Laminate flooring is an affordable solution in homes when you need something durable and engineered flooring isn’t an option. Given the way most modern laminate flooring is manufactured, it’s also one of the easiest forms of flooring to install yourself.
While the laminate flooring may be simple to install, you can’t do it without the proper tools, which can vary as manufacturers tend to make their own recommendations. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide that will show you which laminate flooring installation tools you will need to complete your job successfully.
Some types of flooring require special tools that can increase the overall cost of the laminate flooring installation if you go the DIY route. While you won’t need to rent a floor roller to install laminate, you will require several hand tools and a few power tools, as well.
We’re going to start with things you probably already have around your home. You’ll need a tape measure, a pencil, and a hammer. Those are all easy to acquire if you don’t have them already, but you may not have a utility knife. Unless you have tapping block lying around, you are also going to need one of those.
Which tapping block is the right one for your style of flooring can vary, but they sell kits built for laminate flooring installation that come complete with a pull bar, mallet, and spacers. If you don’t pick up a kit, you will need to get a pull bar and mallet as well.
kits built for laminate flooring installation
All of those tools are things you can easily recognize as well, but a chalk line isn’t something most homeowners have used. You’re also going to need a carpenter square, and a pry bar will come in handy for things a claw hammer can’t deal with. A small hand or pocket planer isn’t something you necessarily need, but it may be something you wish you had halfway through your project.
You can’t install laminate flooring without the tools we’ve mentioned so far, and only a few of those items will exceed $15.00. Power tools are a different story; however, as some of these items can cost hundreds of dollars if you don’t own them already or can’t borrow them.
Laminate flooring is thick, and not something you can slice through with a razor knife. You will need to make a lot of cuts as well, so a good saw and a sharp blade are critical if you want clean edges. You can use a handsaw, but a miter or circular saw will shave hours off the job.
A powered saw is also needed for doors and floor vents, although they are no replacement for an oscillating multi-tool or jigsaw. A cordless drill is another handy tool, but something you can pick up for cheap if you don’t already own one.
Items under this category are not classified as tools, although they are things you can’t or don’t need to install flooring without. Spacers are essential unless you buy a kit, and you may need plastic to keep other areas of your home clear of debris. If you have to make your cuts inside, you’re also going to need a shop vacuum with an excellent dust collection system in place.
Safety glasses are a must while cutting the flooring, and a dust mask is recommended as well. Laminate “dust” isn’t something you want to breathe, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Earplugs are also handy while using louder power tools like miter saw – especially indoors.
Unless the laminate has underlayment attached, you’ll want to pick some of that up as well, along with a moisture barrier if one is required. Other potential supplies include adhesives, tape, glue, wood filler, a nail set, and transition strips or baseboards. You generally install the baseboard or trim once you’re done with the flooring, so that’s the next logical step when your floors are finished.
Q: Which way should I lay laminate flooring?
A: Put together your runs facing the primary source of light that enters a room. Remember, the chalk line and to start away from the wall in case the wall isn’t straight.
Q: Do I have to stagger end joints?
A: If you want your flooring to last, yes. Staggering your flooring keeps the boards from separating if there’s movement or shifting in your subfloor.
Q: Do I need a moisture barrier?
A: If you are installing laminate flooring over concrete, you definitely need one. Otherwise, refer to the installation directions for your flooring.
Q: Will I need to acclimate laminate flooring before it’s installed?
A: Yes, but the length of time can vary from a few days to a full week, and it needs to acclimate in the room where you plan to install the flooring.