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In this post I will share with you how to start a laminate or vinyl plank installation in a one room installation. If you have a bigger installation with multiple rooms, then you would want to go to this post here.

The instructions are in the box

This statement is almost laughable! Why, because we all know that the instructions that came with any of our purchases are usually just terrible!! I’m pretty sure that these instructions are not going to make it clear to you on “where do I start my laminate or vinyl plank floor”. Just rip those up and throw them away.

I am going to bring you on a short journey through your installation and the instructions are going to be easy to understand. However, I do want you to understand that I am going to share with you the same exact methods that I use on all of my laminate and vinyl plank installations. I say this to you because you might need to watch my video more than once.

I will try very hard not to speak a foreign language while I do this.

The other day I made caramel rolls for the first time. I got the recipe from Crouton Jack(he has a youtube channel). I watched his video at least 6 times while I was making the caramel rolls. I wanted to be sure I didn’t miss any of the steps, so I would pause the video complete a step and then start it again to see the next step. I did this until I was all done with the rolls.

They turned out great! And I made them again the next weekend and I found myself watching that video another 6 times.

Look, I’m not saying watch my videos a hundred times, but what I am saying is follow the video along during your laminate or vinyl plank installation. It will make things a lot easier for you!!

How to start a laminate or vinyl plank installation

It’s really very easy to get started with the methods that I am going to show you. You will need to put together 10 planks. We are going to use these to figure out what our starting point is going to be.

Once these are together then you need to decide which direction the plank is going to run. This is pretty easy to decide. I always run the planks in the direction of the longer part of the room. It just looks better!

for example- my plank is 6 inches wide x 48 inches long So if my room was 16 feet wide and 20 feet long, I would run the length of my plank (the 48 inch side) parallel with the 20 foot wall.

Let’s find the center of the room

The next step in how to start a laminate or vinyl plank installation is we want to find the center of the room. We do this by measuring the width of the room and then divide that number in half.

This will give us the center of the room. Now we will be able to find out what size piece we will have along the wall. We will also be able to decide if it is too small and if we want it to be bigger.

This is where our 10 boards will come into play. Let’s watch this short video on how to start a laminate or vinyl plank installation so you can see what we need to do next.

So by following what I just showed you, the piece against the wall would be the same on both sides. Pretty simple right? Ok, so now that we know what size piece we are going to need, we need to mark the floor on both sides of the room and then snap a chalk line on them.

This will give us a line that will be our guide to show us where our first plank will start and to make to use to get our planks straight before securing the floor. I first showed you how to just find the center of the room.

Then we checked to see how big our piece would be along the wall. If you are happy with the size of that piece then you would measure out from the wall on both sides, make a mark on the floor and then snap a line.

If you were able to make the piece bigger by following the method that I showed you. (here is a refresher course) You measure 1 plank and divide that in half, then add that amount to your original mark on your 10 planks.

Then you would add the amount of a half of plank to the measurement that you have for the center of the room.

Let’s start the first few rows

So the next step in how to start a laminate or vinyl plank floor is also pretty simple. we need to layout some pad along the wall where we plan to start. Then we need to start laying out some laminate or vinyl plank and begin to put together 4 to 6 rows.

Now this doesn’t need to be perfectly in place but close. You are going to have to cut the end boards and you don’t want them to be short and you don’t want them to be long either.

Once you put these together we need to get the floor into perfect position. We are going to do this by measuring from the line we snapped on the floor to the planks we just put together.

We are also going to keep the floor away from the wall far enough so we do not need to cut any vents or the very first row. We will come back at the very end to do this.

Why do I install the very first row last?

This is a simple answer…..  It is easier. This method solves several problems that you face if you were to install the very first row or two in the very beginning.

  • you can secure the floor easily without damaging it
  • you can secure the floor so it will not move at all- which makes the install go much easier
  • you won’t cut the first row incorrecly
  • you won’t have to worry about mis-cutting a vent
  • and the list goes on


Moving the floor into position and securing it

The distance that we need to measure is going to come from measuring the 10 boards that we put together earlier.We need to move the floor so it is straight with the line that we snapped earlier. Also it needs to be the correct distance away from the line. That distance is going to be the measurement of a certain amount of planks.

What I mean is, if you keep the floor away from the wall 2 to 3 rows, then measure from the line to the planks that you put together, it should equal a certain amount of planks.

So if you measure that distance and the line is 99 inches away from the planks, go to your 10 boards and find the measurement closest to 99 inches in full planks. So if 16 planks equal 96 inches then you would move the floor 96 inches away from the line.

Securing the floor

Now that we have are floor in place we need to secure it from moving. This is one of the most important steps in your installation and this article on how to start a laminate or vinyl plank installation.

If the floor is secured it makes the installation go so much easier. I can’t even stress to you enough how important this really is. If you have movement in the floor while you are installing the boards will not go together correctly, they will come apart while you try to install another board and mess goes on.

I use scrap boards that i connect to the floor temporarily and then i screw those scraps into the floor. This gives you a solid foundation to work off of.

Here is a video that will boost CONFIDENCE by showing you over a dozen helpful tips-


Laminate University

Inside my members area you will have access to step by step instructions on how to install Laminate or Vinyl Plank. You will find videos, guides, a members only group for questions and discussion and plenty more. Join 100’s of other DIY’ers just like you and you too can install your own floor with a Professional looking result.

Here are some tips for getting stubborn planks together-

If you have a question you can ask below.

Joe Letendre

The only way to the Father is through the Son.