How to Install Laminate Flooring…and Look Like a DIY Genius While You Do It

how to lay laminate flooring main image

When it’s time to install flooring at your home, we’re guessing your wife may have an idea or two (or 20). She will want something that looks great, has plenty of durability, is water-resistant, and is easy to clean.

As a dad who will be doing this as a DIY project, you also will want a type of flooring that fills all those needs … while being easy to install. When the floor looks great and is easy to install, you’re going to be one of those dads who looks like a genius with a minimal amount of work. (This is information you should keep to yourself; geniuses never show how the sauce is made, even if they mix metaphors occasionally.)

Laminate floats above the subfloor, as it does not need glue or mortar-like other types of flooring. Laminate is available in planks and tiles that snap together. It’s not as easy as helping your 2-year-old assemble a 12-piece jigsaw puzzle, but it’s close. A laminate floor typically looks like hardwood (or occasionally stone), so it will create a stylish finish.

As an added bonus, laminate is not expensive, at least compared to hardwood or slate flooring.

When you’re wondering how to install laminate flooring, it will depend on the style of laminate you select. Laminate floors typically are pretty easy to install, but some models are even easier than others. (Again, keep this information to yourself.)

Installing laminate floor isn’t as cool of a DIY project as making a smoke breathing Godzilla Christmas tree or making a virtual Splash Mountain ride, but we’re sure your kids will forgive you this time … especially after your wife tells them to because she really wants her damn new floors.

How to Install Laminate Flooring

1-Pick the Flooring You Want

Beyond picking the faux wood or faux stone style that you want in your laminate, you will need to select the format you want to use.

Snap-together planks are common. They have dimensions like real wood planks, so they’re easy to handle.

Even easier are laminate tiles. These are square-shaped, connecting through a hidden tab and loop system on the bottom. Because of the shape, they don’t look quite as realistic as planks, but they’re so f***ing easy to install, you may not care.

If you’d like to see how easy the laminate planks are to install, check out this how to install laminate flooring video from Home Depot. Or if you’re more interested in the square tile style, check out a how to install laminate floor video from Greatmats.

2-Measure the Area

Now for the sh*tty step. There will be math. Apologies.

Measure the space that you need to cover, length, and width. Multiply the two, and you’ll have the square footage. Any laminate plank or tile product you’re considering should tell you how many square feet it will cover per case.

Always purchase 10% to 15% more square footage than you have measured. We’re not saying you’re going to mis-cut a piece or six, but it never hurts to have a little extra on hand, just in case.

3-Prepare the Area

When wondering how to lay laminate flooring correctly, you should remove all the baseboards and quarter round molding (trim) in the room. Do this carefully, as you will likely reuse most of the pieces.

To work around door jambs and molding at the doorways, you may want to cut the door molding with a jamb saw at the same height as the laminate. Then the laminate can slide underneath, rather than trying to cut the laminate to fit around the door molding’s odd shape.

If there is carpet in the room, it will have to come up, along with any glue or tack boards or staples. (Just a heads up: This often is a giant pain in the ass. Why the person who installed your carpeting decided to use 17 gallons of glue to hold it down will always be a mystery, but you get to suffer because of it.)

Once you’re down to the cement or hardwood floor, look for holes or other damage. You may need a patching compound. The subfloor doesn’t have to be perfectly level, but you don’t want major flaws in it. Sweep the subfloor to remove as many stray particles as possible.

Then place the cases of laminate in the room for at least 24 hours. This allows them to adjust to the humidity and temperature of the room. (And if it’s that room in your house that your wife is always complaining is too cold, you may want to wait 48 hours.)

4-Install Underlayment

Some laminate has an underlayment attached to the backside, which serves as a vapor barrier. Tiles may have a plastic base that lifts the laminate off the subfloor, allowing airflow underneath in an environment with quite a bit of moisture.

Otherwise, you can purchase your own roll of underlayment to place down before installing the laminate floor on top.

