How to Lay Laminate on an Uneven Floor

Written by jay kurz
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Laminate flooring has become a very popular material that comes in mock tile, wood, or ceramic. A laminate floor is considered a floating floor because it's not secured to the floor -- it requires a 1/4-inch expansion gap because laminate will expand and contrast with temperature changes. Laminate floors can be laid on top of any hard surface, and even outdoor carpet. If the floor underneath is uneven, it will require the proper preparation to avoid any ledges in the flooring.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Flat pry bar
  • Laminate flooring
  • Self-levelling compound
  • Putty knife
  • 8-foot level
  • Respirator
  • Palm sander
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Laminate underlayment padding
  • 1/4-inch spacers
  • 2-inch finishing nails
  • Hammer

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  1. 1

    Remove all the floor trim, using a flat pry bar.

  2. 2

    Trim the door jambs so the laminate will slide underneath them by laying a section of laminate flat on the floor up against the door jamb. Run a pencil across the top of the laminate, making a mark on the door jamb. Using a hand saw, cut the door jamb to size.

  3. 3

    Put an 8-foot level flat on the floor to check for uneven spots. Fill the uneven spots with a self-levelling compound, using a putty knife. Check the entire floor using the level, and fill in the uneven spots as you go. Let the compound harden.

  4. 4

    Sand the compound smooth, using 80-grit sandpaper and a palm sander. Wear a respirator. Clean dust and debris using a wet/dry vacuum.

  5. 5

    Lay the laminate underlayment padding so it completely covers the floor. Underlayment comes in 4-foot rolls and will have seams after you cover the floor. Tape all seams using duct tape, and trim any excess on the edges with a razor knife.

  6. 6

    Determine which wall you will begin laying the laminate and place 1/4-inch spacers against the wall, with each spacer 4 feet apart.

  7. 7

    Lay the first section of laminate in the left corner, pressing the laminate up against the spacers. Lay the second section of laminate next to the first and click the two together. Continue laying full pieces until you get too close to the wall to lay another full section.

  8. 8

    Measure from the edge of the laminate to the wall, and subtract 1/4 inch. Transfer that measurement to a full section of laminate using a pencil, and cut it to size with a table saw.

  9. 9

    Put the cut edge piece of laminate into place and begin on the second row. Continue this process for each row until the entire floor is in place. Stagger each row at least 4 inches so none of the seams line up.

  10. 10

    Replace the trim with 2-inch finishing nails, and a hammer.

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