Checklist for DIY Flooring Installation

Thinking of doing a DIY flooring job? You’re in the right place. Installing your own flooring can seem scary if it’s your first time. But with the right guidance and prep it can be a super rewarding project that transforms your home. This guide will take you through every step of the process from planning and choosing materials to the final install and maintenance. With a solid checklist and the right tools you’ll be ready to tackle your DIY flooring project with confidence and get pro results. Let’s get started on that new space in your home!

Planning and Prep

Doing a DIY flooring job requires planning and prep. Start by choosing the right flooring, measuring your space and making sure you have all the right tools and materials.

Choosing Your Flooring

Choosing the right flooring is key to your project. Consider the room’s function, foot traffic and your personal style.

Types of Flooring:

  • Hardwood: Classic look and durable but expensive.
  • Laminate: Budget friendly and looks like wood, easy to install.
  • Vinyl: Water resistant and great for moisture prone areas like kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Tile: Long lasting and great for high moisture areas.

Consider the maintenance. For busy homes low maintenance options like vinyl or laminate might be the way to go. Durability and looks must balance in your choice.

Measuring Your Space

Accurate measurements mean you buy the right amount of flooring materials. Start by drawing the room’s layout including all the nooks and irregularities.


  1. Measure Length and Width: Use a tape measure to measure the length and width of the room.
  2. Calculate Area: Multiply length by width to get the area in square feet or metres.
  3. Account for Waste: Add 10% to your total area for mistakes and cuts.

For irregularly shaped rooms break the room into smaller sections and measure each one separately. Note your measurements down so you don’t get confused when you’re buying materials.

Tools and Materials

Having the right tools and materials ready will make the install smoother and faster. Prep ahead so you don’t have to run around during the project.

Tools You May Need:

  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Flooring spacers
  • Rubber mallet
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Pull bar
  • Pry bar


  • Flooring planks or tiles
  • Underlayment (if required)
  • Adhesive (for some types of flooring)
  • Transition strips (for doorways and between different flooring types)

Don’t forget to have safety gear like knee pads and safety glasses. Get everything in one spot before you start your project.

Installation Process

To do a DIY flooring install follow these steps. You’ll prep the subfloor, lay the underlayment and then the flooring.

Preparing the Subfloor

Start by cleaning the subfloor. Remove all dust, debris and old adhesive. Use a vacuum to get it spotless. Check for any uneven spots or damage. If there are high spots sand them down. Low spots need to be filled with a floor levelling compound.

Now check for moisture. Use a moisture metre to make sure the subfloor is dry. Excess moisture can damage your new flooring. The acceptable moisture level will vary by material. Fix any structural issues like loose nails or creaky spots. Make sure the subfloor is solid and stable.

Finally let the subfloor dry completely before moving on to the next step. This will prevent long term issues and give you a solid base for your new flooring.

Laying the Underlayment

Choose an underlayment for your flooring type. For better soundproofing use acoustic underlay. The best acoustic underlay will depend on the type of flooring you’re laying. 

Cut the underlayment to fit the space leaving a small gap around the edges. This allows for expansion.

Roll out the underlayment smooth, no wrinkles. Secure with adhesive tape. Overlap the seams slightly for full coverage. This layer is for cushioning and noise reduction.

Make sure the underlayment is flat and secure. Wrinkles or gaps will show up later in the flooring. Take your time to get this right as it’s the base for your whole floor.

Installing the Flooring

Start by laying the first row along the longest wall. Use spacers to leave an expansion gap between the flooring and the wall. This will allow the flooring to expand and contract with temperature and humidity changes.

Depending on the flooring type you’ll need to click or glue them together. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. Use a tapping block and mallet to secure the joints without damaging the edges.

Install the flooring row by row. Make sure each piece is snug. Stagger the end joints for a more stable and better looking floor. Make precise cuts for the last pieces to fit them tight. Remove the spacers after all rows are installed and install the baseboards to cover the expansion gap.

Take your time with each step to get a pro finish on your DIY flooring project.

Finishing Touches

The last steps of your flooring project are adding trim and transitions and sealing and finishing your floor. These are the final details to get a polished look and durability.

Trim and Transitions

Trim and transitions are key to smooth edges and visual flow between different flooring types and areas. You’ll need baseboards, quarter rounds or shoe moulding around the perimeter of your room to cover gaps and finish the look.

When installing trim make sure to measure accurately and cut each piece to fit the contours of your walls. Use a mitre saw for angled cuts at corners. Attach the trim with finish nails and use wood filler to fill the nail holes for a clean look.

For transitions use the right mouldings like T-mouldings for doorways or threshold strips for joining different floor levels. This will give you a seamless look and protect the edges from wear and tear. Make sure to secure the transition pieces firmly so they don’t move or gap over time.

Sealing and Finishing

Sealing your floor is important to protect it from moisture, stains and wear. Choose a sealant that’s compatible with your flooring material—polyurethane is a common choice for hardwood floors. Apply the sealant with a brush or roller in thin coats, let each coat dry before applying the next.

For vinyl or laminate floors follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any sealing steps which may include applying a specific finish or using protective coatings. Consider adding a layer of floor polish to add shine and extra protection.

Finishing touches may also include buffing or lightly sanding the surface to smooth out any imperfections so your new floor looks its best. Regular maintenance like cleaning with the right products and not using harsh chemicals will keep your floor new.

By following these details you’ll have a beautiful and durable floor for years to come.

Maintenance and Care

You did it! Now take care of your new flooring.

Regular cleaning is key. Sweep or vacuum daily to remove dirt and debris. Use a damp mop for hardwood, vinyl or tile but don’t soak the floor.


  • Place rugs or mats at entryways to catch dirt.
  • Use furniture pads to prevent scratches.
  • Trim pet nails regularly to avoid gouges.

Spills and Stains

Clean spills immediately to prevent staining. For tough stains use a mild cleaner specific to your flooring type. Always test in a hidden area first.

Here’s a quick reference table to help you out:

Flooring TypeCleaning MethodAvoid
HardwoodDamp mop, pH-neutral cleanerExcess water, abrasive cleaners
VinylDamp mop, mild detergentSteam cleaning, harsh chemicals
TileDamp mop, tile cleanerAcidic cleaners

Seasonal Care

Consider humidity levels. Use a humidifier in winter to prevent wood floors from drying out. In summer a dehumidifier can help maintain optimal conditions.

Routine Checks

Check your flooring regularly. Look for wear or damage and address it ASAP to prevent further damage.

By following a regular maintenance schedule your floors will be beautiful and durable for years to come. Enjoy your new flooring!


Doing your own flooring can be a great experience and totally transform your home. With planning and preparation from gathering tools and materials to choosing the right flooring, you’ll be set up for success. Accurate measurements, attention to detail during installation and finishing touches are key to a professional looking finish.

Regular maintenance and care will keep your new floors looking beautiful and durable for years to come. Follow these guidelines and tips and you’ll be confident to tackle your DIY flooring project and feel accomplished.

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