How To Install Dream Home Laminate Flooring

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Many of our customers are the DIY type.  Hopefully this guide will help you with installing your new Dream Home flooring.  This can also be found in our Flooring 101 section for an easy-to-print document.

Before you get started, make sure you have carefully prepared your floor (concrete, wood, sheet & tile flooring, carpeting, or radiant heat) properly for smooth installation and that the subfloor requirements have been met.

Tongue & Groove

PRECAUTIONS, STORAGE & HANDLING, ROOM PREPARATION

  • DREAMHOME Laminate Flooring must be stored flat, horizontally and stacked no more than four cartons high at all times. Improper storage can result in warping and difficult assembly. Protect carton corners from damage.
  • Storage area and job site should be climate-controlled with ideal temperatures of 65°F-75°F, humidity under 75%.
  • Do not store directly on cement, allow for air circulation. Protect from rain, moisture.
  • Laminates with pre-attached padding do not need additional underlayment. If building associations require extra sound isolation, the use of heavier type underlayments such as cork, Quiet Walk or Insulayment is recommended to support the locking system.
  • For rooms larger than 27′ in any direction, the use of center T-moldings is required to allow for the normal movement or seasonal expansion of the entire installed floor.
  • Install under moldings and doorway transition moldings. New molding must be of sufficient size to cover the expansion area around the perimeter of the floor.
  • Leave at least ½” between the surface of the flooring and the bottom of electric baseboard heaters to allow heat to circulate.
  • Do not fit this floor tight against any fixed, vertical objects (ex. walls, pipes, passageways, staircases). A minimum of ¼” to ½” expansion space is required around the perimeter of the room as well as any fixed objects. Provide ½”? expansion for ½”? thick flooring. All floating floors require fixed cabinets to be installed first before installing planks.
  • Undercut door moldings and casings to allow the flooring to fit underneath without restriction. Use a scrap piece of laminate and foam underlayment as a spacer guide.
  • After installation, it may be necessary to trim the bottom of doors to allow for new floor height.
  • A moisture barrier, 6mm-8mm polyethylene sheet plastic must be installed completely over tiles, kitchen vinyl or concrete prior to installation. Overlap the plastic 6 inches and tape the entire length of the seam with duct tape.
  • For best shade appearance, install planks from several boxes. Keep an extra box of materials for repairs.
  • Clean cuts are achieved using a thin kerf, carbide tipped saw blade. Blade cut rotation should cut into the décor or finished side of the plank.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS

Undercut Saw, Table Saw, Miter Saw, Circular Saw, Jig Saw, 1/4" or 1/2″? Spacers, hammer, tapping block, tape Measure, T-square, PVA laminate glue as needed, tape, safety glasses, broom/vacuum, underlayment, 6mm-8mm Polyethylene sheet plastic as a moisture barrier over concrete (Do not use plastic over bare wood subfloors).

GETTING STARTED

  1. Inspect all planks for visible defects and damage before and during installation. Do not install damaged planks. During installation, inspect the groove area for any debris that may prevent proper assembly of planks.
  2. DREAMHOME Laminate Flooring will not accept responsibility for claims on flooring installed with obvious defects.
  3. Determine in which direction the planks will be installed. To make the room appear larger or if installing in very small rooms or hallways, it is preferable to lay the planks parallel to the longest room dimension.
  4. End-joint “shadow” can be minimized, avoid running board direction into the primary light source.
  5. Carefully measure the room to determine squareness and the width of the first and last row of planks. If the width of the last row of planks is less than 2″? excluding the tongue, adjust the width of first plank row accordingly.

When Installing Planks

  1. The tongue side of the plank should face the starting wall. To get the laminate row closer to the wall you may remove the tongue from the starting row of planks only. Begin laying planks on the left side corner of the starting wall and work to the right side. When cutting planks, make sure the teeth of the power saw blade is cutting into the decorative surface. Best results are achieved when using a thin carbide tipped cutting blade.
  2. Example of incorrect board placement.
  3. remove tongue

    Incorrect Board Placement

  4. Example of board placement sequence during Layout. Note how board #6 is installed with a slight gap (1/8″-3/16″) in-between #6 and #5 board. The gap is then gradually closed as board #6 is lightly tapped with a (tapping block) against board#5. Do not over-tap.
  5. board placement

  6. Adding additional spacers to the (beginning and ending rows) will help hold installed planks together during installation. Remove spacers when finished.
  7. adding spacers

  8. If the starting or ending wall is irregular, scribe or trace the contour of the wall to the row of boards.

trace irregular wall

Starting the First Row

  1. Start by placing/tapping spacers against the wall at the short and long side of each plank and at a seam where two planks join. Double this spacing for larger room areas over 20′ in any direction.
  2. Complete the first row progressively locking the shorter ends of the planks.
  3. placing first row

