds of

problems when you try to do the end joint first. And the reason people do that is because

that's the common method on Angle Angle installation. On Drop and Lock installation, you must know,

and must remember, you must install the long, side seam first. Bring it over, and drop it

on top for the end seam. Two common mistakes. Very easy to fix.

On your third row, just as we've said, your next row has to come in to lock down your

side seams, so when you angle in the long side seam, all the way down to the spacer,

pull back a little with your fingertips, rock it down. It will fold. Palm of your hand if

necessary, and you have a lock.

As you go into your field, and as you go into your install job, the more rows you add, the

more weight the floor will have, and so if there is a slight bow - you can see how this

piece is slightly, maybe an eighth of an inch off of the surface - as you add weight, that

will come down. That is perfectly natural. There is no defect in the board, or anything

like that. The weight of the flooring will hold the floring down.

Now, on your last row (because, as I've said, the side seams don't lock together until you

get the next row in) on the last row, what will lock in those side seams - there's two

things to consider. Number one is the weight of the entire floor. It's one, moving, floating

floor, so the weight will keep it down, and of course your trim pieces. Whatever trim

piece - if you've ended the last row at the end of the room, and there's a wall, and you

put a quarter round down, or there's a transition piece - you're going to carpet, or tile, that

transition piece will provide the locking for the side seams - I'm sorry, the end seams

- in your last row.

So that is how we install Drop and Lock flooring.