Step 1: Acclimate the flooring. Flooring should sit in the room for at least 48 hours prior to installation, giving it time to expand or contract in relation to the room’s temperature and humidity. This prevents buckling and other problems after installation.Step 2: Remove existing baseboard molding. Use the pry bar to remove baseboard from the wall and set the pieces aside for reinstallation. Floating laminate planks (the kind used in this project) should be installed over a hard, smooth surface, such as vinyl. Remove damaged flooring to reveal the subfloor.
Step 3: Install the underlayment. Clear the floor of staples, nails, and other debris. Roll out the underlayment. Do not overlap adjoining strips. Use the utility knife to cut pieces as needed. The foam underlayment deadens sound and helps the floor feel more resilient.
Step 4: Plan the layout. To decide which direction to lay the planks, consider which wall is the longest and straightest. Avoid a narrow strip against the focal-point wall. Planks in the last row should be at least 2 inches wide. Figure on a 1/4-inch gap at each wall. Note it: If the last row will be less than 2 inches wide, add that width to the width of a full plank and divide by 2. Cut planks in the first and last rows to this width.Step 5: Cut the first row. Depending on your layout, you may need to rip, or cut, the first row of planks lengthwise. If using a power saw, cut with the finished side down; if using a handsaw, cut with the finished side up. Use clamps to steady the planks as you cut them.
Step 8: Install additional rows. As you snap on new rows, stagger the seams at least 12 inches in adjoining rows. You often can start a new row with the scrap from the plank you cut to end the previous row.Step 9: Install the last row. You’ll need to slide the planks into position at an angle, then gently pry them into place with the pry bar. Be sure you leave a 1/4-inch expansion gap between the last row and the wall.