My Laminate Flooring Installation

Tips and things I did to install laminate flooring ( fold and lock) in my home.
We had old berber carpet that didn't stand the test of time. It was beyond fixing or cleaning and I simply had to do something. Laminate! It was in my budget and it seemed so simple from the video's I just had to get my hands into this project.
First, never believe that a Glueless system is really totally glueless. It's not. You cannot fold and lock or angle angle these boards under door jambs and you must cut off a tiny bit of the boards on one side, then glue the boards together in some areas. I used a small hand planing tool. These boards have a bevel so it looked fine. I am not sure how it would look if there were no beveled edge there.
I undercut all of the door jambs before starting, using a small plank of laminate and foam for the height measurement and did it as best as I could. You can't imagine the things the original contractors threw into the walls. I used an Ocillating saw and hit a lot of nails, concrete and all sorts of things hidden in those door jambs or things that fell down through the walls to the jambs. Cutting the door jambs was not an easy task. My hands hurt from the vibrations of the saw. Undercutting took at least two days to do.
I started on the longest wall to the right. There is a tiled entryway and I went from that point on starting on the right then moving to the left of the room. Because there is an L shaped hallway, I couldn't cut the first boards which would ensure that the last piece to the left side of the wall would be more than 3 inches wide. Each plank is about 8 inches wide and with careful measurements I knew I was going to be at at least 4 inches..whew!
I didn't want a transition in the room down the hallway which in my opinion would have broken up the sight line. The manufacturer's recommendation is to put a transition in all doorways but in speaking to a neighbor who does construction he said it was ok not to as long as the hallway was not bowling ball length (it's not).
As you can see I put down some blue masking tape to keep the boards together while working. The vapor barrier and underlayment were two separate pieces. So I put down the vapor barrier first, then foam underlayment. In retrospect I would have purchased the two in one system. A bit more pricey but much less work.
Oh, don't believe it when they say two people can do it in a few hours. Maybe in one square room with two very handy people. I am a 60 year old granny and did this as a one person project. It took me 3 weeks, one tetanus shot and lot's of that special cream you put on for muscle pain. I still hurt.
This is the door to the room down the hallway. I stopped at this point for a couple of days to recover and to think about how I wanted it to look. I went with no transition in the doorway. Lot's of cuts were made to get it to properly fit under the jamb and to allow it to pick up neatly in the other side of the room.
This is the L in the hallway. I went board to board without the stagger down about 7 ft of hallway. The hallway is only about 36 in wide and a stagger would look choppy. After calling a few pro's they all agreed down a small section of hallway I would not need to stagger the boards. Staggering is done to keep the boards from pulling apart. Since this is a "glueless" system, the next board holds the other ones and so on and so on to the end of the wall.
This is one room down the hallway where I had to eventually put a transition. Since I know that I will do this room without a transition later on ( the current floor is vinyl ) I didn't cut the board and let it flow into the room. The transition is gently placed and glued to the vinyl so that I can remove it later on and continue into this room.
Here is the tiled entryway. For the life of me I had no idea of what to do with the metal tracks that didn't fit and seemed flimsy. I used a quick grab glue and glued the reducer molding around the tile. I used a miter box ( I do not own a miter saw ) to cut the 45 degree angles for the reducer.
You must leave a space around the perimeter of the room. I used 7mm which is the same depth as the laminate I installed. Not only will the boards expand but don't forget the molding that's already there is probably wood and that expands too.
Here is the reducer around the tiled entryway. It's not perfect but it works. Tried T molding but wasn't going to happen so had to use a reducer. Wish I had a router or better tools to create my own reducer from wood. I am not sure how long this mdf reducer will hold up and it's a trip hazard...looking for ideas so please post if you have any.
If you look closely you can see how the boards are set up in the hallway. This is the turn at the end of the hallway where it's only about 7 ft long. There is a T Molding placed in that doorway to the hall bathroom which is tiled. In some cases you have to use t molding or reducers. I just went board to board without a stagger. Since it's not over a large area and each board meets at the wall ( with spacers) it should hold up. Crossing fingers on this.
In the end I put down PVC quarter rounds and then predrilled holes into which I nailed ( by hand) each brad. I then used white calk in the small space between the existing molding and the quarter round.

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3 of 8 comments
  • MamaSita MamaSita on Feb 03, 2015
    Thanks Charida!

  • Gladys Gladys on May 16, 2015
    Not only did you do a wonderful installation, but you also did a super job with the pictures and step by step instructions! Loved your sense of humor in the write-up.