How to install laminate floors on concrete in your basement / a DIY project
Our basement doesn’t look good. It is mainly for the kids to hang out and we didn’t want to invest a lot of money.
But now, that the kids are getting more decent we were thinking of remodeling the basement.
Upgrading our basement workroom into a playroom was a great idea we had a couple of weeks ago. And because I don’t like to waste time, we started this project the next available weekend.
But what do you do if you don’t know how to install laminate floors on concrete?
Of course I researched it, watched videos and read a lot about it.
It didn’t seem very hard so that is why I tackled this project fearless, although I had never done it before.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience
First step how to install laminate floor on concrete:
Measure your room:
Width by length = square feet of your room. (Our room was 180 square feet)
Second Step how to install laminate floor on concrete:
Now of course you have to get all the material and here is your downloadable shopping list:
Download it here: Shopping List
Make sure you have enough of everything because it takes away so much of your time if you have to run back and forth to the store. Don’t ask me why I know this, lol.
Laminate Flooring for your room + 10 % because you will have waste (we bought 200 square feet).
You need underlayment or vapor barrier to put on top of your concrete. There are different options you can buy, we went with the cheapest option which was 25 cents per sq ft for our basement.
If your basement is pretty wet or humid, you want to buy a vapor barrier which is around 50 cents per square foot.
It mainly depends on the circumstances where you are installing the laminate.
So consider all the different options which you should get for best results.
If you buy a Flooring Installation Kit you will have spacers, pull bar, tapping block.
You will need a Jigsaw and a Miter saw (you can rent at your local hardware store if you don’t have one)
What you probably already have and don’t need to buy is: tape measure, scissors or carpet knife, pencil or chalk, ruler, rubber hammer.
How to start installing laminate floors in a basement:
Swipe the floor of any dirt and check if the surface is even and has no cracks.
If the concrete looks fine lay down the plastic underlayment. We used two rolls.
They have an adhesive band on one side, so you can easily tape them together.
Lay the underlayment in the same direction you want to install your laminate.
We chose the direction towards the light which means towards the sliding door going out into the backyard.
I painted my baseboards the day before we started this project, we didn’t remove them.
When you are done with the underlayment then you can start with the hardwood floor.
Cut the first board into half length and start laying the it, tongue side facing towards the wall.
The next board is a full length board which you attach on the left side to your first board. Add as many full length boards until you reach the end of this first row.
You will probably have to cut the last board of this row. Measure how long this board should be minus 1/4′ to have enough space to put down your spacers between the wall and the board.
This is necessary in order to use your pull bar to hammer the boards together for a tight fit.
Second row start with a full length board, third row start with a half board and so on as you can see in this picture.
It gets easier after the third row
The first couple of rows are the hardest until you figured out how to do this.
When you measure your end piece to fit, make sure to turn the board around (180 degrees) in order to end up with the right side of the board (you need the one with the tongue).
We totally messed this up a couple of times and ended up with a piece without tongue.
How to install it the easiest way:
Hold the board up at a 45 degree angle and slide the tongue inside the grove and push it tight to the board next to this one. You still need to hammer the board with your rubber hammer together to eliminate any gaps in between.
Take your time to measure and mark the board correct when you have to cut out corners.
t is also a challenge when you have to fit little boards into the closet space. You just have to take your time and measure right, mark the board with a pencil (or if you have dark floor just use a chalk so you can see your marks easier) and cut it out right.
Just think twice, where do you need the tongue, on the left or on the right side?
Is it easy to install a laminate floor in your basement on your own? Watch my video:
No, certainly not and I am glad my husband was there to help me.
First of all our boards didn’t go together so easily as everybody was telling me on the videos I watched prior.
We needed to hammer them together and at the end of the row it took a lot of strength to actually get them together as tightly as needed.
Maybe we struggled a little bit because the laminate was cheap (99 cents per square foot) but we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on that basement playroom.
I suppose, buying a better quality laminate, makes the install easier.
How long did it take us?
It took us about 9 hours to lay the floor altogether.
We worked 7 hours one day and the next morning to finish up.
The last row needed a lot of time because we had to cut the length of the boards which was a little tricky. It just takes time and endurance to get this last row done.
Sometimes you have to cut a board various times to get it done right. This happens to everybody, I guess.
My back and my knees were hurting and my hands and fingernails didn’t look very good after we finished this job.
It was hard and took a lot of strength from both of us. If you want to get it done on a weekend, don’t plan anything else.
If you are not in a rush, then take your time and do it slow and easy.
How much did it cost?
As I said, we paid 99 cents per square foot and it was one of the cheapest laminate floors we found at Home Depot and Lowe’s.
And we love the look of it.
The underlayment was $ 25 per roll, we used 2 rolls altogether.
The starter kit including the spacers and the hammer tools was $ 20.
We did not buy or rent the miter saw, because we borrowed it from our friend.
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We are not completely done because we need to get a board to cover the gap at the door entrance.
But all in all we are so proud of ourselves that we did this room and it definitely looks so much better now.
For your convenience here are some links if you want to tackle this project:
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Where to buy the material?
The best option to buy the laminate is to go to your local Lowes or Hardwood Floor and see and feel for yourself what you would like.
Also if you order too much or too little you can just get it ‘real quick’.
These are links for the underlayment, the Tool kit and if you don’t have a saw, a floor cutter.
The floor cutter is maybe worth buying, if you are thinking about a bigger project to do and you don’t have a saw.
This is how the room looks now:
And this is the before picture of the same room, it used to be a storage/workroom, not so pretty.
Yes we are glad we did this project but it wasn’t as easy as we thought. I couldn’t have done it on my own, and I normally try to do everything on my own. But I just didn’t have enough strength for this job and it would have taken me so much longer on my own.
And here is a good video I watched before installing the laminate floor:
And I will catch you next week with more decorating and DIY projects.
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