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Tips for Installing Laminate Flooring FAQ, Page 2:

Floor Plank Installation FAQ-Things Pergo, Armstrong, and Alloc Don’t Tell You

© 2009 by Kelly Smith all rights reserved

Transition strip from laminate floor to ceramic tile

Doorway transition between ceramic tile and laminate flooring

This article was updated on 01/13/20. Happy Rubber Ducky Day!

This is page 2 of the laminate floor installation tips FAQ. Can't find what you’re looking for here? Check out the FAQ, page 1.

These tips are the direct result of a lot of great questions from readers via email so I decided to compile this FAQ. If you couldn’t find an answer you need here or on page 1, email me here at and I’ll send you an answer and include it in the next page of the FAQ.

First, installing laminate floors is not intimidating. When I did my first one, I found that the manufacturer's instructions were sorely lacking. So, I scouted around for some tips and figured out others for myself. All in all, this is an easy DIY project.

Q. I have removed my carpet and the wood strips/nails that the carpet is attached to along the edges, and when I pull out the nails a piece of concrete comes off as well; before I lay my laminate will I need to fill those in with a self-leveling compound?

A. If you just have those small holes from removing the tack strip, you don’t have to worry about filling them, although you can if you like. The reason is that those spots are unlikely to bear any pressure with the finished floor. The baseboard will cover those spots.

Q. We are going to lay the laminate floor this weekend but our problem is this. We have the old peel and stick tile. Do we pull up the tile? We have pulled it up in one room and the floor is nasty and black with the left over glue stuff. We have read to pull up all tile lay plywood down then put the laminate on top of the plywood. Then we read to just lay the laminate on top of the tile. What do we do? sand the floor do the plywood thing please help someone!

A. I would recommend getting that black mastic off the subfloor prior to laying the underlayment and laminate. A citrus-based solvent product works well. I don't see why you should lay plywood down; if your subfloor was fine for tile it should be fine for laminate as long as it is flat and sturdy.

Q. I'm installing in the hallway that turns to the right. How do I make the planks meet and what is the best way to lay it?

A. I usually run the planks straight down the longest part of the hallway, and then at the right turn, just continue. This means on the long hallway, the planks run with the walls, and in the shorter hallway they're butting into the walls.

Alternatively, you can lay the long hallway as above, and then when the hallway turns, begin running the planks down the other hallway. Then the planks in one hallway will be perpendicular to the other. Where they meet, trim it out with a piece of T-molding.

Q. I am replacing the Pergo flooring in my kitchen. The builder installed the original laminate first, and then installed the cabinets. I do not want to remove the cabinets; they must stay in place. What kind of tool or saw should I use to cut the laminate at the toe kick? Dremel Tool? I plan to use a quarter round at the toe kick to cover the gap.

A. The first thing I would try is one of the new oscillating tools like the Rockwell SoniCrafter, Dremel Multi-Max, or Fein MultiMaster. Other than that, there's always the trusty chisel and hammer.

Q. I am replacing the flooring in the living quarters of a horse trailer. The original flooring is linoleum sheeting that runs under all the cabinets. It is in good shape, just really ugly. Do I need to rip out the original flooring or can I just lay the laminate on top?

A. Sure, you can lay underlayment and laminate on top of the existing floor. Just check everything to ensure you won't have any height differential problems.

Q. I installed a the floor up to curved tile; what can I use to cover the transition point when there is a shape? Can I use grout?

A. Have you tried using T-molding? If the curve won’t let you do it, go to your flooring store and have the salesperson drag out the different kinds of trim pieces. There’s quite a variety, even if it has to be ordered.

Q. Kelly, I am laying floor in a family room 14 x 27.5. Would it be best to lay lengthwise the 27.5 or the shorter 14? The hall tile entryway is facing the 27.5 wall. And what do you use to butt up against a brick fireplace?

A. I would run the planks across the shorter side, because this balances the room’s dimensions more effectively. And where a brick fireplace is concerned, you can just use the same baseboard as is used in the rest of the room. You’ll just have to secure it to the fireplace with an adhesive like liquid nails.

Q.Hi, so happy I found this site. I am installing in my hallway, foyer, and the small area that connects those two (separate) areas to my great room. The great room has a different color laminate down already; I got as close as could to that color.

I finally found a transition piece that was long enough to fit in the opening, but I don't know which way I should lay the flooring. It is like I have three separate areas and the hallway has six different doorways. Which way do I start and how would I try and connect those three areas that don’t actually have doorways? HELP!! I am also on a concrete slab.

A. Is it a straight shot from the foyer, down the hallway, to the great room? I would run the laminate planks parallel with the walls of the hallway, starting from the front door in the foyer. My home is on a concrete slab as well. I used the thicker underlayment and it’s worked out well. Have fun!

Q. I hope to replace the carpet and linoleum (3 layers) with laminate in my kid’s university condo. I have read that you suggest that the baseboards are removed prior to laying the laminate. Unfortunately, their baseboards are made of steel and look impossible to remove without destroying them.

I really can’t replace them because of cost. Is there any way around this? It looks as though I’ll have enough room to go under them. What can you suggest? Also the main room is 12’ by 30’, and I don't know which way to run the planks. And is it OK to install in their bathrooms? They use mats for any water. Thank you!

A. Even if you have enough room to slide the planks and underlayment under the base, the problem is that you won’t be able to do it on all 4 walls, due to the way the floating system snaps together.

What I would suggest is just laying the floor with the recommended gap and then trim it out with quarter round glued to the steel base.

I would do something different in the bath; vinyl or sea grass perhaps? Laminate doesn’t like wet environments and we all know what goes on at those frat parties!

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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