Step 4: Install the first course

Installing the first course
Photo: Kolin Smith
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To piece the first course together, lift one plank off the floor at an angle, slide its end into the end of another plank and gently press down until the tongue and the groove click together. Continue joining planks end to end until the first course is complete. If you need to cut the last piece to length, use a jigsaw guided by a clamped straightedge.

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    Tools List

    • straightedge guide
      Straightedge and clamps
    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw,
      to cut flooring
    • ryoba saw
      Flush-cutting backsaw,
      or ryoba saw, to trim door casings
    • mallet
      Hammer or mallet
    • flat prybar
      Pry bar
    • miterbox with saw
      Miter box and drill/driver,
      to cut and install shoe molding)

    Shopping List

    1. FLOORING

    Measure the square footage of your space, then add 10 percent to that number to account for off cuts.



    2. MOLDING

    to mask the expansion gap



    3. 1/2-INCH SPACERS

    You can make these by cutting up a scrap piece of plywood.



    4. 4D FINISH NAILS

    to fasten the show molding



    5. POLYETHYLENE SHEETING

    to act as a moisture barrier if youa re installing the flooring over concrete