Getting Ready

Making the job easier

Places that sell wood laminate will have instructions for calculating how many boxes you will need and lots of other helpful information. Specific installation instructions will vary between manufacturer so follow the specific directions on the laminate you bought.

The instructions will include a list of tools, but unless you have done this before there are some additional things to consider.

Creeper as mobile home flooring aid

If you are older and fatter, like me, crawling around on your hands and knees is not fun. The installer doing the work at this house had an inexpensive and elegant solution for this. For those of you who don’t know automobile terminology, this is called a creeper and you will find them at any auto supply store. With the addition of the milk crate to sit on it also provide a place for tools. At the time I write this, Harbor Freight has one much like this for sale for $???. They also sell a stool on wheels that would be adjustable, work as well, but you would need to wear a tool belt.

Homemade flooring tool example

A professional looking job requires that the ends of the laminate pieces be butted tightly up against each other. However, that can be hard to do where the ends are against the wall. This is called a pull bar and has a wide lip that drops over the end of the board and a sliding weight to proved the "hammer" effect without chipping or denting the end of the laminate strip. This design as a “home grown” improvement. A standard pull bar is made to use a hammer and should cost about $5.

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How to tighten laminate

The laminate strips need to be hammered together to ensure a very tight fit, but care must be taken not to damage the edge. For about $5 or less you can buy a tapping block that is designed to spread the force of the hammer over a wide area of the laminate and prevent hammer damage.

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How NOT to use a table saw

The quality of your floor is highly dependent on clean, square cuts on the laminate strips. If you look closely at the picture at the top of the page you can see how exact the fit is between then ends of the laminate strips. To do that consistently you need a saw that will let you do square cuts and a sharp carbide tipped saw blade for smooth cuts. You will be really sorry if you mess up this part of the job.

Don’t use a saw like this guy is!

I’m surprised he still has all ten fingers! Saws should have blade guards and operators should be wearing goggles and earmuffs. This guy has enough experience he can make a square cut from a line he drew on the board. Less experienced workers would do well to have some kind of guide. Actually, a chop saw would be a better tool for this project.

Next: Surface Preparation