Mistakes to Avoid when Installing laminate flooring
15 mins read

Mistakes to Avoid when Installing laminate flooring

Are you planning to install laminate flooring in your home? While it may seem like an easy DIY project, there are several mistakes that can turn this simple task into a frustrating experience.

From incorrect measurements to using the wrong tools or not following the manufacturer’s instructions, these common missteps can lead to costly and time-consuming errors. 

To help ensure a successful installation of your laminate flooring, we’ve compiled a list of crucial mistakes to avoid.

Keep reading for our expert tips on how to achieve flawless results and enjoy your new floors for years to come!

Not taking proper measurements

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when installing laminate flooring is not taking accurate measurements. This may seem like a simple task, but it requires precision and attention to detail.

Before starting your project, make sure to measure your space properly, including any alcoves or irregularities that may affect the layout. 

Always double-check your measurements as even a small error can result in gaps or uneven planks that will compromise the look and functionality of your floors.

Another important consideration is the number of materials needed for your project. It’s always better to order slightly more than what you need to account for potential waste or errors during installation.

Remember, taking proper measurements is crucial for achieving a seamless and professional-looking installation. 

So take your time and triple-check everything before making any cuts or laying down planks!

Not using the right tools

When it comes to installing laminate flooring, using the right tools is crucial for a successful project. Many people often overlook this aspect and end up with disastrous results.

One common mistake is attempting to use traditional saws instead of specialized laminate cutters. 

Laminate cutters are designed specifically for cutting through the hard surface of laminate flooring without damaging its edges or causing splintering.

Another issue that arises from not having the right tools is difficulty in leveling the subfloor. Without a proper leveler, you run into problems with uneven surfaces that can lead to unwanted gaps or damage during installation.

In addition, proper measuring equipment such as tape measures and distance meters should be used to ensure accuracy when cutting planks and determining how much flooring material will be needed for your space.

Always make sure you have these essential items on hand before beginning any installation work.

By investing in the right tools necessary for a successful installation process, you’ll save time and money by avoiding costly mistakes that arise from improper cuts or subpar materials.

Not trimming the doorjambs

One common mistake people make when installing laminate flooring is not trimming the doorjambs. This often happens because they underestimate how much space the new flooring will take up.

When you lay down the underlayment and laminate planks, they will add height to your floor. If you don’t trim your doorjambs beforehand, it can create an uneven surface that makes it difficult for doors to open and close smoothly.

To avoid this issue, use a handsaw or jamb saw to cut off part of the jamb so that there’s enough clearance for your new flooring. You can also use a piece of scrap flooring as a guide to ensure accuracy.

Remember that every doorway in your home may need trimming, so be prepared with extra time and tools if necessary. 

Taking this step early on in the installation process can save you headaches later on when trying to maneuver around tight spaces.

Not starting in the right place

Choosing the right starting point is crucial when installing laminate flooring. Many people neglect this aspect and end up with a shoddy installation that looks unprofessional. 

Starting in the wrong place can lead to many problems, including uneven floors, gaps between planks, and buckling. 

It’s essential to start at an appropriate spot that allows you to lay out your planks evenly without having any awkward cuts or small strips at either end.

A good rule of thumb is to always begin from the longest wall in your room since it will give you more flexibility while laying down your first row of planks. 

This strategy also ensures that you have enough space for expansion as well as contraction.

Another thing to consider when choosing where to start is natural light sources such as windows and doors because they can affect how visible any flaws may be on your floor’s surface once installed. 

By taking these factors into account, you’ll have a better chance of creating a beautiful finished product with minimal errors or issues along the way.

Not staggering the boards

Staggering refers to the way in which you lay down the planks, ensuring that their joints don’t line up with each other. 

When boards are not staggered, it creates a uniform pattern that is not natural and eye-catching.

Additionally, failing to stagger the boards can result in weak points throughout your flooring installation.

This means that when heavy objects or foot traffic occur in one specific area of your floor, it may cause damage or crack along those lines where two matching board ends meet.

Start with a full plank at one end of your room and use cut pieces for starting rows in subsequent sections of your installation.

Not leaving expansion gaps

Expansion gaps are essential to allow for natural movement and contraction of the flooring due to temperature and humidity changes.

It’s important to remember that laminate flooring is made up of several layers, including a core layer that can expand and contract with changes in moisture levels.

If there isn’t enough room for this movement, it can cause buckling, warping, or even damage to your subfloor.

Expansion gaps should be left around the perimeter of the room as well as any obstructions like doorways, pipes, or columns. 

The size of the gap will depend on the manufacturer’s recommendations but typically ranges between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch.

It may seem counterintuitive to purposely leave gaps in your newly installed floors but ignoring this step can lead to costly repairs down the line. 

Not sealant the perimeter correctly

While it may seem like a small detail, failing to seal the edges of your new floor can lead to long-term damage and costly repairs.

When installing laminate flooring, you should always leave a gap between the edge of your floor and any walls or fixtures in the room. 

This gap allows for natural expansion and contraction due to temperature changes or humidity levels.

Once you’ve laid down your laminate planks, it’s important to fill this gap with an appropriate sealant. This will help prevent water from seeping into the subfloor beneath your new floorboards.

Failing to apply an adequate sealant can lead to warping, buckling or even mold growth over time. Not only does this ruin the aesthetic appeal of your new floors, but it can also pose health risks for you and your family.

