Okay, so today we’re going to install laminate flooring, and I want to just get right to
it, give you some tips that you need to know. It is an easy installation, but you just have
to start out with the right direction and follow these tips. And please wait till the
last tip. I don’t see that in any videos that I see online, and I think it’s really
important for a sound installation. But first, let’s go over the tools. Very simple. You
don’t need a whole lot. Basically a scraper for prepping your subfloor. I like to use
a big bar to take off pack strips if you have carpet. This is a beating block basically
just to collect the laminate flooring together. A rubber mallet. And this is basically just
a glorified crowbar. It’s just made so that when you have your edging pieces in, you can
clip that laminate together. But these two tools are important to install laminate and
specifically for laminate. It’s also nice to have an oscillating tool. This is for cutting
door jams or cutting anything that you need to slide your laminate flooring underneath.
You can also just use a regular jam saw, but an oscillating tool will make it a lot more
efficient and easier. A standard circular saw. And I’d probably say the absolute most
important is knee pads. It could be very miserable if you try to do this without knee pads. As
I get older, I absolutely need them. So invest in some good knee pads. You won’t go wrong
with that. Okay, so tip #1: acclimate the product in
your home. Most of them need at least minimum two days in the space that you’ll actually
install them. Crisscross them like this. I have some just 1xs that are holding them up,
but you want the airflow and the humidity of your room to acclimate this. If you don’t,
you can end up with problems and a lot more shrinkage and possibly gaps in the corners
that you really don’t want. So acclimate it. The ideal temperature is between 60°
and 80°, and the humidity level between 35% and 60%.
Now, there are specifications for your subfloor humidity level. And really the only way to
really gauge that is with a moisture meter. We’ll show you how this works, but you’ll
basically use these prongs to inject in a wood surface, and it’ll give you a sensor
on that. You want to be under 14% of humidity on your subfloor. So if you’re doing a new
home or if you’ve done something where there’s a lot of moisture on a home, double-check
it before you go installing this laminate flooring.
We’re going to remove this carpet, and I would just suggest—if you start removing
carpet—just cut it up into manageable sizes. So if you’re a big, strong guy, maybe just
do the whole room. But if not, maybe cut it up into more manageable sizes. I’m just
going to go for about 6-foot or so. Just using a simple utility knife, and I’m just going
to score it down the length of the place. I guess keep in mind if you’re going to
be putting this out to the street for garbage men, you make it too big, they’ll probably
not going to pick it up. So make it manageable for them to get it into the truck.
As far as the foam, depending on how old this is, it might be a nightmare getting it up
or fairly easy. This actually doesn’t look too bad; it’s not all flaking apart. But
some of the old foam, if you might get it up in just 6-inch pieces all the way around.
Okay, so attach strips. Nothing fun about them, but that’s where a longer bar so you’re
not like leaning over and kneeling the whole time; makes it a little bit easier. So I just
like to use this big 36-inch bar. And just give it a little leverage to pry this up.
Okay, so for all these staples, you don’t necessarily have to pull them up by hand.
I usually just use a floor scraper and just wedge them out. You just want a nice, clean,
flat surface. If you want to painstakingly take out the staples, you can. But it’s
a lot easier just with a little force. By going in different directions, it’ll take
those staples out. So you’re going to want to cut this flush
because you want this whole subfloor to be on one surface. You don’t want to have this
step up here. So we’ll just use our oscillating tool to cut that out.
Okay, so what I like to do before I start sweeping everything up and get everything
prepped is to cut all the areas where I need to slide this floor underneath. So door casing,
any type of area that I need to slide my trim underneath. So what we have is our pad for
reference for height and then just a spare piece of our floor. We’ll just simply take
our oscillating tool and cut that out. So now we have a nice, clean look at the bottom
of your trim. So if you are concerned about your subfloor,
you can always use one of these meter. They’re pretty simple to use; they just have little,
sharp points that you want to inject into the wood to get the reading. So we’ll turn
this on. This subfloor is in a condo that I know is pretty safe, but we’ll just go
ahead and check it anyway. So we’re 7.41%. You want to be under 14%. Anything over 14%
you need to dry the area. We’ll just take a look at this. I spilled
some water here earlier. This would be something that wouldn’t be recommended to go over.
