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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm doing a laminate floor and the floor seems to be super cheap. I mostly do trim and framing and a little bit of natural wood flooring. I was doing trim on a house and they asked me to also do the laminate floor (about 400 SF or so). I've done laminate before but it didn't have the same problems as this floor. As I'm installing it, they won't go together tight without a little tap from a rubber mallet. When I do that, the tongue or the groove section just basically smash. I feel like the tongue and the groove are pretty much like cardboard and they fall apart really easily. It took me about 3 hours to install about 100 SF of wall to wall, which seemed to me to be kind of slow. I'm following the instructions from the mfg exactly. Any suggestions on how to make this go together easier? I also have to hold the entire row up and go along the row with the mallet to tap the tongue in before it will go tight and then lay flat. When I lightly tap it, (I mean barely at all) it just crushes the edge so it won't go together on the next row either. Suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The floor is pretty flat. I scraped it off really well with a blade edge scraper and cleaned it really well. There was only one slightly high seam in the subfloor (maybe 1/8" at the most but probably not even that) and I haven't got even close to it yet. I'm also using QuietFloor underlayment. I don't know the brand of the floor as the builder purchased it and I didn't grab that before I left the jobsite today.
 

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Must be an import if there was nothing on the boxes....I would imagine
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No tapping block but I started using a scrap piece of the laminate flooring like I do with wood floors where I just put it into the groove and then tap on the scrap instead of the piece directly. Seems to be the same concept I would think. I couldn't get any special tapping block in time anyway as they told me they wanted me there this morning and to get it done by Thursday along with the pickup trim (tie ins to cabinets and the 90 lf of base including corners that they were short on the original order). I got most of the base done today and started the floor this afternoon.
 

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As I'm installing it, they won't go together tight without a little tap from a rubber mallet. When I do that, the tongue or the groove section just basically smash. Any suggestions on how to make this go together easier? I also have to hold the entire row up and go along the row with the mallet to tap the tongue in before it will go tight and then lay flat. When I lightly tap it, (I mean barely at all) it just crushes the edge so it won't go together on the next row either. Suggestions?
You NEED the taping block. You can pick up a generic type in the box stores. The block really should only be needed on the edge joints. Maybe your not putting them together at enough of an angle. Some of the cheaper brands will need a little help seating to each other. The block is really a time lam saver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Most of them seem to fit together okay off the floor if I try that. They do suggest that I do the entire length of a run by putting the ends together first and then tipping the entire length to put in the tongue. The length is about 20ft or something so doing that is pretty difficult. I tried propping up one end and the middle to about a 45 degree angle and working from one end but that didn't work very well either.
 

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Most of them seem to fit together okay off the floor if I try that. They do suggest that I do the entire length of a run by putting the ends together first and then tipping the entire length to put in the tongue. The length is about 20ft or something so doing that is pretty difficult. I tried propping up one end and the middle to about a 45 degree angle and working from one end but that didn't work very well either.


i think you need a help
 

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I am not convinced you need any sort of tapping block at all. I install alot of locking laminate flooring and darn-near never use a tapping block during the installation. However, I see Floordude advises you use one and he is no slouch.
I like to use a very soft rubber mallet when extra 'encouragement' is needed. But if a light to medium tap causes damage to the board I think you are working with poor-quality goods.
You mentioned that you are installing entire rows at once. The attached image shows a tool fron 'Bullet Tools' called the No-flip-clip. I have never used one but it may be just the trick if your rows are disengaging on you.

Sadly, it is my bet that the product just sucks and you may be unable to improve the installation regardless of what tool or trick you employ. I do not envy you, but I do wish you success.
 

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I just use a 2x4 x 24" with a notch cut in the edge "to hold" the piece & tapping with a hammer- slide the block along the edge- tapping the piece together. It works great for me............
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Final Results of Floor Install

So, here are the final results. I got a call earlier this week saying the floor was buckling and popping up. I had installed the flooring exactly how the instructions stated. I ended up having to go meet with the mfg rep and the company that sells the product at the house this morning. Basically, they came to the conclusion that it was both a bad product and lack of installation experience (I've only done a couple laminate jobs). The problems we found with the product itself was that many boards weren't perfectly square and straight and there were also boards that were misprinted in the pattern. They never really agreed that the core was bad but after all, they didn't install it themselves so how would they really know that. The "buckle" was really only about 1/32 inch at the most and was barely visible unless you were looking for it and was in a couple places, all caused by the bad core on the materials. They agreed to pay to have the floor redone completely with a different lot of the product. I tore it all out today and then got them to agree to put the new one back in themselves as I've already been paid for the first round of installation and was concerned about ever getting paid the second round. They agreed to that so all in all, lesson learned, if I get any further than a row or two, even when the builder won't listen to me say the product is bad, I should just stop and walk away from the job and call the rep myself to get a resolution instead of installing the floor per the builders instructions. Hopefully I'll learn from this and hopefully this can come as a suggestion to anybody else in the same situation. I've also learned that laminate flooring is total crap and I agree with others that there is no reason not to just pay the small amount extra and go with engineered or solid wood. The product was a Tarkett brand floor of which they said they hadn't had any previous problems with, but they had also never gone to look at it after installation was completed.
 

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All that I can think of about your bad experience is a poor brand choice.

I've recently installed about 16K ft. of different laminate without any problems. On one job the base was undercut and the entire floor was tapped in because they didn't want the shoe mould. It was 1700 sq. ft. including two hallways, kitchen, DR and 'living space'.

I bumped it in using 14-16" long tapping blocks made from 1X4 and working from the groove side. There ARE tricks to doing this.
 
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