To avoid making this common mistake during installation, make sure that you choose a high-quality sealant product that is recommended by professionals in order to ensure proper coverage around all edges and corners of your newly installed floorboards.

Not Acclimating the Laminate Flooring

Acclimation is an essential process that many homeowners often overlook when installing laminate flooring. This mistake can lead to numerous problems, such as buckling and warping of the floorboards.

Acclimating your laminate flooring means allowing it to adjust to the temperature and humidity levels of the room where it will be installed. 

It’s crucial because if you install unacclimated planks, they may expand or contract later on due to changes in temperature or moisture levels.

The acclimation process involves leaving the unopened boxes of laminate flooring inside the room where they will be installed for at least 48 hours before installation. This period allows for proper acclimatization, ensuring that your floors remain stable and flat over time.

It’s important not to rush this process since failing to do so can result in costly repairs down the line. 

Proper acclimation also helps ensure a better overall finish, making your new floors look more polished and professional.

Taking a little extra time during installation by allowing your laminate flooring to acclimate properly is well worth it in terms of longevity and aesthetics. Remember always read manufacturer instructions!

Not Using the Right Underlayment

Using the right underlayment is essential when installing laminate flooring. Without it, you risk damaging your subfloor and reducing the lifespan of your new laminate floor.

One mistake people often make is not using an underlayment that’s suitable for their specific laminate flooring. There are different types of underlayments available, such as foam or cork, each with unique features.

Using a low-quality or incorrect type of underlayment can lead to problems like unevenness in the floor surface or increased noise levels when walking on the laminate floor.

Another common error is not taking moisture into account when selecting an underlayment. If you live in a humid area or have a basement prone to dampness, choosing an appropriate moisture barrier will prevent mold growth and warping issues in your laminate flooring.

Investing in high-quality and proper type of underlayment for your particular situation will ensure that your new laminate flooring looks great and lasts long.

Not Installing a Vapor Barrier

One of the most common mistakes people make when installing laminate flooring is not using a vapor barrier. 

A vapor barrier is an important layer that helps prevent moisture from seeping through the subfloor and affecting your new laminate floors.

Without a proper vapor barrier, moisture can build up underneath your flooring, causing it to warp or buckle over time. This can be especially problematic in areas with high humidity or frequent exposure to water, like bathrooms or kitchens.

To install a vapor barrier, you’ll need to lay down a sheet of plastic between the subfloor and the underlayment. This will help create an extra layer of protection against moisture.

It’s important to note that not all underlayments come with built-in vapor barriers, so you may need to purchase one separately. 

Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before beginning any installation process.

Taking the time to properly install a vapor barrier can save you from costly repairs down the road and ensure that your new floors remain in top condition for years to come.

Incorrectly Cutting the Flooring Planks

One of the biggest mistakes people make when installing laminate flooring is cutting the planks incorrectly. This can lead to poorly fitting pieces and uneven edges that ruin the look of your finished floor.

Firstly, it’s important to measure precisely before making any cuts. Even a small error can throw off the entire row of planks, so take your time and double-check all measurements before cutting.

Secondly, be sure to use a sharp saw blade designed for laminate flooring specifically. A dull or inappropriate saw blade will cause rough edges and splintered corners that won’t fit together properly.

Thirdly, never rush through cutting your flooring planks. Take breaks as needed, stay focused on your work, and always make sure you’re following manufacturer instructions for cutting techniques.

If you’re not confident in your ability to cut straight lines yourself or don’t have access to proper tools like a table saw or chop saw, consider hiring a professional installer who has experience with this type of work.

Remember: taking the time to cut each piece correctly will save you headaches down the road!

Not Following the Manufacturer’s Instructions

Not following the manufacturer’s instructions is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when installing laminate flooring.

Each manufacturer has specific guidelines for installation, and failure to follow them can result in major issues down the line.

Take the time to read through all manufacturer recommendations thoroughly and follow them closely for the best results.

Ignoring manufacturer guidelines can lead to serious problems with your laminate flooring. Taking shortcuts now will only cost you more in repairs later on.

Using laminate flooring under cabinets

Installing permanent items such as cabinets such as kitchen or bathroom cabinets on laminate flooring can exert a lot of pressure on them and can cause significant damage to them.

It is advised to avoid installing permanent cabinets on laminate floors.

Not protecting the floor from moisture

When installing laminate flooring, use tools to completely remove the moisture content where the floor is about to be installed.

Prolonged exposure to moisture and water can significantly damage the laminate flooring.

Not letting the floor dry

After installing the laminate floor it is necessary to give the required amount of time to let it get accustomed to the environmental pressure and temperature. 

The floor should be operational only after the specified assimilation time and not providing enough time can cause damage in the further run.

Cleaning the floor with the wrong products

The cleaning products that should be used on the laminate floors greatly vary depending on the type of floor installed. 

It is always best to contact your manufacturers to get an idea of what products to be used on your laminate floor for the cleanup.


Installing laminate flooring can be a great way to add an updated look and feel to your home. However, it’s important to avoid these common mistakes in order to ensure that the installation process goes smoothly and you’re left with beautiful, long-lasting floors. 

The success of your project depends on how well you prepare before starting work. Take time to plan ahead so that everything runs smoothly during the installation process.

Last but most importantly: if you are unsure about any aspect of the installation process or need help with any stage of it – always consult an expert!