Don’t glue down the underlayment. It can just lay on the subfloor or you can use a little bit of vinyl tape. (The next person who tears up this floor will give you silent thanks that you did not use glue.)

5-Cut the First and Last Rows

OK, more math. Sorry.

You don’t want a full-width plank or tile along the first wall, only to end up needing a plank an inch wide on the final wall. So figure out how many rows of planks you’ll need by dividing the total width of the room by the width of the planks or tiles. (Just a heads up, the manufacturers of these planks nearly always give them non-standard widths that are tough to calculate, like 7-2/3 inches or 8-1/16 inches. Sigh.)

Figure out how to split the difference between the first and last rows, so the planks look normal. For example, let’s say the room is 98 inches wide, and the planks are 8 inches wide. You can make 11 full-width rows in the middle of the room for 88 inches. That leaves 10 inches remaining for the first and last rows. Split the difference, and cut the planks for the first and last rows at 5 inches wide. (Dear laminate flooring manufacturers: See how much easier the math is without fractions?)

Use a circular hand saw or a table saw to cut the planks. You can cut some tiles with a sharp utility knife.

6-Install the Floor

Finally, it’s time to install the floor. Place the first row along the wall, popping the tiles or planks together as per the instructions for your particular model.

Leave a gap of 1/4 to 3/8 inches between the edge of the floor and the wall, so the laminate has space to expand with changes in heat and humidity. (You can purchase spacers to help with this process.) Now, if you live in an older home, chances are roughly 0% that the wall will be straight. So do your best to leave some sort of tiny gap between the floor and wall for expansion.

When you reach the end of the room, you’ll almost certainly have to cut one of the planks or tiles length-wise. Take the piece that you cut off from the first row and use it to start the second row. (Always start each row along the same wall.)

Continue working across the room, popping the tiles in place. Take care that the seams on the vertical ends of the planks (the short end) do not line up closely from row to row. The vertical seams should be staggered so they’re at least 6 inches apart. You may have to cut the first plank in the row a second time to stagger the seams.

Replace the baseboard and the quarter round molding you removed earlier. (If you broke it earlier, it was probably time to buy some new pieces anyway.)

Best Products for How to Lay Laminate Flooring

TrafficMASTER Laminate Flooring

This style of laminate plank costs about 89 cents per square foot of coverage, so it’s extremely affordable. It also has multiple faux wood stain colors available. (And hand-scraped means looks worn in, vintage, in a good way. We know you’re asking that right now, but trust us, she likes this.)

It’s easy to install and looks great, but it does not give you an attached underlayment.

Buy for $22 per case on Home Depot

Greatmats Max Tile Laminate Flooring

You’ll be able to pick from a few different stain colors with Max Tile, and it delivers a highly durable surface that will stand up to kids and pets.

These laminate tiles are ideal in a basement that often has moisture seepage, as the tiles raise slightly away from the floor, allowing air to flow underneath them. You won’t need an underlayment.

Buy for $187 per case on Amazon

Floorlot 3 mm Laminate Flooring Underlayment

This roll of laminate flooring underlayment gives you a good value, as it also serves as a vapor barrier. This roll is 200 sq ft, so you’ll likely need multiple rolls.

Fair warning: If you have little kids in the house, they may want you to stop after putting down the underlayment, saying they love the pretty blue floor.

Buy for $40 on Amazon

Rust-Oleum Concrete Repair Products

Don’t let a severe crack or hole in the floor ruin your laminate flooring installation. Patch any holes, give this about 8 hours to dry, and you’ll be ready to begin laying out the floor.

Hopefully, you won’t fix the subfloor so perfectly that you no longer want to install the laminate.

Buy for $23 on Amazon

DeWalt 10-Inch Table Saw

It may be overkill to purchase a table saw just to trim enough laminate for one room, but if you have a few other home improvement jobs that can make use of this table saw, it’ll give you a good level of performance. Plus, having a table saw in your collection of power tools is just damn cool.

