How to Install Laminate Flooring on Concrete
Fall '22 One Room Challenge - Week 3: Paint & Flooring
This week in the ORC was quite a bit slower than last week! I ended up with two kiddos fighting a cold which kept me out of the room more than in it!
Luckily, we were able to carve out a few hours to get our new flooring down. This post is all about the paint color we choose, how we settled on the laminate flooring we purchased, and how to install laminate flooring on concrete.
Picking a Paint Color
In my opinion, you can do so much for a room simply by giving it a fresh coat of paint! Since our playroom is in our basement and does not have any windows I knew I wanted a paint color that was light and bright. I put together a general color scheme for my room when I worked up my design plan. For a moment I did consider a lighter white color but quickly jumped back to one of my favorite Sherwin Williams colors Agreeable Gray.
For my flooring it was important to me to find a nice budget friendly flooring. I also wanted something durable, that could stand against lots of floor play. Additionally, I wanted something that would bring some warmth to the room, but not too dark! I was still worried about ensuring that I kept the room bright since it has no natural light.
The first choice I needed to make was what type of flooring to use. I was considering a vinyl plank or a laminate plank. Vinyl and laminate flooring are very similar in look and the way they are installed. For me the main difference was the laminate flooring had a lot more dimension and texture than the vinyl flooring in the same price range. I also preferred that laminate was a thicker plank and lastly, since this was going in a basement that I would be able to purchase a higher quality underlayment. So I went with a laminate plank floor!
I was in between two floors one had a lot of color variation and the other was more uniform. I was totally torn but ultimately went with Traffic Master Laminate in the color Anniston Oak, which had less color variation. This flooring matched great with my wall colors and I also liked the warmth the color would bring to the room.
Installing Laminate Floors
To lay your laminate flooring you will need a few different tools.
- You will want some spacers to start your floor, I made my own from scrap wood but you can buy some plastic ones if you’d like.
- You will need a rubber mallet to to ensure a tight click-lock joint between each plank.
- You will need either a jigsaw, table saw, of laminate floor cutter to cut your planks to length. You will need a jigsaw for some more intricate (corner or doorway cuts). Make sure you have a new ultra fine jigsaw blade to make cuts much easier!
- You may also want to have on hand a rubber block and pull bar incase you run into a troublesome joint.
Step 1: Lay the Underlayment
The underlayment I went with is the Roberts AirGuard 5-in-1. This product provide additional cushioning to the floor as well as moisture and mold protection. It was very easy to use and a must have for installing laminate floors on concrete!
To start the underlayment you unroll as much as you need to go across your room. You can use the side with the adhesive and stick it to your wall (if you removed your baseboards). To add additional sections you will use the adhesive line to attached to the previously laid underlayment. The overlap for this underlayment is +4 inches.
Step 2: Begin the First Row
Start by taping some small wood spacers to your wall. You will want to space according to the manufactures recommendation of your floor, for me I used 1/4 inch spacers.
Begin laying the first row on the longest wall. Start in the left corner and work to the right. Lay down a full-size plank against the spacers in the corner.
As you work, lock each piece together using a rubber mallet. For some joints you may need to us a pull bar to ensure a tight fit with not gaps.
Step 3: Plan & Lay the remaing rows
Once you have completed your first row the other rows should go together rather quickly. You will want to make sure you are not aligning joints but instead alternating the size of your starting plank. You can use a table saw or circular saw to cut the laminate to fit the space need. However, if your budget allows I highly recommend purchasing a Laminate Floor Cutter, this made our cuts so much easier!
Make sure you cut the outside part of the plank (the side that will go against the wall) so that you leave the click-lock groove to attached to the other plank.
Step 4: Lay your Final row
Most likely you will need to rip the last row of planks to finish off your installation. The easiest way to make these long cuts is to use a table saw and run the planks through to cut them to the width you need for your last room.
For me, I needed to rip my last row down as well as make some additional cuts for the boards to fit around my door frame. I used my jigsaw to make cuts around the frame and a table saw to cut the width of the planks down.
My room is about 250 sq.ft. and from start to finish it took us about 4 hours to finish laying the floors! I really love the ease of laying click-lock flooring!
Tips and Tricks that Helped Me
A few tips for how to install laminate flooring on concrete. My First Recommendation, if you have it in your budget, get yourself a Laminate Flooring Cutter (can also be used for vinyl flooring. This is such an easy tool to use and creates much (MUCH) less of a mess than cutting the laminate with a a circular saw or table saw.
For me this one is a bit of a lesson learned! Be sure to use spacers on the first row of a nook/jet out. I started my floor on the farthest wall in my room which is about 12 1/2 feet long, but half way down the room I have a nook that added an additional 4 feet to the length of my row. Initially, I did not block this row and as I continued I could tell there was a twist in the floor which was making it hard to click-lock the planks together. I had to go back and force a spacer before the first room in this nook.
Use a jigsaw with an ultra fine finish wood blade. Some of my cuts were very long, I also had some corner cuts, and an angled cut around door trim. I invested in a new blade for my jigsaw in preparation for putting our flooring down.
*Disclosure: We only recommend products that we regularly use ourselves and all opinions expressed here are our own.
How to Install Laminate Flooring on Concrete
- Rubber Mallet
- Jigsaw (with an ultra fine finish wood blade)
- Rubber Block
- Pull Bar
- Laminate Floor Cutter (optional but highly recommended!)
- Lay the Underlayment
- Begin the First Row
- Plan & Lay the remaining rows
- Lay the Final row