The essential tools for laying laminate flooring
Laying laminate flooring really is a consumer-friendly DIY project.
There’s absolutely no need to pay for a professional fitter. Even for a beginner, the installation process is quick, easy and convenient – and, of course, taking the DIY route is much cheaper.
But to do the job well, a few tools are essential.
These are all available to buy online for an affordable price. Or, if you’re trying to be particularly spend-savvy, you could perhaps hire them or borrow them from a friend.
Just make sure you have everything on our tool checklist before you start, and we guarantee – whether you’re an experienced handyman or DIY amateur – your new laminate flooring will be laid before you can say “Pass me that pull bar, I’m about to lay the last plank!”.
Laminate flooring tool checklist
Laminate flooring underlay
Not technically a tool, but essential all the same.
Unless your flooring planks come with it pre-attached, laminate flooring underlay should be at the very top of your shopping list. The extra layer of cushioning provides a wide range of benefits and, in our opinion – when laying new laminate flooring yourself – its importance cannot be overstated.
Laminate flooring is classed as a ‘floating floor’. Rather than securing the boards in place with nails or glue, they simply click together. This makes the fitting process very straightforward. But it also means, any defects or imperfections in the subfloor can have a significant impact on its finish.
Underlay can help you to avoid this issue.
By correcting any imperfections in the plywood or concrete, it creates a much smoother and flatter surface upon which to lay the planks. And will significantly improve the look and feel of the flooring.
Our current recommendation for most laminate flooring projects is Royale 7mm Professional Sonic Gold Underlay.
This is regarded as the ‘gold standard’ of laminate flooring underlay – widely used by industry professionals and architects.
Due to its high-density unique foam structure, it can successfully level out most subfloor imperfections. And it boasts a range of superior qualities, including excellent levels of sound and thermal insulation and underfoot comfort.
Available for just £7.33 per m2, Royale 7mm is an affordable and worthwhile investment – that will, undoubtedly, make the fitting process much easier and improve the final results of your project.
The purpose of a tape measure is two-fold.
Firstly, you will need it to measure up and determine exactly how much laminate underlay and laminate flooring you require. Secondly, it will be needed throughout the installation process.
Most planks can be laid exactly as they are, in their full length. However, end pieces and pieces that are fitted around obstacles (such as doorways and radiators etc.) will need to be cut to size. Be sure to measure these pieces accurately with a tape measure and mark the plank with a pencil or marker.
This isn’t something you’re likely to find in your average home toolkit. But it is one of the key tools for laying laminate flooring – allowing you to cut planks to size with ease. And with a range of models available to suit most budgets, if you don’t have one, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment.
Unlike a handheld or reciprocating saw – which may scratch the surface of your laminate – a jigsaw will cut neatly through the plank, with minimal effort on your behalf and zero airborne dust.
Rubber mallet and tapping block
To ‘persuade’ the laminate to click together successfully, without damaging or chipping the surface of the planks, we highly recommend using a rubber mallet and tapping block.
Tapping blocks are specifically shaped to conform to the tongue-and-groove edge of the laminate. As such, they sit tightly against the edge – and create the perfect spot for you to tap with the mallet.
However, if your budget is limited, an ordinary steel hammer and a small, square off-cut of wood would work just as well. Just never hit the tongue-and-groove edge directly with the hammer!
The fiddliest part of the laminate installation process (by far) is laying the last plank in a row – but a pull bar can certainly help with this. In tight spots, there’s unlikely to be enough space for you to use your tapping block successfully. However, this handy hook-shaped tool is the perfect replacement.
Simply hook the bar over the top of the final plank and use the rubber mallet to strike the section sticking up at a 90˚ angle. This will gently encourage the planks together and create a flush finish – without any hassle.
Rule 101 of laying laminate flooring – you must leave a small space around the edge of the room, as the individual planks will expand and contract due to changes in temperature and humidity.
Using a laminate underlay with a damp proof membrane, and allowing the planks to acclimatise, can help to minimise the effects of expansion – but it won’t prevent it entirely. So to avoid any buckling post-installation, it’s important to leave at least a 10mm gap around the perimeter of the room.
To ensure this gap is consistently the same size, it’s worth using flooring spacers. Simply butt these against the skirting board, both at the top of the plank and at regular intervals along the wall.
Lay your laminate flooring with the help of our pros
If you’re preparing to lay your own laminate flooring and would like a little extra guidance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our in-house experts are knowledgeable and experienced in this area and always happy to help.
We can provide additional advice on laminate flooring fitting tools, recommend the best laminate flooring and laminate flooring underlay for your project and even talk you through the installation process step by step. Just give us a call on 0203 887 0994 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
- Alex Illidge