If you’re already a fan of DIY tasks around the house, then installing the laminate flooring yourself can be a fun activity. That is, if you also have the right tools. To make sure you have everything ready, here’s a list of the tools you’ll need.
Lots of premium laminate flooring options promise an easy time of locking the planks together, but it’s not as easy as they might indicate. It’s not like putting together a child’s jigsaw puzzle. Often, you have to put together the pieces with a bit more force.
Regular hammers can work, though you need to take care. You’re better off with the rubber mallet, which is powerful enough to get the pieces in place while the rubber minimizes the risk of damage. Also, using the rubber mallet makes less of a racket than a regular hammer.
When you look at the laminate planks closely, you’ll find that the edges of the tongue-and-groove locking system may be too fragile if you hit them directly with the mallet. This is true even with the rubber mallet.
That’s why you need the tapping block. It’s shaped to conform to the tongue-and-groove system, so the tapping block sits tightly against the laminate plank. Then you use the mallet to tap the block so it moves the piece into its proper place, tightly locked against the adjacent piece.
It’s a bit like using a chisel and mallet to carve a bit of wood (or marble).
When you’re laying down the laminate planks on your floor, eventually you’ll end up with the walls to deal with. The space by the wall will most likely be too small for your laminate planks, and that means you’ll need to cut down the planks to make them fit the available space.
Choosing the best laminate cutter can be a bit complicated, as it depends on a lot of factors. You’ll need one that’s easy to use, and that gives you accurate cuts. Also, you’ll want a blade that can deal with the laminate, so that you’re not replacing the blade too often. That’s just tedious.
You may also want to go with models that minimize dust and noise. Some commercial-grade cutters may offer quick and easy results, but they may be too expensive for average households. Besides, if you’re only dealing with a few planks, then you don’t really need a professional cutter.
Tape Measure (Plus Pencil)
The tape measure is always a necessary tool for any household, and it’s especially useful for laminate flooring installation. At the very least, you can use it to measure the room so you know just how many pieces of laminate flooring planks you need.
You’ll also need the tape measure to measure how much of the planks to cut when you need them to fit beside the walls. Then you can use the pencil to indicate the cut marks. If you’re working on darker laminate planks, then you may want to switch to a fine-line white marker instead.
If you’re into carpentry, then you might already have this versatile tool. It’s basically a specialized ruler for getting accurate 45-degree and 90-degree angles. You can also extend, retract, and lock the blade so it works as both a marking guide and a depth gauge.
Most of the time, you use the combination square to make your square cutting mark lines, on the ends of the pieces of the laminate planks you’re cutting to fit by the walls.
Sure, you generally use the tapping block and mallet to set the planks together from end to end. But that won’t work when you’re laying down the cut planks along the edge of the floor where it meets the wall. Basically, it’s because you just don’t have the room to swing the mallet properly.
But that’s not a problem with a pull bar, which looks rather like a simple hook. One end of the pull bar is bent one way, and the other end is bent the other way. If you lay this straight, it looks like a very tall “Z” letter.
You use the one end to engage the end of the laminate plank, and then you strike the other end of the pull bar to drive the tool.
It’s also known as a false square or a sliding T bevel. Whatever name you use for it, it’s a carpenter’s tool that works as an adjustable gauge so you can set and transfer angles.
This is very different from a T-square, which is limited to setting just a 90-degree angle. With the bevel gauge, you can adjust it to measure and set any angle, so you can transfer the angle to another piece.
This works nicely when you need to cut uncommon angles for your planks, so they set nicely against the wall.
Handheld Drill and Spade Bit
We put this last, since you generally don’t need it. You only need it when you’re working around pipes that come up through the floor. This tool will let you drill the clean holes on the laminate planks that will surround the plank.
All in all, it’s a rather long list of tools, right? But if you’re already a DIY enthusiast, then you probably have most of these tools already in your arsenal. That means you can get working right away!