This is such a small area; it’s not going to be a big deal, and it’ll dry out. Yeah,
so it’s high. So that’s saturated, so you hear that beep. That means you would not
be able to go over this. Okay, so tip #2 is to have a nice, clean,
flat subfloor. Most of the manufacturers are going to require your floor to be flat and
within 1/8-inch of difference in a 6-foot area. So I have a 6-foot level here, and I’m
just going to go over different areas in my room and make sure that it’s flat. Basically
any difference of 1/8 of an inch I’m going to want to address. So right now this is probably
about a 32nd; not a big deal. I’d say probably one of the biggest areas where you end up
having crowning is where butt joints of the plywood come into play. So always check your
butt joints. Because if any water saturation—especially on OSB—happen, usually it swells at the
butt joints. And to address this—if you did have a lot of rocking, you had an 1/8-inch
difference—you can always take a belt sander and sand down that seam. But you want to make
sure that everything is within an 1/8-inch of level. Worst case scenario, you can always
floor level the entire floor. Most situations, you just want to double-check things.
This will probably be a common area. Here’s the outside door area; water can be saturated
around here. Just double-check that this doesn’t have a big bump coming around.
Okay, so we’re all within reason. The one other detail you want to pay attention to
is that you need to have joists that are 16 inches on center, and the subfloor has to
be a minimum of 5/8 of an inch. That’s the requirement. If you’re going over engineered
joists, you’re going to have to… basically it’s the deflection. They don’t want you
to have a lot of bowing in between your joists. Do make sure that they’re 16 inches on center;
you have a minimum of 5/8-inch plywood. And if you have a trim saw, it makes it a
lot easier to cut nice, straight joints. One little pro tip is if you’re doing a lot
of this laminate flooring is to invest in a Hepa Vac that you can plug your saw into.
This laminate stuff is very, very dusty. You do not want to be inhaling this stuff. So
wear a respirator when you’re cutting it. And having a system where you can hook up
the saw really helps out. One of the great things about this is it actually has a plug
port on it. So I plug the saw that I’m using, and I put it towards the plug indicator. So
then as soon as I go to use my saw…. So it’s really convenient. As soon as I use
the saw, the vacuum’s already working. Okay, so the laminate flooring that I’m
installing—not all of them require it, but—the laminate flooring that I’m installing requires
this foam mat that you put underneath of it. It’s basically a vapor barrier. But there
are some laminates that already have that integrated onto the laminate. So just pay
attention to whatever you buy that you’re using the right underlayment for your laminate
flooring. So we’re going to install the first row here. And what I like to do, this
underlayment has a sticky tab on it so that when I put the second layer on it, it sticks
to that. So I always start out with this underlayment with the sticky side against the wall so that
when I layer my next one, it just sticks right to that. So we’ll tuck that up against the
wall. Let’s actually just cut off this plastic strip since this is the first row.
Okay, so tip #3 is to—when you’re laying out your laminate flooring—is that it’s
recommended to go perpendicular to the way your joists run. Not all situations are going
to maybe fit the style of which direction you want to run this, but it is recommended
to go perpendicular. So if your joists are running like this in this home where they’re
going from left to right here, we’re going to run our flooring perpendicular to it. So
always try to run your flooring perpendicular to the floor joists.
Okay, so tip #4 is on your first row is to cut the tongue off of the first side. Now
this is really reliant on how much space your trim will be able to cover—your laminate
flooring. This particular flooring requires a 5/16-inch gap between any wall or any transitions.
So you want to have a perimeter gap of a minimum of 5/16. We plan to use a shoe mold; we’re
not going to take off our existing trim. So we’re going to want this first row to be
as close to the wall as possible, maintaining that 5/16-inch gap. So cutting off this extra
1/8-inch tongue will allow more coverage for our quarter round to cover the flooring.
So tip #5 is to run a chalk line on the wall that you’re going to be installing your
first row of laminate flooring. You want to make sure that your wall that you’re going
against isn’t bowed or bowed out and making it tough for you to establish a nice, straight
line. So my recommendation is only putting one row of this underlayment down and then
just measuring… I would probably stay away from the corners just to randomly find a measurement.
Maybe go a foot away from the edge of each part of the room and just make a mark. I’m
just going to make mine 5-foot. So this is just primarily for reference, and I’m just
going to double-check my wall with the chalk line to make sure that I don’t have any
bowing and maybe I have to kind of space it out a little bit more to get a nice, straight
line. So 5-foot here. Five-foot there. Okay, and then we’ll just reference this
line as we’re installing the flooring and also just double-check it just so I know what
I’m working with right off the bat. So that’s 5-foot there. We got 5-foot here. Fifty-nine
and ¾. Fifty-nine and 7/8. So that’s all within a ¼-inch. So it’s just nice to know
what you’re working with before you start, so that when you shim against this existing
base trim that you’re keeping everything straight in a straight line.