Buy for $277 on Amazon

DeWalt 6.5-Inch Cordless Circular Saw

It’s not a table saw, but it still works well for cutting your laminate flooring planks. It’s smaller and easier to maneuver (and store) if this is the only DIY you’re going to get to this year. Wear safety goggles, as it will kick up a lot of dust and shards.

Buy for $68 on Amazon

WORX Pegasus Multi-Function Portable Work Table

Every dad can use a sturdy work table when laying laminate flooring or for other projects. This WORX table makes it easy to clamp the pieces securely as you’re cutting them. And it folds down to a small size for storage, which your wife will love … until the next honey-do list project is ready to start.

Buy for $132 on Amazon

Workpro Folding Utility Knife

With extremely thin laminate planks or tiles, you can use the utility knife and a straight edge to create a precise cut. And because it’s a folding knife, it’s a lot safer to have around the house. You just know the kids are going to try to grab it.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

Komelon 25-Foot Power Tape

To figure out how to install laminate flooring correctly, you will need to do math, and you will need to take measurements. Ugh. Maybe your 8-year-old could help you with some new math.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

Unilin Laminate Flooring Installation Kit

Sure, you could just eyeball the expansion gap you should have with your install laminate floor project. Or you could purchase this installation kit with its wall spacers and tapping tool and do it correctly. Your choice, but it does make the project a little bit easier.

Buy for $22 on Home Depot

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

(All finished flooring photos from Home Depot)

GoT Prequel ‘House of the Dragon’ Is Set to Begin Production

GoT Prequel Starts Filming
(Twitter/GameOfThrones)

HBO is sitting pretty right now. Sure, some of their shows have been delayed due to COVID (come back, Succession!), but with the launch of HBO Max and the news that 2021 will be filled with movie premieres – from Wonder Woman to Dune to The Matrix 4 and more – they shouldn’t be wanting for new content.

And then there’s this: more Game of Thrones is coming.

Maybe not in 2021, but soon, especially now that we know the much-anticipated prequel is ready to begin in production!

Yesterday, the official Game of Thrones Twitter account tweeted out the news that House of the Dragon, the Westeros set prequel that takes place centuries before the original series and focuses on the reign of the Targaryen family, will actually get rolling in 2021.

Not much is known about the show yet – we’ve covered the tidbits here and there, including some casting calls that gave hints about potential characters – but anyone who’s read George R.R. Martin’s books knows that there’s plenty of exciting material to mine.

We do know that Paddy Considine (Hot Fuzz, The Bourne Ultimatum, recently seen on HBO’s limited series The Third Day and The Outsider) landed the lead role of King Viserys I, the father of Rhaenyra and Aegon II and the ruler of House Targaryen some 300 years before Daenerys arrived.

He’s described as “a warm, kind, and decent man” who “only wishes to carry forward his grandfather’s legacy.” As we know, “good men do not necessarily make for great kings.” Just ask Ned Stark.

Shooting should begin very soon. Pray to the gods that we get this show before the end of 2021!

12 Funniest Parenting Tweets of the Week 12/04/20

Funniest Parenting Tweets of the Week 12/04/20
(Getty/sarahwolfephotography Twitter/simoncholland)

COVID or not, the festive season is upon us. The temperature’s dropping, tiny lights brighten even the darkest streets, and honestly, it feels good. As with any event involving gifts and/or sweets, kids pick up the scent like a bloodhound hot on the tail of their prey. They’re amped up, as they should be. Despite the countless curveballs this year has thrown, the holidays are a time for celebration – not even a pandemic is getting in the way of that. Fortunately, the parents of Twitter are here once again with their most hilarious takes to dampen the pre-holiday stress, and we’ve rounded up 12 of our favorites just for you.

HapPre-Holidays!

Just imagining it did the trick

We’re hovering around 10% festive

It’s a beautiful thing

At least once they’re asleep, it’ll be a good 3-4 hours before they need a glass of water

Progress is progress

Well why did you tell her if she already knew

There’s no coming back from that

Wise beyond their years

To be fair, this would also work on me

The hunter and its prey

Works every time

Peppa is over 7 ft tall, that’s honestly incredible

Did you miss last week’s funniest parenting tweets?

