3 Methods to Install Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring can be installed using three main methods. The first is the popular “Click and Lock” or floating method, where planks interlock without the need for adhesive. The second method involves gluing the laminate directly to the subfloor for a stable, permanent installation. Lastly, some laminate products come with pre-attached underlayment, simplifying the process. Choose the method that aligns with your preferences and flooring requirements.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore three methods to install laminate flooring, providing step-by-step instructions, tips, and considerations for each approach.

laminate flooring in a living room with a couch and coffee table

Click and Lock Method

The click and lock method, also known as the floating method, is a widely adopted technique for its simplicity and versatility. Laminate planks feature interlocking tongues and grooves, allowing them to seamlessly click and lock into place. This floating nature enables the floor to expand and contract, making it an excellent choice for various environments.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Begin by preparing a clean, dry, and level subfloor.
  2. Acclimate the laminate planks in the room for at least 48 hours.
  3. Lay down a suitable underlayment to provide cushioning and moisture protection.
  4. Plan the layout, considering the room’s dimensions and avoiding small, narrow pieces at walls.
  5. Use a saw to cut planks as needed, keeping a 1/4-inch gap around walls for expansion.
  6. Click and lock the planks together, starting in one corner and working across the room.
  7. Use a tapping block and rubber mallet to secure the planks without causing damage.
  8. Install transitions, such as T-moldings or reducers, where the laminate meets other flooring types.

Advantages and Considerations: The click-and-lock method offers a DIY-friendly installation process and allows for easy repairs or replacements. However, it may not be suitable for high-moisture areas, and the floor may feel less rigid compared to other methods.

Glue Down Method

The glue-down method involves adhering laminate planks directly to the subfloor using the recommended adhesive. This method provides a more permanent and stable installation, making it suitable for high-traffic areas.

Detailed Instructions

  1. Ensure a clean, dry, and level subfloor.
  2. Apply the recommended adhesive using a trowel.
  3. Lay the laminate planks into the adhesive, ensuring a snug fit.
  4. Use spacers to maintain expansion gaps along the walls.
  5. Wipe off excess adhesive immediately with a damp cloth.
  6. Allow the adhesive to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Install transitions as needed for a polished finish.

Benefits and Considerations: The glue-down method creates a solid and secure floor, suitable for areas with heavy foot traffic. However, it requires precision during installation, and repairs or replacements may be challenging.

Pre-attached Underlayment

Some laminate flooring comes with a pre-attached underlayment, streamlining the installation process. This built-in underlayment provides added cushioning and moisture protection.

Installation Steps

  1. Prepare the subfloor as usual.
  2. Acclimate the laminate planks in the room.
  3. Lay the planks directly on the prepared subfloor.
  4. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for specific installation guidelines.

Pros and Cons: The pre-attached underlayment simplifies installation, saving time and effort. However, it may not be suitable for all environments, and the level of cushioning may vary between products.

Choosing the Right Method

When deciding on the installation method, consider factors such as the type of laminate flooring, room conditions, and personal preferences. The click and lock method is ideal for DIYers, while the glue down method offers a more permanent solution for high-traffic areas. Laminate with pre-attached underlayment provides a convenient option, but suitability depends on specific requirements.

Tips for a Successful Installation

To ensure a successful installation, follow these essential tips:

  1. Acclimate laminate planks in the installation room for at least 48 hours.
  2. Prepare the subfloor meticulously, ensuring it is clean, dry, and level.
  3. Use the right tools, including a saw, tapping block, rubber mallet, and spacers.
  4. Avoid common mistakes, such as neglecting expansion gaps or using the wrong adhesive.


In conclusion, mastering laminate flooring installation involves choosing the right method, following meticulous steps, and implementing proper maintenance. Whether opting for the click and lock, glue down, or pre-attached underlayment method, each approach has its advantages and considerations. By understanding the nuances of each installation method, homeowners can confidently transform their spaces with durable and visually appealing laminate flooring.

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