When you have carpet down and you’ve noticed that you need a change, the carpet has become overly dirty or soiled, or you just want to take advantage of another flooring material – it’s quite easy to uninstall carpet and install a flooring like laminate.

In fact, when planning on doing any flooring project on your own, wood laminate are definitely the way to go. Below, we will be going over the steps on how to remove your old yucky carpet and install a beautiful brand new laminate floor.

Laminate flooring installation is quickly becoming popular. First off, it’s a pretty easy job. Secondly, laminate flooring are eco friendly, and significantly cheaper than hardwood flooring – by about 50%.

How Much Time Does This Take?

If you have two or three people, this should take no longer than 10 hours – doesn’t include the acclimation of the laminate flooring. The 10 hours time period includes the removal of old carpet and installation of the new laminate flooring. Also, you don’t need to dig around in your garage looking for some special tools needed to install laminate flooring. You might be surprised to hear that the average cost to install laminate flooring is pretty low – it only costs about $200 to remove and install.

Pull Up The Old Carpet

Make sure that if the carpet is really old, you wear gloves and a protective mask. Rip up the entire carpet by cutting away the old carpet by using a sharp utility knife and then ripping it back. Mostly, all carpet paddings (the soft stuff under the carpet) will have tack strips so make sure you don’t get cut on these or worse – step on them. Once you remove the carpet and the padding, you can then remove the tack strips from the floor. To do this, use a pry bar to lift the strips up. When you find any glue or putty that is left behind, you would want to take a putty knife and scrape these spots up.

Remove The Baseboard

You’ll want to remove the baseboard if it’s overly dirty, old or is cheap. To remove the baseboards, use a utility knife to score the seal between the wall and the actual trim. Then, you can pull the baseboards away from the wall with a putty knife – use the putty knife rather than the pry bar, because this can damage the walls. Once you get it away from the wall, then use the pry bar.

Make Sure The Subfloor Is Level

When you install wood laminate, you install a floating floor. When you install a floating floor, the floor has to be clean, dry and level. Make sure you sweep up any dirt and dust and also remove any remnants of glue or putty on the floor with a putty knife. Sweep it again and get up all the things you scraped off, any leftover nails, or tack strips. If it feels that your floor is not level when using a level, simply use a sander to level it out. On the other hand, if you have divots, you can use a leveling compound.

Acclimate The Flooring

Whether its engineered wood, hardwood or laminate wood – you need to acclimate the wood so that it gets used to the temperature and humidity/moisture in the room. Take your wood out of the packaging and let it sit on the floor in the room you are installing it for 24 to 48 hours.

Plan Your Layout

You can use an array of installations to place your wood down. You can start off by drawing your floor plan. Choose the one that looks and feels the best to you. Laying your planks down parallel to the view of the room, for example, can make the room look larger. You also need to figure out and measure exactly where each piece is going to be laid.

Install The Underlayment

Next, you need to install the underlayment for the laminate floors – make sure you tape the seams down/together. For more information on this, check the manufacturer’s’ label to see what they suggest for your specific underlayment.

Lay Down Your First Piece

Using your plan from a few steps above, lay down your first piece to see how it will look. You will want at least ¼ inch space from the “frame” of the wood and the wall. Laminate will contract and expand so you need to make sure you have a small space enough to allow this natural process to happen. If not, then your flooring will crack. Once everything looks good, go ahead and lay your first row. Once the first row is laid you can begin to snap the pieces in. Cut pieces where you need to – such as under the trip of the doorway accordingly. Continue this down the line, working one row at a time, and snapping them into the place where you need to.

Install Your Baseboards

Next, use a stud finder to mark all of the studs in your walls. Plan where you are going to place every single baseboard around the perimeter of the room. Once you plan where you need to put the pieces so that they line up correctly, you can then use two 2 inches-15 gauge nails at each place you marked your stud. Don’t worry about the small gaps you have, the shoe molding will hide these.

Install Shoe Molding

The shoe molding is the ¼ moon wood that goes below the baseboard and adjoins to the floor and the baseboard. It’s more or less a finishing touch, but it does have some benefits construction wise too. When installing this, your shoe molding should have a flat side, this is the part that needs to be flush with the flooring.

To fasten the molding to the baseboard, use 1 1 ½ nail every 12-16 inches down the molding. This will ensure that the molding is secured to the baseboard tightly. Next, caulk the shoe molding and paint it so that it matches the baseboard. Once you do this around the entire room, you are finished. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Try following along better with visuals, check out sites like YouTube and find a video that shows you the steps on how to do this.

Clean Up

Clean up all of your tools, leftover planks, left over molding and baseboards, nails, etc. Then sweep the floor down. See any remnants of dust left behind? You can use this time to take a damp clean towel and clean up any leftover dust and debris. Just make sure you sweep beforehand because you can scrape the floor – and you definitely don’t want to do this on your very first day of having the new flooring down.

Sweeping the floor down and then using a clean damp cloth or a spongy floor mop that is damp (not sopping wet) is going to be the ideal way to clean your floors from this day forward. Make sure that whenever you or anybody spill anything, from water to wine, that it’s cleaned up immediately. Make sure that people take their shoes off before walking on this beautiful floor too. According to nalfa.com, Laminate tend to last longer than hardwood flooring about 10 years but you can stretch it a little more if taken care of properly.