First, install a 6 mil plastic moisture barrier over concrete. You may need to trim the planks in the first row. Cut the first plank in the second row to length. Once you've made the cut, temporarily set the plank aside, and put down the first plank in the first row. Snap the end of the third plank into the end of the first plank. Then put down a fourth plank, snapping the end into the end of the plank two. Put 1/4-inch spacers against the wall and slide the assembled planks against them.
Skill Level: Beginner
Time: 3 hours
Overlap the seams as recommended by the manufacturer, then roll out the foam underlayment. Other subfloors need only foam underlayment. Some planks come with the underlayment already attached. If your planks do, you won't need to put more down. Choose the wall you'll start flooring against and roll a single strip of underlayment along it. Roll additional underlayment as you install the planks.
If the last row will be less than 2 inches wide, you'll need to trim the first row to width to create a wider final row. Measure and calculate the width. If you need to trim the first row, add the calculated width of the final row to the width of a plank and divide by two. Cut the plank to this width. To minimize chipping on a table saw, cut the plank face up with a sharp carbide blade. To minimize chipping on a circular saw, run the saw along the bottom of the plank. While you're at the saw, cut the first plank in the second row to the length called for by the manufacturer. Cutting the plank staggers the ends of neighboring boards and keeps them from aligning. Staggering creates a stronger and more attractive floor. In this case, the manufacturer recommends a plank 32 inches long for the first plank in the second row. Once you've made the cut, temporarily set the plank aside.
If you didn't cut the tongue off the planks during earlier trimming, do so now.) It's easiest to assemble the first two rows when they're away from the wall. Start with a full-length plank, positioned with the groove facing into the room. Take the piece you cut to length earlier and put the tongue into the groove in the edge of the first plank. Different brands interlock differently, so follow the manufacturer's directions. For the brand shown here, lift one edge of the plank off the floor, and slide the tongue into the groove on the other plank. Press the plank flat to snap the pieces together.
Snap the end of the third plank into the end of the first plank, as shown. Put down a fourth plank, snapping the end into the end of the plank two, and leaving a slight gap between it and plank three. To close the gap, kneel on plank one, reach over and lift the far edge of plank three slightly. Pull the plank toward you while pushing down along the groove of plank one. The planks will snap together. Put 1/4-inch spacers against the wall and slide the assembled planks against them. When you get to the far wall, put a spacer against the wall and cut planks to fit in the opening. Put each plank in place, then snap it into the end groove as shown, using a hammer and a pull bar made by the flooring manufacturer.
If the gap between the wall and the planks is at any point wider than the molding that will cover it, you will have to trim the board to match the contour of the wall. Set a compass to the space of the largest gap, plus 1/2 inch. Guide the compass along the wall so that the marker makes a line on the planks.
Unsnap the planks and cut along the scribe line with a sabre saw using a laminate blade that is designed to minimize chipping. Reassemble the rows, put spacers against the walls and slide the plank assembly against them. Begin assembling the next rows.
Cut a plank to length so that the end will fall at least 8 inches from the end of its neighbor in the second row. Put a spacer against the wall, put a plank against the spacer, and snap the plank into the edge of the second row. Work your way across the room, laying a single row. Snap the ends of the planks together first, and then join the sides. If a gap appears anywhere along the edges, close it by tapping the edge with a block and hammer. When you reach the end of a row, cut the piece to fit and put it in place against a spacer as before. Work your way across the room, installing one row at a time. Unroll additional underlayment as needed. Butt underlayment seams, but don't overlap them. Continue across the width of the floor until the space is too narrow for a full plank.
Start by assembling a row directly on top of the row just laid. Find a piece of scrap 6 to 10 inches long. If the manufacturer makes the flooring with a bottom lip wider than the top lip, break off the bottom lip. Hold the scrap against the wall, put a pen against the other edge, and pull it along the wall to mark the planks. As before, use a saber saw to trim the planks. Nail quarter-round molding to the baseboard to cover the gap.