• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shares his tips and techniques for putting down a floating floor.

    1. Cover the subfloor with a foam pad; staple the pad in place with a hammer tacker.
    2. Set first plank in place with the tongue edge facing the wall or baseboard molding.
    3. Tap together the planks in the first row, end to end. Be sure to use a tapping block to prevent damaging the flooring.
    4. Install the planks in the second row, making sure you stagger the end joints from the previous row.
    5. Hold the planks at a slight angle and tap them into the first-row planks with a dead-blow hammer.
    6. Insert spacer blocks between the flooring and wall or baseboard to create an expansion space.
    7. Use a jamb saw to trim door casing so the flooring will slip underneath.
    8. Set plank in front of doorway and use scribing tool to transfer cut lines from the doorway to the plank.
    9. Cut the plank to size with a jigsaw.
    10. Tap the plank into the doorway, making sure it slips under the casings.
    11. Continue installing planks across the room. When necessary, use a pull bar to tap the joints tight between the planks.
    12. Once all the flooring is installed, remove the spacer blocks and nail shoe molding around the room perimeter. Be sure to nail the shoe to the baseboard, not the floor.
    • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
      the flooring is a snap to put down, but working on your hands and knees all day is tiresome.

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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • utility knife
        Utility knife, used to cut foam pad to size
      • tacker hammer
        Hammer tacker and 3/8-inch staples, for stapling foam pad to wood subfloor
      • dead-blow hammer
        Dead-blow hammer and tapping block, used to tap together flooring planks
      • jamb saw
        Jamb saw, for trimming door casings and jambs
      • scribe
        Scribe tool, used to scribe planks to fit around doorways and obstructions
      • jigsaw
        Jigsaw, for cutting planks to size
      • pull bar
        Pull bar, used with hammer to pull planks into position

      Shopping List

      Floating floor, snap-together, tongue-and-groove floor planks

      Foam pad, used under flooring as a moisture barrier and to provide cushioning Spacer blocks, maintains expansion space between flooring and walls or baseboard trim

      Shoe molding, used to conceal the expansion space around the perimeter of the floor