Okay, so you want to maintain that 5/16-inch gap at any point. So the tricky thing we have
here is that I’m only trying to use shoe mold against here. But I also want to go further
in here. So I’m going to have to measure this. So we got like 5/8 of an inch. So I’m
going to just mark my board here. So I’m butting up against here. So I’m getting
5/16 here, and I’m butting up against there. So we’ll mark it right at the end of my
casing so that this can slide underneath of my casing and also be 5/16 inches away from
the door. So we’re going to take 5/8 of an inch from this part down off of here so
that this can slide over. Okay, so that’s tight here. I’ve got my 5/16. I’ve got
my 5/16 here. Now, when you’re always installing the first
row, obviously the groove part needs to be going this way. This way I can go ahead and
clip my next piece into it. You always want to start with the groove facing you, and then
you’re always working left to right. You want to have the groove on the right side
so that when you clip in the new flooring, you can clip it in this way. You always want
to have your groove part facing you and then working from left to right.
So we also have a vent right here, so I’m going to have to cut around that. So let’s
mark this here. Pretty nice. Okay, so to put your first piece in, you kind
of have to do a little bit of an angle to slip that tongue in and slide it down.
Okay, so we’ll mark to the edge of our trim here. So from this point over, we need to
rip this down to allow this to slide over. So we’re going to take that same 5/8 of
an inch from here all the way down so that this can slide over to the door.
Okay, so from here, we’ll actually go a bit further in from where the trim is because
there’s plenty of space to slide this in. So just as long as you’re behind your casing,
we just want to make sure we don’t have any gaps around here. So we’ll mark that.
We’ll be coming out… we’ll make that like an inch and 3/8 so that you have plenty
of coverage underneath of it. So we’ll cut an inch and 3/8. We’ll just use this to
tap this joint into place. Not always a bad idea to every once in a while
check and make sure your shoe mold’s going to cover the edge of this well.
Tip #7 is to use either a framing blade or a specific blade for laminate flooring. You
don’t want to use your nice trim saw blade for laminate flooring; it’ll just ruin it
by the end of it. You don’t to spend $80 on a trim saw blade and then have not be able
to be used. But if you’re using this stuff all the time or installing laminate a lot,
they make blades that are specifically for laminate flooring. This will last a hundred
times longer than a trim blade. So always use the appropriate blade for cutting this
hard stuff. That goes for jig saw as well. Buy blades that are made for laminates. This
laminate is very tough on any of those regular carbide tips. So you want to use blades that
are made for it. So we’ll change this out. Okay, so tip #8 is when you’re installing
this, you need to overlap each seam by a minimum of 6 inches. So you’re either 6 inches before
it or 6 inches after. You can’t have joints that are within 3 or 4 inches from another.
So always install this flooring so you’ll have an overlap of 6 inches onto the next
thing. The other thing you want to avoid is staircasing. You don’t want to start basically
every 6 inches and working your way out. I see way too many YouTube videos that have
that. That is not recommended by most manufacturers. A random pattern is what’s recommended.
You want to avoid half patterns, and you want avoid staircasing. Staircasing is essentially
just having boards that are 6 inches smaller as you go, and you can go through the whole
room. You can see step cracks all the way… you can basically see the seams all in a diagonal
pattern. That’s not recommended. The flooring can move in irregular ways. So random pattern
really literally means that. But the biggest rule is just 6 inches away from each seam.
I just cut a random piece that’s 13 inches. After running three pieces, I usually like
to run another one along with this. It kind of keeps everything together. So running two
rows at a time makes a lot of sense to me, and it kind of makes things a little bit easier
to put together. So, really simple to interlock these. You’re
just going to lift up slightly and make sure it’s in the groove. You could always use
this block to make sure that’s tight. So we’re going to have to make a cut again.
Okay, so tilt this edge. You want to basically have this lip as close to this other joint
as possible. And then flip it down, and then you’ll have to snap this into place by basically
hitting your block against it to snap in. Again, making sure all your joints are even.
You really just want to pay attention to make sure that all these joints are nice and tight,
especially on the first couple of rows. This will really indicate whether you’re going
straight or moving. If this were slightly gapped here, it’s going to create a problem.
