Tool Tips for Installing a Laminate Floor
When you start any DIY project, you go through several stages. The first stage is deciding on your project. Then you move on to research. Next, you make a plan, get the materials and gather the tools. My husband and I recently went through these stages when we installed a laminate floor in our bedroom. We bought the flooring material – Armstrong Farmhouse Hickory laminate – read the instructions, watched several YouTube installation videos and assembled our tools.
Now we were ready – or so we thought.
We got off to a slo-o-o-ow start. We struggled installing every flooring plank. They just wouldn’t fit right. One side would go in, but the other side wouldn’t. When we tried tapping the planks into place with a block that we created, the edge of the laminate would chip. We were spending more time cleaning up chipped pieces than installing laminate boards. What we thought was going to take a couple of hours became several hours, and we didn’t have much to show for it.
Turns out, it wasn’t the way the flooring was engineered; it was a little matter of the tools we were using. When we reviewed the recommended tools before the installation, we saw that the directions called for a pull lever and a tapping block. When we looked at the picture of the tapping block online, we thought, “Who would ever buy that? We can make one ourselves.” As for the pull lever, wouldn’t any lever work? In an effort to keep our costs down, we decided we didn’t need any new tools.
After a frustrating day trying to install laminate flooring, we figured there had to be a better way! That night, we went online looking at DIY forums to see if other DIYers had similar issues. We also went to the website of a large home center and read what DIYers were saying about the tapping block. We found out we were not the only ones who tried to take the cheap way out. One review read: “The tapping block was worth its weight in gold.” That settled it. We went into town and picked up both a tapping block and pull lever.
What a difference! We went from installing three rows of laminate planks in a day to installing an entire room in a couple of hours! Using the tapping block, we put pressure on the right areas, and the planks went together easily, with no damaged pieces. We used the pull lever where the tapping block wouldn’t fit and to close any gaps when installing the last piece.
Now I know why they say that little things can make all the difference. Fifteen dollars’ worth of tools saved us a lot of time and energy. In the future, we will both pay more attention to the recommended tools for an installation project. No question – that tapping block and the pull lever were worth their weight in gold.