Step 3: Trim the planks for the first course

Trimming the planks for the first course.
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Start laying the planks along the longest uninterrupted wall. Measure the distance between it and the opposite wall, then subtract 1 inch for expansion. Divide the remainder by the width of a cork plank to calculate the number of courses needed to cover the floor.

If the last course ends up being less than half a plank, you'll need to cut the first and last courses narrower to balance the layout. Add the width of the last course to the full width of a plank. Divide by two to find the width of the first and last course. Use a jigsaw to rip the first-course planks to this width. If you don't need to rip down the first course, saw off their tongues to create an unobstructed expansion gap at the wall.

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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