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Engineered Wood Floating-Floor Installation

A floating-floor installation follows a similar process to a nail-down floor but requires no nailing of the flooring planks. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your flooring and application. Most installations involve a similar process:

Unpack and acclimate the flooring planks for three to four days in the room where it will be installed, so that it may acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room. Do not store engineered wood flooring in basements or garages.
Remove shoe molding from baseboard trim, using a pry bar. You do not have to remove the baseboard trim itself.

Remove the old flooring, if necessary. Carpet and ceramic tiles floors will likely need to be removed, but a new engineered wood floor can often be laid directly over existing vinyl flooring.

Clean, level and prepare the subfloor. A smooth, flat subfloor will greatly improve the look of your new floor.

Trim door case moldings at the bottom so the new flooring can slide under. Special flush-cutting panel saws are available for this. An electric oscillating saw can also do this job easily.

Install foam underlayment as recommended by the manufacturer. This resilient foam both provides a cushion for the floor and also helps dampen sound. If sound-proofing is especially important, you may want to look for an underlayment pad specially designed for that.

Install wood spacer blocks along the wall where you will start. Each manufacturer will have a recommendation on how much space to allow. Don’t install the flooring flush against the wall; floating floors are meant to expand and contract slightly, and the gap around the walls is important for proper installation.

Set the first plank of flooring in place along one of the long walls of the room, with the tongue edge facing the baseboard. End joints on this first row of planks will likely have interlocking joints. Secure them tightly, using a wood block and hammer.

Install the planks for subsequent rows by holding each plank at an angle and fitting the tongue of the plank into the groove of the plank(s) in the previously installed row, then press the plank flat to interlock the planks. Tap the planks together, as needed, to tighten the joints, using a hammer and a wood block.

Install remaining strips of flooring the same way, randomly staggering end joints as you go.

Trim and fit planks as necessary around floor obstructions.

Install baseboard shoe molding trim, then do a final cleaning of the floor.

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