Most DIY’ers ask where do I start installing my laminate or vinyl plank floor so you are not alone. No worries though, I will tell you!

where do I start installing my laminate or vinyl plank floor

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!!

So where do I start installing my laminate or vinyl plank floor?

So hey, where do I start installing my laminate or vinyl plank floor? This really depends on the area that you are installing in. I will break this down 2 ways for you.

If you are installing into multiple areas such as a living room, a hallway, bedrooms, kitchen, dining room and ect…. then you are on the right page! If you only have a one room installation then go to this page HERE. This is the short version of where do I start installing my laminate floor or vinyl plank floor.

The answer is very simple.

You will center the entire installation off of the hallway. Which brings us to my next point which is the hallway should always have the planks run the long way down the hall. Very rarely do I break this law. It has to be the most special circumstance for me to not do it this way.

 okay. Why?

Glad you asked. There are several reasons for this and the first is that it looks better! The second reason is because when you install planks the short way down a hall it has a high chance of buckling in the future. It is a weak spot in the installation because the planks in that long skinny hall doesn’t have the strength that it would if you ran the planks the other way.

If you have high humidity in your neck of the woods then I can almost guarantee you will have issues if you install it the short way.  I’m not trying to scare you I’m just telling you my opinion.

The 3rd and final reason is it LOOKS BETTER!!!!! Again, I know it can’t always be done this way, but most of the time it can be.

So we center the installation off the hall, now What?

Now is the time where we figure out which room we want to start in. We are NOT going to throw darts at a drawing of the rooms to decide! We are going to put some thought into this. What the ideal situation looks like is that we can always work one direction while installing the laminate flooring or the vinyl plank flooring.

The planks have a locking system on each end. This locking system has a female and a male end. The female end is like a track or a channel that the male end slides into. So it’s always easiest to install the plank this way. However there are times when you will have to do it the opposite.

Like going into a closet, under some cabinets and even into an entire room.   I call this working backwards   Now, I have some tricks that I share in another video and they really help with making this pretty easy to do, but it’s a lot slower and we want to avoid this as much as possible.   So with this in consideration, you need to look over the areas that you are installing into and decide how you would avoid working backwards or how to keep it to a bare minimum.

Lets watch this video so you can better understand what I am talking about on where to start installing my laminate or vinyl plank floor

How to start

We now answered the question ” where do I start installing my laminate or vinyl plank floor” now I need to show you how to start. This is really a simple process…..

HOWEVER, I want to remind you once again that while you perform the next few steps, you should use the video to help you. Just pause it while you do a step and then start it up again to watch the next step and so on. This will make this process go a lot easier for you!!!

Layout and put together 10 boards

I always put together 10 boards and use them as a guide during the layout process.   By using 10 boards as a guide, you will be able to get the most accurate measurements while figuring out where the planks will start, where they will end, how big pieces against walls and cabinets will be and it will help with not having to do a bunch of math.

Create a cheat sheet

This is really simple to do. You will measure the 10 boards and write down that measurement on a piece of paper. Now you need to add another 10 boards to the first number.   You will probably need to do this anywhere between 6 to 8 times. No worries though, you will know if you need to add to this cheat sheet later on. I will share more about this in the video later on.

cheat sheet

Quick tip –

If you have a smart phone, you can download an app that calculates fractions.


fraction calculator

Let’s center the hallway

Now you need to center the hallway. Just measure from wall to wall. You now want to divide that number in half. for example- if you measured 42 inches and divided that in half it would be 21 inches.

Once you do this, then we will go to our 10 boards and measure 21 inches and mark the board with a marker. (denatured alcohol will remove permanent marker and you can buy this at any store that sells paint) Now you can see how big your piece will be against the wall in the hallway.   to better understand this let’s watch a quick video on where do I start installing my laminate or vinyl plank floor

Almost there! Get the chalk line out and let’s snap some lines on the floor

Now that we know where the planks need to fall in the hallway, we now need to snap a few lines on the floor with a chalk line. These lines will be our guide to keep the floor straight and to show us exactly where our planks will fall.   And with a couple of measurements, we will be able to transfer that line into other rooms.

In the beginning, I showed you where I wanted to start. Now, I need to transfer a line into that room.   Once I get this line transferred into the room, then I will be able to use it as a guide to show me exactly where my first row will start.

This is where our cheat sheet comes in!   In this next video I am going to share a few tips with you that are really going to help with this part of the layout for where do I start installing my laminate or vinyl plank floor.

Starting the first few rows


We made it!!! You now know the answer to where do I start installing my laminate or vinyl plank floor It’s time to put some planks down on the floor. I always like to start by building a good foundation to work off of. What I mean by that is I install 3 to 5 rows of either laminate or vinyl planks together.

I extend these rows from wall to wall. I do try to keep the floor straight while I’m doing this so my boards on the ends are cut short or too long. Once I put these few rows together, then I move the floor into its proper position and then I secure the floor so it doesn’t move throughout the entire installation.

A solid foundation that doesn’t move is absolutely the most important step. This is the key to an easy installation. If your floor is not straight or if it moves around during the installation, you will have a very tough time getting the planks together!!

I also wait until the very end to install my first row or two. This helps make it so much easier to get started and not have to worry about cutting something short or just avoiding a bad cut of any kind. It allows you to skip vents, cabinets, cubby holes, fireplaces and ect… until the very end.

When you skip these in the beginning and then come back at the end, it’s much easier because now you have a solid foundation to work off of. I have a ton of tips to share with you that will help you with your laminate or vinyl plank installation.

Be sure to check out Laminate University  Just click on the button below.

If you have questions or comments about where do I start installing my laminate or vinyl plank floor, please feel free to leave them below! or ask me on my facebook page


Joe Letendre

We can all be saved through Jesus Christ

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