How to Install Laminate Tile Flooring

Laminate flooring planks are a popular and affordable way to get a fresh new floor in nearly any space. Covered with a laminate bottom coating to prevent moisture gain and finished with a zinc oxide top coat to protect against wear and tear, laminate flooring is also easy to install and can be done by just about anyone willing to use a miter saw, tape measure and rubber mallet.

Prep Work

Carefully remove and save the old baseboard. Clean the old floor extremely well using a shop vacuum to remove any and all debris. Be sure to allow your laminate tile flooring to acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity for at least 3 days to ensure warping doesn’t occur after installation.

Layout

This is where a laminate tile installation differs than a laminate plank install because you’ll need to lay out the tiles so that they fit evenly against each wall with the same reveal. Measure both vertically and horizontally on the floor to determine the center of the room. From this point, you can lay a row of tiles in each direction until you come to a wall. Measure the remaining cut off piece (if you have one) and cut a series of tiles to fit against the wall. Be sure that the groove and tongue are placed in the right direction before making the cut.

First Row

Begin by installing the provided padding for the tiles. In some cases, the padding is already provided on the bottom of the tiles and this step is unnecessary. Place the cut tiles one by one against the wall and in arrow. Use a scrap piece of laminate tile to space the tiles off of the wall. A good quarter to half inch space is all you need so don’t go too big or else you might find that the trim won’t cover the gap. The space is necessary as it allows the laminate floor to safely contract and expand without buckling tiles. Snap tiles into place with a rubber shoe and rubber mallet. Be sure to use a bit of glue or sealant on the seams around damp places like near a sink or toilet.

Consecutive Rows

Work your way down the wall until you get to the end and install you ripped tile for the corner. You may need to use a small pry bar and a wedge or shim to get this last piece in place. Once you’ve got the first row complete, you can begin attaching tiles in the same manner, stepping down each time for another row of tiles. Be sure the seams are lining up correctly by snapping a chalk line on the ground from seam to wall.

Trim and Base

As you get around doors and other pieces of trim, use an undercut saw to laid on top of a piece of laminate tile to undercut the trim. This makes it easy to slide the tile under the trim rather than make intricate cuts to fit the tile around the trim. Once the laminate tile is in place, you can finish the job by reinstalling the baseboard on top of the new laminate tile floor.

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