Installing Glued Laminate Tiles

This story covers how to install glued laminate tiles.


When you're shopping for glued laminate tiles or tiled planks, you'll find as many varieties of edge construction as you would for a glueless floor. Some manufacturers sell planks that install with or without glue. Which is best? Glued joints are stronger than most unglued installations. Use them in rec rooms, children's playrooms, and in environments where activity might disrupt the joints and in kitchens and baths where the glue will keep moisture out of the joints. If you're considering laminate planks for a bathroom or kitchen, however, make sure the manufacturer's warranties apply to installation in these rooms. The joints of some products swell for a few months after installation. Swelling is normal and disappears when the glue cures. Before installing the tiles, mix three boxes together to distribute color variations, then acclimate the tile to the room for 48 hours.


About 10 to 12 hours for an 8x10-foot floor, not including subfloor prep

Tape measure, straightedge, jigsaw, circular saw or table saw, trim saw, compass, hammer, tapping block, pull bar, utility knife, pencil

Measuring, setting, and cutting laminate

Repair and/or replace subfloor.

6-mil polyethylene, foam underlayment, laminate tiles, masking tape, glue

Setting the Rows: Step 1

If you're installing the planks on a slab, lay down a 6-mil sheet of polyethylene as a waterproofing membrane. Then roll out the manufacturer's underlayment, following the directions for seaming. Some makers recommend butt joints; others suggest overlapping seams. Some say to tape their seams, some don't. If you're installing laminate baseboards or putting the planks in a bathroom or kitchen, extend the underlayment 2-3 inches up the wall and tape the seams with clear waterproof tape (available from a laminate retailer).

Orient the First Tile

When you are ready to start laying the laminate, make sure you start the first unit with the proper orientation. Most, but not all, laminates are installed by engaging the tongue of the new unit into the groove of the one already in place. Don't assume this is true for your product. Read the manufacturer's instructions before starting. Some laminates require you to remove the tongue from the first row.

Setting the Rows: Step 2

Follow the directions for laying out a locking tile border, ripping the border planks in even widths. Then dry-fit the border row, adjusting and cutting the end planks to equal lengths. Dry-lay the border row, working from left to right. Do not apply glue yet.

Setting the Rows: Step 3

With the border row in place, dry-fit the second row of planks, starting with the end pieces (as required by your layout pattern) and working from left to right. Tilt and engage the tongues into the grooves (or use whatever installation method is required by the manufacturer's instructions).

Setting the Rows: Step 4

Dry-fit the third row of planks. Stand back and inspect the installation to make sure the joints run parallel to the starting wall. If they don't you may have to trim the edge planks to straighten the installation. Mark the order of the tiles on pieces of masking tape and disassemble the planks.

Clamping Tiles

Some brands of glued laminate tile require clamping with ratcheting strap clamps. Some manufacturers recommend clamping every two tiles, others every three tiles. Follow the recommendations and ratchet the tiles just enough so the glue seeps from the joints. Too much pressure will cause the joints to buckle. Wipe the glue immediately with the solvent recommended by the manufacturer (usually a light detergent-and-water solution).

Installing the Tiles: Step 1

Replace the spacers along the wall if necessary. Set the end tile in the corner and using the method recommended by the manufacturer, apply glue to the second tile -- either the tongue, the groove, or both. Engage the tiles with the method recommended by the manufacturer and pull them together. Properly applied glue seeps from the joint in a thin line. Wipe immediately with a damp rag, then wipe the residue again.

Installing the Tiles: Step 2

Work across the wall, gluing and locking the entire first row of border tiles. Or set the tiles in a stair-step pattern as recommended by the manufacturer. If clamping is required, the clamps should cross the installation every 3 to 4 feet. Pull the clamps moderately tight and let the glue set 15 to 30 minutes before releasing and resetting the clamps. For products not requiring clamps, tape the joints if required.

Installing the Tiles: Step 3

When you reach walls or other obstructions, you may not be able to tilt or tap the tiles together. Make sure you have cut the end tile long enough to fill the space. Insert the short end of a pull bar over the end of the tile and tap the tiles together with a hammer.

Installing the Tiles: Step 4

Continue assembling the tiles, taping the joints if required and giving the glue ample time to dry before setting the next row.

Installing the Tiles: Step 5

When you reach the last row, scribe the tiles to conform to the surface of the wall. Be sure to include the spacer when you mark the tile for cutting. After cutting remove the spacer so it's easier to fit the tiles together. Use a pull bar to snug the tiles.

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