Father Figures: Daddy Snuggles

“I’m an ER Nurse… my job is exhausting most times.

My patients show up on the worst day of their life, sometimes it is the beginning of one’s life and the end of another’s. Sometimes I worry that when I’m at work, my son Keagan isn’t getting enough nurturing, enough snuggles.

I’m upset that I miss bedtime, our snuggle time, but then, I log in to the Nest cam when I have a minute at work and see this… my son deserves snuggle time from his daddy too… it makes work a bit easier knowing he gets this no matter who puts him to bed.

My husband is a US Marine. He literally gives 100% at work and for his country, and 100% at home to his family and me. There will never be enough words, enough thank you’s from me to him.

I’m lucky, I’m grateful, and I’m happy… even when he drives me nuts!”

– Ainne McAllister

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively Donate $500,000 To Help at-Risk Youth in Canada

Ryan and Blake Donate
(Getty/BG024/Bauer-Griffin)

We’ll never grow tired of watching celebrities use their fame and fortune for good. If there’s anyone who’s fully embodied the spirit of giving back, it’s Deadpool star and all-around sweetheart, Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds is generous with his financial donations, and his generosity with his time further demonstrates his compassion for others. Reynolds uses his privileged position to brighten the lives of his fans, his crew, and anyone lucky enough to cross his path.

This time, giving back is a family affair for Ryan Reynolds and his wife of eight years, Blake Lively. Canadian-born Reynolds has always had a soft spot for his home country, supporting a number of Canadian charities over the years. Most recently, Reynolds and Lively made a generous donation to Covenant House, an organization that supports homeless, at-risk, and trafficked youth. In total, the couple donated $500,000 to the incredible organization – $250,000 to Covenant House Vancouver, and $250,000 to the center’s Toronto location.

“Ryan and Blake truly understand that young people who are facing homelessness deserve unconditional love and absolute respect,” Krista Thompson, CEO of Covenant House Vancouver said in a press release. “Their generous donation and compassionate support mean so much to Covenant House and we are truly grateful for their continued friendship. Just like Ryan and Blake, we hope this gift highlights the value of each and every youth; and inspires others to open their hearts to those struggling with the crisis of homelessness.”

In normal times, the work Covenant House does is extremely taxing. Taking in youth who have fled unsafe situations, who often come in with severe trauma, is a monumental feat. Without safe havens like Covenant House, those who walk through their doors would have little chance at the security and support it takes to recover from their trauma. Reynolds and Lively encourage others to donate as well, and an Instagram post by the organization explains that donations will be matched through the month of December.

According to the Covenant House website, the services they provide are extensive. While Covenant House operates as a crisis shelter with transitional housing, they also provide counseling, health care, education, job training, and so much more to 16-24-year-olds regardless of their backgrounds. Ultimately, Covenant House provides every individual they serve with a much-needed sense of security, and perhaps more importantly, a sense of hope.

“They do the work of heroes,” Reynolds said. “For us, helping Covenant House this way isn’t a donation, but an investment in compassion and empathy; something the world needs more of. The young people who pass through the doors of Covenant House more often than not have a story marked by extraordinary trauma. They are so much more than that trauma. They have so much to offer the world. Matching this gift is saying you believe in them. You believe in the power of compassion to transform the trajectory of a human being.”

Every 2021 Warner Bros Movie Will Hit Theaters and HBO Max on the Same Day

The Matrix 4 What We Know So Far
(Warner Bros)

It seems the tide has finally turned.

After a year of trying to figure out what to do with their blockbusters during the pandemic, which resulted in a mixed bag of approaches from various studios, including some movies being released into theaters, some movies being available on streaming for a fee, and many movies being pushed to 2021, Wonder Woman changed everything.

Last month, Warner Bros made the decision to release Wonder Woman to both theaters and HBO Max on the same day, and apparently, they’ve decided to move forward with that approach for every other movie they’re releasing in 2021.