You’re going to want to shim this out a little bit more. Do whatever it takes to make
sure these seams stay nice and straight. For this area we’re going to actually just—since
this is so much higher than the rest of it—we’re probably going to end up using a T-molding
that will be cut down to go against here because this is basically an inch thick. This stuff
has only 5/16, so I’m going to have trouble finding transitions that will basically raise
up ¾ of an inch. So I’ll probably end up using a T-molding. For right now, I’m going
to keep this ¾ of an inch away from the edge to give myself some room. You need the 5/16-inch
gap between whatever transition that you plan to insert in here. So we’ll share this a
little bit later, but for right now, we’re just going to cut around this and leave ¾
of an inch of a gap all the way around our threshold here. So we’ll measure this. We
got 19 ¾. So we’ll make that 19 inches. So when I measure, I’m always going off
the top laminate piece, not my tongue, because the tongue goes into that groove. So measure
from your laminate piece. We’ll go 19 inches. Just check your chalk line and just make sure
that we’re going to be even so that we even spaces on the other side. So 48 ¼ to 48 1/8.
So we’re within an eighth; I’m fine with that.
So this is where this tool comes in handy so you can slide it this way.
This is where it’s important to reference your line because now we have to go around
this and make sure that that side lines up with this. So I’m just going to make sure
my first row where I’m going to have to be looks like 54 ½. So I just want to double-check
and make sure that when I run this, that will be 54 ½ to the edge of my piece here. So
which is going to be a rip down of 4 7/8. Fifty-four and 5/8. Fifty-four and 5/8. That
should be all right. Same thing here. I want to leave this a ¾-inch
gap so I can get my transition up against here nicely. So 6 inches. So 5 ¼ inches were
going to rip this down. Okay, so you want to butt this up to the next
layer and then continue the vapor barrier. Just take off this little sticky part of the
plastic. Okay, now we got the first couple of rows
in, we could pretty much really start getting ahead here. Now, I just wanted to reiterate
what you want to try to avoid, and that is staircasing. Staircasing would be doing something
like this where you’re having smaller and smaller pieces, and you’re basically creating
a staircase, so you’re having all this diagonal thing. What you really want to do is have
one here, or I should say maybe do a smaller one here or go with a wider one here. But
you want to avoid having this diagonal pattern of the pieces coming together. You want it
kind of immediately shrink it down and then come with a bigger one. You want to best make
sure you’re not aligning all the joints all on the same area. You want to make them
random. It’s very tempting to do a staircase because you can get a whole bunch all done
at once, but it’s really not recommended by the manufacturers. They want you to stagger
those joints. Okay, so this is my last tip, and it’s super
important. I’d never really see this on any videos online, but the manufacturers do
require this and it makes sure that it’s a long-lasting installations and you’re
not going to have any problems. And that is to use a backer rod in the corners of all
the perimeter of your floor. This is going to maintain that space that is needed for
expansion and contraction. And then if you’re remodeling like most who are doing this type
of project, you’re doing other things within the home and you want to make sure that you
keep all the perimeter joints clear of any debris, drywall dust, anything that might
get in the way of allowing this floor to expand. So using a backer rod will ensure that. This
is a 3/8. It comes in a really large box; 350 ft of it. So typically this is great for
larger rooms. You can get smaller quantities of this stuff. But again, really important
to put this in your corners and keep that space maintained.
So it’s simply… just use this… you just slide it into that perimeter gap that you
made. You might need to use a screwdriver or something to press it in. But this is just
going to maintain that gap and allow this floor to freely float, expand and contract,
and move around. Okay, so with this flooring we’re going
to do a transition between our ceramic tile and our floating laminate floor. Unfortunately,
in this specific type of brand of laminate flooring, they only had T-molding. This was
the only kind of transition that they had. They’re kind of limited with transitions
into different types of flooring. But this is primarily made to sit flat and basically
transition between one laminate flooring and the other. But in this case, we’re going
to make this transition kind of ramp up to our ceramic tile. So what we’re going to
do is I cut some smaller pieces of plywood here, and this is going to allow me to just
nail through here and then grab this smaller piece of plywood. So I actually have a stapler
gun. This will help hold these smaller pieces in much tighter than just regular trim nails.
So you always want to still maintain that 5/16-inch spacing here. So just make sure
that you have this spacing so this can move back and forth.
This will turn to a clear, but I want to use this silicone to adhere the transition on
top of the strip. And I’ll just use a matching wood putty to fill in for my staples.
So if these tips helped you out, please give us a thumbs up. Really helps us out for other
viewers to find our videos. And if you have any questions, by all means please leave us
a comment below. We’re here to help you out, and we’ll see you in the next video.