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Fitting Laminate Flooring - An Installation Guide

Just bought the perfect laminate flooring for your home and choosing to self-installation? From the tools and preparation to the measuring and fitting, here at Discount Flooring Depot, we’ve got all the tips you need to lay your laminate flooring. But remember, while this handy guide will help you with the basic steps, it’s important to note that there are many different installation systems and you should always refer to your manufacturer’s guide before installing.

Safety Advice

First things first; when you’re doing any kind of DIY, safety is paramount. If you’re choosing to self-installation of laminate flooring at home, it’s important to seek professional advice if you feel you need to or you become unsure at any step. Once you've ensured you are confident in your process, the next step is to make sure you follow the appropriate safety measures. We recommend:

  • Always wear safety goggles and a dust mask to protect your eyes and face when cutting the boards.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands.
  • Wear knee pads when kneeling down on the hard floor for prolonged periods of time and take regular breaks.
  • Keep all adhesives and tools safely out of reach of children and ensure electric saws are switched off when not in use.
  • Consider the wear on your knees. You will be on them for long periods so consider knee pads. 
  • Hitting the pull bar with a hammer can make a very loud noise. We suggest using ear plugs! You may consider using a wooden mallet instead!

Tools Needed for Fitting Laminate Flooring

Once you’ve ensured you’re safely ready to start, the next step is to gather all the tools and equipment you’ll need. We recommend having to hand:


  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Mitre saw
  • Hand saw
  • Pull bar
  • Hammer

To make things easier for you, we’ve included the basic tools you’ll need in our handy Laminate Flooring Installation Kit.

Laminate Flooring Installation Kit

Preparation Of Sub Floors For Laminate Flooring

Where To Start Laying Laminate Flooring

Now you’ve gathered all your tools and equipment, the next step is to prepare your sub-floor and chosen flooring ready for laying:

  • Sweep, vacuum and clean the sub-floor of the room you’re planning to lay, ensuring it is fully dry, clear of any debris and any loose existing nails are hammered down.
  • Lay down your chosen underlay in parallel lines stuck together with masking tape, ensuring you leave a 16mm gap around any pipes.
  • Ensure your boards have acclimatised to the temperature and humidity of your room by laying (un-opened) horizontally in the room for 48 hours.

Can You Lay Laminate Flooring on Concrete?

  • Yes; when laying laminate flooring on concrete you will need to put down a waterproof membrane first. This will stop any moisture coming up through the floor and damaging the laminate. Some undelays incorporate a waterproof membrane such as out Platinum Plus Underlay so invest in the right one for your project. 

Can You Lay Laminate Flooring on Floorboards/

Yes but follow the following rules:

  • Make sure the floorboards are completely flat. If there are any raised bits then these make need planing or sanding flat. 
  • Make sure that the floorboards are securely fixed into place. This may involve driving nails or screws into the joists to make sure they are tightly fixed. 
  • Remember that laying laminate flooring will raise the level of the floor, so ensure that doors and any plinths are removed and cut back to allow for the height of the laminate plus underlay. 
  • Remember to leave an expansion gap of 10mm aroudn pipes and other objects. 

Can You Install Laminate Flooring on Plywood?

Plywood is one of the best surfaces to lay laminate on;

  • Firstly make sure that the sub-floor beneath the plywood is stable and secure. Ensure that if the plywood is laid on top of concrete that there is a waterproof membrane underneath. 
  • Ensure that the plywood is firmly screwed down.
  • If there are any dips in the surface, then either replace the offending plywood board, or use a self levelling solution on top to fill the gap. The boards must be absolutely flat before you can lay your underlay. 

Can You Install Laminate Flooring on Tiles?

Yes you can but follow the following rules;

  • Tiles are almost always laid on concrete making them very stable. If any of them are loose, then make sure they are perfectly cemented in place before you start laying your laminate. 
  • Use an underlay with a moisture barrier just in case there are any parts of the tiled floor when moisture has or may come through. 
  • If there are uneven places in the surface then use a self levelling solution to fill the gap. Small gaps, such as grouting are not a problem. 
Fitting Laminate Flooring
How To Lay Laminate Flooring

Installing Your Laminate Flooring

Followed all those steps? You’re ready to lay.

PLEASE NOTE: Installation guides may vary. Always read the full manufacturer’s recommended installation guides before installation.

  1. Starting in a corner, lay your first board down and place spacers at intervals between the board and wall with a 10mm gap to allow for the natural expansion of the laminate.
  2. Continue to the end of the wall, ensuring all the boards are properly locked into place.
  3. If you need to cut the last board of the row to fit your room, determine the length you need to cut and use your square and pencil to mark a cutting line on the back of the board. Remember to use a spacer against the wall and factor this into your measurements before you cut.
  4. Lay your second row starting with the off-cut piece of your last row and continue this process until your floor is covered, ensuring the joints are staggered by corresponding row. Use your hammer, tapping block and pull bar to ensure all the boards are fitted together securely.
  5. The last row of boards may also need to be cut to size to fit your room. You can calculate the desired width by laying a plank over the last row you placed. Cut the last row to size and fit securely in place with your pull bar, remembering to factor in expansion space.

Laying Laminate Flooring Around Door Frames

Fitting your boards around your doorframe can be a difficult step in your self-installation process, but you have two options to consider:

Option 1:

  1. Check that your door is able to open over the floor.
  2. Accurately determine the areas of the boards to cut.
  3. Use the mitre saw to cut the boards around the shape of the door and doorframe.

