What are some things you need to know or do?

Below, I will walk you through the same steps that I use when I am ready to start a Plank Installation. Just go down the list and check them out. If you see something you want to check into more, then just click on it. 


Determine the Plank direction

This can be a place where you can get hung pretty easily. Don’t worry though, you are not alone, I get asked this question all the time by other DIY’ers just like you! The answer to this question is actually pretty easy to decide.

Are you installing into multiple rooms

Do you have any long hallways

Does the direction of the joists matter

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Do you know what needs to be undercut to have a clean professional looking finish

I am sure that you probably already know that something needs to be done around the doorjambs and casings. You definitely don’t want to leave a gap around these or have to install some sort of trim to cover that gap. There are also other areas that undercutting can be used to achieve a nice finished look.  

door jambs and casings

cabinets and partition walls

around stair openings

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Checklist of things to do before starting

Below are a the things that should be done before you start installing any plank. Go through this checklist and see if you have done all of these. 

Are the existing floors removed and the same level

It is very important to have all the floors the same level if you are looking for a seamless looking floor. If you happen to have a situation where the existing floor cannot be torn out, then another option is to build up the other areas to the level of that floor.


I would avoid trying to feather out an area that is higher, unless it is a 1/16th of an inch or less. It is only going to cause problems if you do, so I would not do that.


I have several videos that will show you how to remove existing floors like-

  • carpet
  • vinyl/linoleum and underlayment
  • Tile 
  • laminate and vinyl plank

These videos can be found inside my members only area – Laminate University

Be sure to check this out

Have you checked the floor for humps and dips?
    How perfect does the floor need to be? My answer to this question is based on what I would do. I would not get to worked up by what the manufacturer states in their warranty. There is not a floor that I have ever installed plank over, that would meet the specs of most manufactures. With that being said, I still want the floor to have a good foundation under it and I am going to try and get the floor as flat as it needs to be. But, it will not be perfect….. What you are looking for are the problem areas and they are usually easy to find.

Wood subfloor –

  • more often then not, high and low joists can be a problem
It really depends on what direction you install your plank, if you run the plank parallel to the joists then the plank will flow right over these problem areas. If you install the plank perpendicular to the joists then this will affect the plank and can cause the plank to straddle the joist like a teeter totter and there will be hollow spots on both sides of the joist. Vinyl plank will eventually form to the floor so it’s not as critical to spend a lot of time and effort to fix this area. It will be more of a visual thing, meaning you will probably see the hump in the floor. Laminate absolutely hates high joists. It will always have a sponge feel to it on both sides of the high joist and it will strain the joints causing problems in the future.

 Concrete slab-

This is always a toss up, the problem areas can be anywhere. The good news is that with some floor patch and/or a grinder, most of these problem areas can be fixed pretty easily. So do not get discouraged by the floor prep.   I have more information on how to deal with these areas and a few videos that show how to fix them. They are located only inside Laminate University, feel free to check it out.     
Cut the doorjambs, partitions and wherever trim will not be installed

Like I talked about in the video above, you will need to undercut some areas before you start installing the plank.

Once you are done cutting, be sure that the plank can slide under these areas freely.

If the plank does not move easily, then it is too tight and this can cause the plank to buckle in that area. Just take your time and double check everything. 

Where do you need transitions?

I only use transitions in areas that the plank will be ending. I do not use transitions to break up the plank at doorways. 

I know ALL manufacturers state in their warranties that transitions must be used in doorways and after a certain length of a run. You can follow this if you are worried about a problem. 

Here is what I do-

I never use transitions to break up the plank. I flow the plank seamlessly throughout the entire area. If in the future there was a problem with buckling, I would then cut the floor at the door and add a transition at that time. 

Now you can decide what you would do!

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 that looks Professionally done.

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Where should you Start?

Figuring out where to start is probably the most important part of your plank installation. It is actually a very simple process and I will show you exactly how you need to do this. 

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Securing the floor is very important

There is a list of things that can really make installing a plank floor very difficult and this is at the top of the list. You want to have a solid foundation to build from and I have developed an easy method that gives you the solid foundation you need. I share this inside Laminate University.

How the Locking System Works

There is a tongue and groove locking system that comes on your Laminate or Vinyl Planks. This system is designed to be installed a certain way.

Tongue and Groove Locking System

Some brands of plank are easier to work with than other brands. Some have designed their locking systems to be a lot simpler for the installer or DIY’er. They still all have one thing in common though and that’s they all have a tongue and a groove. What makes some easier then others is….

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Why you should AVOID working backwards

The locking system can be installed a couple different ways, but there is a certain direction that it is meant to be installed. It is easiest to install the tongue into the groove, however it can be installed the other way with the groove side installed into the tongue side. Why would this matter?

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Join 100’s of DIY’ers Just like you

Inside Laminate University you will get access to the tools you need to get your project done. Using the steps I provide, you will Complete Your Plank Installation with Professional Results.

Thank you for visiting my website

I know there is a lot of information out there and I am honored to be able to help you!

I want you to know that none of this was possible without the help of our Lord and 

We can all be saved through Jesus Christ!

Joe Letendre