    Locking in Shorter Ends

  4. The last plank in any row will need to be cut. Measure the distance between the wall and the surface. of the last full plank, make sure to allow for the spacer. If this measurement is less than 12″, the length of first plank in the row should be adjusted. This will allow for a longer plank at the end of the row. The first and last plank in each row should be at least 12″? in length. Boards used under the recommended 12″? should also be edge-glued.
  5. Fill-in planks can be cut with a jig saw, power saw, or hand saw. TIP: Clean cuts are achieved using a thin kerf, carbide tipped saw blade. Blade cut rotation should cut into the décor or finished side of the plank.
  6. Measure to Wall

    cut board

  7. Ideally, the remaining pieces cut off from planks may serve as the starter or first plank in the next row.
  8. Stagger new end-joints from previously installed rows a minimum of 6″?-12″? to avoid seam line-up.
  9. Remaining Pieces Start Next Row

    Stagger End-Joints

  10. The last board of each row, under cabinets or other difficult areas can be tapped-in using a tapping bar.
  11. Tap in Last Board

Second and Consecutive Rows

a. Position the first plank of the second row with the short end-side against a wall spacer. Next engage the long tongue side into the groove planks of the first row at approximately a 45º angle until planks fit together.

b. Gradually lower the plank down flat until the joint closes, locks or clicks.

Starting Second Row

Lower Plank to Lock

Progressively Installing Individual Boards

a. Place another board, following the above directions Insert the long tongue side into the groove side at approximately a 45º angle until planks lock together.

b. Gradually lower the plank down flat until the joint clicks/closes.

c. Using a tapping block, gently tap to close any gaps between boards – repeat procedure until completed Note how board #6 is installed with a slight gap (1/8″?-3/16″?) in-between #6 and #5 board. The gap is then gradually closed as board #6 is lightly tapped with a (tapping block) against board#5. Do not over-tap, repeat process until finished.

Close Gaps

Last rows. Measure and cut to sufficient width to allow for the recommended expansion gap. Use a table saw to rip planks to the appropriate width. Planks less than 3″? would also need to be glued at the edges.

measuring

Trace Irregular Wall

Last Row of Flooring

For rooms wider or longer than 27′, the use of DREAM HOME T-Molding is required to account for the normal movement of the floor. When possible, T-Moldings should be utilized in areas such as doorways, archways, etc.

T-Molding

In areas where it is difficult to angle the planks up into position, such as around/under door moldings or jams, kitchen cabinetry or older type heat registers, it is necessary to remove the lip or locking system from the groove edge of the planks you are fitting to. This is done by lightly scraping or planning off the lip only on the groove side of the plank. This will allow you to install the plank laying it flat. After the lip has been trimmed on the planks you are fitting to, lay the plank flat on the floor. Apply a thin bead of PVA laminate glue on top of the tongue and push the planks into position. Immediately wipe off any excess glue with a damp cloth.

Removing the Lip or Locking System

removing lip

shave off lip

Finishing the Installation / Floor Care

  • Remove spacers from perimeter of room.
  • Install transition moldings. Do not fasten transitions through the laminate flooring.
  • Install quarter round or baseboard molding. Molding must be sufficient size to cover the ¼” or ½” expansion space. Do not fasten moldings through the laminate flooring. Fasten into the wall.
  • Use plywood when moving furniture or appliances into position to protect the flooring.
  • Use coasters or proper floor protectors under the legs of furniture.
  • DREAM HOME Laminate Flooring can be maintained by using a dry swiffer mop or cleaned with laminate floor cleaners. Do not flood mop floor. Do not use abrasive cleaners.
  • Chipping edges, dents and Scratches are site related, not warrantable.

I hope these instructions help you with your installation project.  Remember, if you have any further questions, check out the
Flooring 101 section on the Lumber Liquidators website for more installation and maintenance tips.

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19 Comments

  1. Hi Kimberly, sorry for the installation frustrations! If you contact Tech & Installation at 800-366-4204, one of our team members can help you with the issue. Hope this helps! – Lumber Liquidators

  2. what if the seams don’t "click"? I have tried three times and as I lay it I get gaps in the previous rows. Frustrated. I did parquay (?Spelling) years ago and it really clicked. I am using the kensington manor. HELP!

  3. Fantastic guidelines are given in this post surely this going to be very helpful for those who were planning to do some flooring work at their place they can do it by themselves following the instructions given in the above article.. This was really very amazing..

  4. Hi so when you have 3 different size planks in one box they are fitted randomly across the floor and are not used just for the ends thanks

  5. Laminate floors that have 3 different lengths in the boxes are designed this way to make them look more like the traditional random length solid wood flooring. There is no particular design or pattern. For best appearance place the planks randomly into the installation field mixing up the sizes as best as possible. St James recommends that the first and last plank in each row should not be less that 12″?. Normally before installation we will lay out 4 or 5 rows to see what the length of the last board in the row will be. If the last board will be less than 12″? then re-cut the first board in that row. Make sure to stagger the plank seams 6″? apart from row to row so they do not line up. Seams should never be closer than 3 inches according to St James instructions.

  6. Hi, The dream home Szechuan Ming that I purchased, comes in three sizes for the planks. What is the ideal design that can be used with these three sizes. There are equal number of each size – so for example, I cannot use just the long planks most of the time – I have to use the other sizes as well. Thanks in advance

  7. This is a great aid, especially for people who need a step-by-step procedure in installing laminated flooring. Installing this kind of flooring is a tough job! Anyone who reads this will surely appreciate your thorough instructions. Thanks! :)

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