Option 2:

  1. Measure the depth of your boards.
  2. Use the mitre saw or hand saw to cut a strip from the bottom of the door.
  3. Use the hand saw to do the same for the doorframe.
  4. Slot the boards into place underneath, remembering to leave necessary expansion space.

To ensure a professional finish and bridge any gaps between your floor and doorway, apply door trims on the line where your flooring meets the door and corresponding room.

Fitting Laminate Flooring Beading

Once you’ve laid all your floor, the final step is to apply beading around the skirting board, which serves to cover the expansion gap between the floor and wall and create a seamless overall aesthetic:

  1. Measure the length of beading required and mark the cut line with your pencil.
  2. Cut each of the corners to a 45-degree angle in order for each piece to fit seamlessly together.
  3. Apply the wood adhesive glue to the back of the beading, rather than the bottom.
  4. Remove flooring spacers.
  5. Press the beading into the skirting board and wipe away any excess glue. Do not stick to the floor.
  6. Hold in place with tacks while the adhesive sets.

Follow these steps and laying your floor should be as easy as possible!

Remember: Consult your manufacturer’s installation guide before proceeding and seek professional advice if you are unsure at any step of the process.

Common Mistake When Laying Laminate Flooring

Installation Tips

Laying laminate is a relatively straightforward process but things can go wrong if you do not follow the proper guidelines. Laminate is a natural material with a wooden core, so it does expand naturally. It is also prone to water damage if not laid properly. So what can go wrong?

  • Laying a laminate floor is physically challenging. Laying the underlay may seem relatively straightforward but it can be difficult, especially when you need to go up the wall on all sides 30-50mm. Manhandling a 4 foot roll is hard. Laying the floor is even harder. Many of the planks will need lifting and sawing, then laying in place and 'fitted' using the pull bar and potentially a hammer. This is not a job for you if you are not fit and healthy. 
  • Not acclimatising the floor to the room it is being installed in. This allows the floor to get used to the temperature and moisture levels of the room it is being installed in. This is important as you do not want the floor to expand beyond normal tolerances after being laid as it could lead to buckling and an uneven surface. 

  • Not choosing the right floor for the space. If you are planning on fitting your laminate floor in a kitchen or bathroom then choose one of our water resistant ranges.  Then use the recommended sealants to ensure that the floor can stand the higher levels of moisture in these spaces. 

  • Not ensuring that the sub-floor is level. If you your sub-floor is uneven or unstable then so will the laminate that is laid on top. It is as simple as that. Your flooring will be wobbly and will likely crack at the joins. Sub-floor preparation is paramount so make sure that it is stable and flat before laying your laminate on top! 

  • Not using a waterproof membrane where it is required. If you are installing on concrete or old tiles then you will need a moisture barrier such as visqueen, or an underlay which has one incorporated. If you do not do this then moisture will be drawn up through the sub-floor and into the wooden composite that forms the core of your laminate flooring. This will cause ugly warping and buckling which is the last thing you need. 

  • Not using the right underlay. Apart from the above, you need the right choose the right underlay for your sub-floor. Underlay is not just to provide a moisture barrier, it also helps keep the floor from moving, and provides acoustic qualities, much like fitting underlay under a carpet. For the best results, choose a high quality underlay but remember to allow for the additional height when cutting back plinths and doors. 

  • Not allowing for the expansion of your laminate flooring. It is a natural material and will expand as the temperature and moisture level change over time. That is why all manufacturers recommend a 10mm expansion gap when butting up to skirting boards and around mouldings and pipes. If you do not do this then the floor may buckle when there is not enough room to expand. 

  • Not finishing the installation properly. Once you have finished laying the floor, fit some smart beading around all the visible edges to give your floor a professional look and feel. 

  • Not getting help when you need it. Fitting a laminate floor is challenging, both mentally and physically. You need to measure your room properly before you start cutting. You are also going to be on your knees a lot and using a saw. If you don't feel up to this then get help or call in a professional whose job it is to give you the perfect finish. 



Is Laying a Laminate Floor Easy?

It is relatively straightforward. However, you need to be relatively fit and healthy as you will be using muscles you have not been using regularly. You will be squatting and kneeling a lot, and using the pull bar to make the planks fit tightly together. 

Can I use a jigsaw to cut the planks?

Yes, as long as the saw is held perfectly vertical and you make a pencil guide to follow then a jigsaw is perfectly OK

Which Direction Should I lay Laminate Flooring?

Start in the farthest corner and lay parallel to the longest wall. If laying in a hall, lay down the hall away from the front door to the back of the hall, following the same rule. 

How Do I Lay Around Radiators and Pipes?

Leave an 8-10mm gap around pipes. Use a circular drill bit if necessary to cut a large enough hole before removing the piece at the back to fit 8-10mm away from the wall behind. 

How Long Does It take To Lay a Laminate Floor?

Allow a day to lay an average sized room. More if you have difficult obstacles in the way like cupboards, boxed in downpipes and plinths. It will be quicker as you get more experienced. 

What Problems Can You Have Laying Laminate Underlay?

Some underlays come with foil backing. This can tear quite easily if you are not careful. If it does, then carefully cut away the torn part and use tape if necessary to join different strips together if there is not a sealing strip. 

Buy Laminate Flooring

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