How to install laminate wood flooring on concrete

Written by tara mihalech
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How to install laminate wood flooring on concrete
(Floor image by Einar Bog from

Laminate flooring is an inexpensive alternative to hardwood and tiled flooring. When installing laminate on a concrete subfloor, certain precautions must be taken in order to avoid damage and/or uneven flooring. With the proper tools, laminate floors can often be installed on a concrete base in a short period of time and with eye-catching results.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Laminate flooring
  • Underlayment with vapour barrier
  • Compound mitre saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Spacers
  • Knife
  • Optional: pulling bar and mallet

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  1. 1

    Select and purchase the appropriate amount of flooring. Measure the dimensions of the room and add 10% for waste. Purchase transition pieces.

  2. 2

    Allow the flooring to adjust to the room's temperature for at least 48 hours.

  3. 3

    Use a level or straightedge to determine if the floor is level. An uneven concrete base will result in a creaks and groans. If there is a dip greater than 1/8 inch, fix inconsistencies with a grinder or a self-levelling compound.

  4. 4

    Remove baseboards or trim. Mark the wall with numbers and write the same symbol on the back of each piece of trim.

  5. 5

    Sweep the floor of any debris.

  6. 6

    Roll out an underlayment that also has a vapour barrier. Vapour barrier is an important detail when installing over concrete in order to avoid moisture damage. Cut the underlayment with a knife or scissors once it meets the wall.

  7. 7

    Tape together the seams of the underlayment with packing tape; a small amount of overlap is acceptable, but avoid unnecessary waste.

  8. 8

    Lay the first row of planks, ensuring that the tongue side is facing the wall and the groove is facing out. Connect the planks by inserting the tongue ends into the groove ends. Place spacers between the wall and planks.

  9. 9

    Measure the cut of the last plank at the end of the row by flipping the board to show the reverse (with the tongue end facing the wall). Use a pencil to mark where the plank meets the end of the row.

  10. 10

    Cut the board at the pencil line with a compound mitre saw. Save the remainder of the board.

  11. 11

    Install the last board of the first row and use the remaining piece to begin the second row. The last board may require the use of a pulling bar and mallet.

  12. 12

    Examine the grooves between the boards to ensure that there isn't a definite pattern occurring. If a pattern emerges, cut the starting board slightly smaller and then install.

  13. 13

    Continue to use spacers where planks meet the wall.

  14. 14

    Use a measuring tape and pencil to mark out any cuts or angles.

  15. 15

    Finish the installation with the last row of planks. The last row of boards may need to be cut down in width in order to fit.

  16. 16

    Re-install baseboard trim using the number system as a guide.

  17. 17

    Install transition pieces over doorways and where the laminate meets other flooring.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a spacing block and a pencil to mark out the first row of planks; if the wall is not square, then cutting down the planks according to the pencil line will allow for a straight installation.
  • Some flooring stores offer installation kits that come with spacers and installation blocks.
  • Check planks for nicks and chips before installing.
  • An alternative to removing the baseboard is to install 1/4-inch finishing trim where the spacers were located.

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