How to install laminate flooring

Discover every stage of how to fit laminate flooring and learn a new DIY skill with our handy guide.

Updated July 25, 2019

Purple teddy bear sitting on wooden laminate floor

Key steps

Before you lay laminate flooring, prepare the space with these key steps:

  1. Measure the space thoroughly. Be sure to add in 5% extra for wastage and offcuts.
  2. Prepare the underfloor before starting – work from the corner in.
  3. Always be mindful of safety and wear the appropriate protective gear. 

Installing laminate flooring is a great DIY project because it's so easy to do. In addition to the pride of having a new floor, you'll be able to declare that it was all your own work! If you are laying laminate flooring yourself and want to get it right, then there are a few different things to think about. To help, we’ve put together a laminate flooring installation guide on how to install laminate flooring yourself including some helpful laminate flooring installation tips.

Once you’ve finished laying laminate flooring, you need to clean it! Sweep up or lightly vacuum any dirt and dust and use a cleaner like Handy Andy to cut through grime.

Before you start: Preparing to (DIY) install laminate flooring

Before you can begin to lay laminate flooring, you need to make sure you're fully prepared. Measure the floor space you want to cover a couple of times to make sure your dimensions are accurate and then add at least 5% for offcuts and waste.

Next, ask yourself what tools do I need to lay laminate flooring. Here’s a basic list of what you'll need:

  • Tape measure
  • Mitre saw
  • Small crowbar
  • Hammer
  • Masking tape
  • Drill – with a flat wood bit
  • Laminate floorboards – with your choice of colour and design
  • Decorating knife
  • Safety equipment – such as goggles and a protective face mask
  • Someone to give you a hand!

The next step is to empty the room where you intend to install the flooring and pull up any existing flooring or carpet – checking the condition of the floorboards and underlay underneath to repair any damage as necessary.

Getting started: How to cut laminate flooring

The trickiest part of DIY laminate flooring isn’t necessarily laying it but cutting it to shape! Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Place the flooring in the room. Work out where you will need to cut boards.
  2. Draw out where you need to cut carefully. Measure twice, cut once.
  3. Lock the flooring in place using a vice or clamp while cutting. This will stop it from moving.
  4. Work on one board at a time and cut less than you think you need each time. It’s much easier to take a little more off than put it back on!
  5. Review your cut pieces regularly. Ensure they are the size you intended.
Be careful if using sharp knives to cut laminate flooring as it’s easy to miss and cause injury. Always cut away from yourself, wear protective clothing, and do not leave knives unattended near children or pets.

Putting it together: How to fit laminate flooring

Once your boards are cut, your next step is to learn how to lay laminate flooring. Always refer to your flooring manufacturer’s instructions - our instructions below can be followed for laying most click-style laminate floorings:

  • Start by fitting the underlay. It needs to be smooth and fit the contours of your room exactly. Make sure you choose an underlay suitable for laminate.
  • Place the laminate tongue-side up on top of the underlay – start in a corner.
  • Press the sections together – until you hear a click.
  • Keep going across the room – until you’ve reached the other side.
  • Cut the final piece once everything else is down. You’ll likely need a specially-cut sized one.
  • Remember to leave a small gap at the edges. Laminate flooring is sometimes known as a "floating floor". You need to leave a small gap to allow for expansion or your new floor might buckle.

When you’ve finished: Laminate flooring aftercare

After fitting your flooring, it's time to give it a few finishing touches. Fit runner strips or threshold guards at doorways and give your new flooring a quick brush to get rid of any dust or dirt. Leave your new flooring to acclimatise to the space for at least 24 hours before vacuuming or cleaning it. Don't return your furniture to the room until after this time either.

And that's it: a complete guide on how to put laminate flooring in your house. The next step, of course, is to learn how to clean laminate flooring so that it stays looking its best.

Originally published July 17, 2019