This means that Dune, Matrix 4, and everything else on their 2021 slate (which, as of now, includes “The Little Things,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Tom & Jerry,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Those Who Wish Me Dead,” “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” “In The Heights,” “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Reminiscence,” “Malignant,” “The Many Saints of Newark,” “King Richard,” and “Cry Macho”) will hit theaters and HBO Max on the day of their release. No specific release dates have been made available as of yet.

“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” WarnerMedia Chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff said in a statement statement “No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do. We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021.”

This news is a double-edged sword for movie fans. On one hand, it will be amazing, convenient, and cheap to have access to these films in their living rooms, especially for those who already have an HBO Max subscription. On the other hand, this is terrible news for those who enjoy the movie theater experience, – especially for huge superhero movies like Wonder Woman 1984 and The Suicide Squad, and big sci-fi action flicks like the Matrix sequel and Dune – as it’s likely to further reduce revenue for an industry that has already been flattened by the pandemic.

They’re trying to spin this as good news for theaters, which, if they’re even open in 2021, may face audiences reluctant to gather inside them.

“With this unique one-year plan, we can support our partners in exhibition with a steady pipeline of world-class films, while also giving moviegoers who may not have access to theaters or aren’t quite ready to go back to the movies the chance to see our amazing 2021 films,” Sarnoff continued. “We see it as a win-win for film lovers and exhibitors, and we’re extremely grateful to our filmmaking partners for working with us on this innovative response to these circumstances.”

So far this hybrid model is exclusive to Warner Bros; no word on whether other studios will do something similar (not every studio has its own streaming service). 2021 is going to be an interesting year for movies, and could well set the course for a future of in-home entertainment from which the multiplex experience never recovers. But as 2020 has shown us, life is unpredictable.

At least we’ll have some exciting movies to watch while we wait to see how it shakes out.

The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda Make Their Fortnite Debut in Season 5

Mandalorian and Baby Yoda Fortnite
(Epic Games)

Fortnite’s Chapter 2: Season 5 kicked off this week and with it has arrived one of the most beloved bounty hunter dads in the galaxy.  Sorry, no, it’s not ‘Jeans Guy’ (but maybe he’ll show up at some point).

Disney +’s insanely popular The Mandalorian made his debut and he looks very slick.  The good news is you’ll unlock him immediately with the purchase of the new Zero Point Battle Pass.  The bad news is if you want to unlock The Child (aka Baby Yoda) to follow you around, you’re going to have to hit level 100 in the Battle Pass.  That’s gonna take some time.

With this new bounty hunter themed Fortnite season, there comes an additional six original characters to unlock in the Battle Pass, new areas to explore on the island, weapons to use (like Mandos Sniper Rifle), and quests and bounties to complete for rewards.

My kids and I go through Fortnite “phases” where certain seasons of the game hold our attention while others don’t, but so far we’re having a blast with this new one.  The squad is back together, we’re working on our first Season 5 Victory Royale, and things are looking promising.  If it doesn’t hold their attention for as long as it takes me to unlock that adorable little Yoda lookalike though, well, I’m just gonna have to fly solo as Mando does.  This is the way.

You can download it here and if don’t want to fly solo, definitely be sure to check out The Dad Gaming and The Dad Gaming – Fortnite on Facebook to join up with others!

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

Forget the Monolith, Germany’s 7-Foot Woody Has Vanished

Germany's Penis is Missing
(Getty/picture alliance)

2020 is the gift that keeps on giving… and taking away.

We had murder hornets until we didn’t (seriously, when was the last time someone mentioned them?). We had a parallel universe until we didn’t. We even had a mysterious monolith, until we didn’t.

Today we bring you news of a disappearing monolith of another kind, and hopefully, this one won’t be coming (back) anytime soon.

Fresh on the heels of the silver monolith showing up in Utah, then vanishing, only for a similar one to appear in Romania, and then California, a different erection has made the news. This one was in Germany.

