If you don’t know what Pergo flooring is, it’s just a very durable and nice looking “snap-and-click” laminate flooring. It also has built in padding so you can put these right on top of your subfloor. It’s also much cheaper than real wood, bamboo, or other types of flooring. The only down side of Pergo, or any laminate flooring for that matter, is that it can’t be sanded or refinished if it gets damaged.
To give you an idea of its durability, the kind that I got has spill protection of up to 24hrs, without any permanent damage. It’s also scratch resistant. All of this is great when you have pups running around or, in my case, a destructive toddler.
If you’ve already exposed the subfloor and are ready to lay down snap-and-click boards, then this post could save you hours of research, because I already did a TON of research when I installed them myself.
If you still need to rip up that old carpet, check out my other post on ripping up carpet. If there’s urine stains in your subfloor, like there was in mine when we first moved in, I have a solution for that as well.
For this job, you’ll need spacers, a tapping block, and rubber mallet. There was an entire install kit that had all of this, right next to the flooring section in Home Depot. You will also need a mitre saw or some type of laminate floor cutter to cut the boards to size. I used a mitre saw because I didn’t even know laminate floor cutters existed at the time, but I probably would’ve given that a try to avoid the mess. All of these tools can be found at Lowes/Home Depot, or readily available on Amazon.
Step 1: Baseboards – At this point, it’s up to you if you want to pry off the existing baseboard and lay new ones. My baseboard was fine, even though the boards didn’t fit underneath it, I knew I could cover the gaps with quarter round.
If you don’t know what quarter round is, it’s an additional piece that you can put along the baseboard to cover gaps, while still looking aesthetically pleasing.
If you do rip up the baseboards, you’ll probably have to go along the edges, where the wall meets the baseboard, with a razor, to separate the caulk attaching it to the wall. Work on prying it away from the wall with a pry bar.
Sometimes you need to tap it with a hammer to get the pry bar behind the baseboard. Once the pry bar is behind it, carefully pry it away from the wall and remove any nails that remain afterwards. If you rip off some paint, you can always go over it later with spackle.
Step 2: Gaps and Direction – Read the instructions first on gapping requirements (meaning the wood planks should not be touching the wall) and any other specifics, but do know that keeping a gap is important. Whether you’re dealing with real wood, bamboo, Pergo, Laminate wood, or another type of wood supplement, this is where a lot of people go wrong.
If you don’t leave a gap in between the wall and your boards, they will expand and it can cause the floor to lift in some spots, creating waves in your floor. Keep this in mind as you go.
When installing your first row, keep in mind which way you want the boards to lay. If you’re having trouble deciding, one train of thought is that the boards should go long-ways with the sun that comes in your windows. If that’s hard to understand, just picture if someone was handing you a board through your window, they would give it to you long-ways because it wouldn’t fit through the window otherwise.
Another train of thought that I read on the direction of the board is that they should go long-ways with the long direction of the room (since most rooms are rectangular shaped and not square). At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter which direction you lay these, it’s really your choice.
Step 3: Install – Start laying the boards against one wall of your choosing, with the “tongue” part facing the wall. Now for any row, including this one, that “touches” a wall, will need the tongue or groove cut off, because you want it to be flat.
To start, you need to cut off the tongue and that should be facing the wall so that the groove will still be in tact and looking out to the rest of the open room. The reason for this is because you want to be able to put another tongue into that groove. Make sense?
Okay, now use the spacers with the appropriate specs to make sure the boards don’t touch the wall (this is how you create your gap) and you’ll remove the spacers when you’re done the install. When you get down to the end of the wall and need to cut the first piece, make sure you cut to the length you need it BEFORE you cut off the tongue.
The remainder of that piece will start the next row, so you need the tongue in-tact. That same concept is how you’ll continue to lay these rows as you go – when you cut the last board to fit size at the end of each row, the remaining piece will begin the next row, so on and so on.
Now, when putting the tongue in the groove, I slid it in at 45 degree angle then pushed the board to ground, while maintaining pressure against the board. Once it was down, I used the tapping block (used to make sure you don’t chip the board) and rubber mallet to make sure the boards are tight together, on both the long end and short end.
I made sure there were absolutely no gaps in any of my boards and I tapped every single one, even if I knew it was tight.
I can tell you now after laying this floor down 3 years ago, there have been zero gaps, buckling, or lifting in my floor, all 700 plus square feet of it. It looks as if it was just installed. This is after numerous hot, humid summers, and ice cold winters, when the boards typically expand and contract.
I’m saying this so you know how critical it is that these boards are tight when they’re installed, and have the proper gapping where they meet the wall. If done right, it will look good, and last a very long time.
Step 4: Transition Strips – It’s pretty much that easy to install these snap-and-click boards but you’ll also need to install transition strips when you’re done, which can occur if you bump up against tile, carpet, or other wood floor.
I only have experience transitioning to tile, which is probably much harder than transitioning to carpet. There are different transition strips for different types of floor transitions (Pergo to carpet, Pergo to tile, Pergo to whatever else) so make sure you get the right one.
My flooring came in contact with tile in numerous places, and the tile was much higher than the Pergo floor, so I needed to improvise a bit. In a perfect scenario, you pretty much screw a metal track into the subfloor then just snap the transition strip “tongue”, on the underside of the transition strip, into the metal track using a rubber mallet, and you’re done.
The problem I ran into was that the tile was too high so the transition strip tongue would never reach the metal track. To fix this, I just installed a piece of wood underneath the metal track first, to “boost” it up. After that, it fit great.
Another issue you might run into is uneven subfloor. If there is a high spot in your subfloor, you might have to sand down any bumps to get it as level as possible. If there is a dip in your subfloor, you could use shims underneath the Pergo to level it out.
If there are any questions, let me know in the comments below and I can help you out.