Four years ago, someone inexplicably planted a 6-foot wooden penis on Grünten Mountain in Bavaria, Germany. It became a landmark for tourists and hikers and perverts (probably?); it even appeared on Google Maps! At least it did, until earlier this week when it vanished.

According to the German paper, Allgäuer Zeitung police are attempting to locate the lost erection.

This isn’t the first time there have been shenanigans with the shaft; apparently, it was knocked over back in November, but maybe it had just gotten old and tired.

Many think the enormous wang was placed there as a prank by college students, but what was once a funny joke has now become an actual beloved photo opportunity, and everyone wants it back.

May I suggest sprinkling some Viagra on the ground?

A Third Monolith Appears in California

California Monolith
(Twitter/NorbertElekes)

It’s baaa-aaack!

For the past week or so, many of us have been captivated by the saga of the silver monolith. It first appeared in Utah, this strange silver structure that was just sticking out of the ground. People hardly had a chance to compare it to the black monolith in Kubrick’s sci-fi classic 2001 before it suddenly disappeared. (The New York Times learned that some guys just took it down, though it seems like they were not involved in erecting it.)

Then, it suddenly reappeared. At least, a monolith just like it did, emerging on a hillside in Romania.

Speculation was rampant. Was it an art installation? An alien message? A prank like the giant woody in Germany? No one came forward to admit it was a Banksy-style guerilla art project, and no UFOs descended to claim ownership of this strange piece of metal.

And now there’s a third monolith. This time, in California!

A hiker on Pine Mountain in Atascadero, California stumbled upon it on Wednesday morning. It’s ten-feet tall and looks just like the other two: stainless steel, about 10 feet tall. Also, like the other two, there are no clues as to who or what put it there.

Unlike the other two, this one is merely standing on the ground, as opposed to being dug into it, according to Atascadero News perhaps the aliens were interrupted before they could finish installing it.

The world will be watching to see if – and when? – this one disappears, and we’ll all be waiting to see if we get an explanation for these bizarre monoliths that are sprouting up across the globe.

One cynical tweeter already has a guess:

I’m not sure if I’d be annoyed or relieved to learn this is all promotion for 2001 Part 3: The Monolith’s Revenge!

The Dad Of The Month, November 2020: John Kay

(Photos courtesy of Heather Kay)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for November 2020: John Kay. Since becoming a dad, John has exhibited a tangible excitement for fatherhood and a willingness to go above and beyond, even during a worldwide pandemic. His wife, Heather, couldn’t help gushing about him in her nomination:

“A good dad is hard to come by – John is the glue that holds it all together. He’s a one-of-a-kind dad. He was born for this. He embodies what every young boy needs in a father.

“We have a 2.5-year-old son named Hudson, who, thanks to his Dada, knows how to use mustard as a binder for meats when they BBQ on the Traeger. Hudson loves to read along to the book ‘Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada’ by Jimmy Fallon thanks to John’s wonderful impressions of animals! (Hudson’s dad also does a very good impression of Grover from Sesame Street.)

“John has worked throughout the pandemic. He manages transportation services and has been essential on the front lines, ensuring the public gets the goods they need. He comes home every day to help around the house, help with dinner, or pick up anything that’s needed. He volunteers to bathe our son every night and read him goodnight stories.

“He’s also a wrestling coach for a local high school and has taught our young son how to wrestle – he’s very good at it! The day we brought Hudson home from the hospital, John put pool noodles around every single hard surface in our home to make sure our new baby was totally safe! Looking back, it’s funny because now they wrestle and play WWE all the time!

“John has taken Hudson to every sporting event (pre-covid) and has also waited in lines for VIP meet and greets so that our son can meet famous hockey and baseball players! He’s is a wonderful dad and does it all with a smile on his face. He’s an excellent role model for our son and I am forever grateful that Hudson gets to have such an awesome father like John!”

To honor John and exuberance for fatherhood despite an incredibly difficult year, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. John’s unfailing optimism, creativity, and excitement for life are exceptional attributes that we should all strive for. Cheers!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.