There are an abundance of tools out there that are geared towards the flooring industry and more specifically, the laminate flooring industry. Everyone knows about miter saws, circular saws, marking tools and other basic items but there are some really efficient tools out there nowadays that can make installing laminate flooring a breeze.
These not only save you time and frustration but are really neat to check out if you have never seen them before. Let's take a look at some of the more specialty tools for laminate flooring installation...
The Basics: These are really a necessity no matter what other tools you are using to cut, pry or interlock the laminate flooring with. These are simple tools that are needed for measuring, marking and to protect yourself from injury.
Tape Measure: A tape measure is pretty self explanatory but will get used to measure rip widths, end cuts and the position of cutouts like floor vents, cables, etc.
Pencil: A pencil is better to use than a pen because you can remove any marks you make pretty easily with a damp rag. A pen is useful if you are having trouble seeing your marks.
Safety Gear: This is pretty standard stuff and really consists of safety goggles, knee pads, etc. I would also consider a broom or vacuum to be used to remove dust and a safety item.
There are so many different tools out there that can cut laminate flooring and I wanted to touch on some of them. Each tool has its own advantages and disadvantages and I wrote a post that lays out the different tools used for cutting laminate flooring that you may want to go and check out for more information.
Miter Saw: A miter saw is one of the more common tools used to cut laminate flooring and is pretty efficient at doing so.
Remember you can only make crosscuts using a miter saw and you will not be able to rip down a board to specific width.
Circular Saw: A circular saw is another good choice and can perform both crosscuts and has the ability to cut a board lengthwise as well making it a more versatile tool than a miter saw.
These require a little bit more skill to use than a miter saw would.
Laminate Cutter: These are somewhat specialty tools because they are designed to cut laminate flooring only. One of the best parts to using one of these types of tools is the fact that you will not make any dust in the process, making for a safer environment.
Table Saw: Table saws can come in handy especially if you have a lot of lengthwise cuts to make. The downside to a tablesaw is also its strength, you are only able to make rips and a tablesaw will not make crosscuts.
Jigsaw: A jigsaw is a really helpful tool for laminate flooring because you can cut out just about any shape using the jigsaw but it is a lot slower than some of the other options listed and cutting the laminate material tends to wear out the blades a lot faster too.
Saw Blades: Coming Soon!
Spacers are super important when installing laminate flooring and can either be made from scrap material you have laying around the house or you can buy special spacers that are designed just for laminate flooring.
Some people use scraps of laminate flooring but they are usually not the correct thickness (manufacturer recommendation) and they have a tendency to not work as well.
Adjustable Spacers: I found these adjustable spacers online and thought they were a pretty neat little contraption.
They can be adjusted, like the name states and the adjustment ranges from 3/16 of an inch all the way up to 13/16 of an inch in width which is done by turning the dial shown in the picture on the right.
These aren't absolutely necessary but would be handy to have on hand just in case.
Pullbars come in handy when attaching the last piece of flooring, which is usually in a pretty tight space because of the rest of the flooring and the wall. There are many different pullbar designs out there but the picture above shows a very basic model that will serve it's purpose well and is pretty inexpensive.
A Better Pullbar: This is another example of a pullbar but is modified and a much better version and works a lot better but is more expensive than the basic version.
Notice that this is much longer and heavier duty, which helps eliminate some of the vibration and has a small rubber area that you hit with the hammer, which is much easier to do compared to the standard pullbar.
Tapping blocks are useful for joining two pieces together without smashing or damaging the flooring in the process. If you were to hammer directly on the flooring itself, you would run the risk of damaging the piece and it really doesn't take much force to do this.
A tapping block takes the blunt force of the hammer and creates a "buffer" between the wood and hammer. These are a MUST when installing laminate floors and make it a lot easier too.
I wanted to show a couple of different variations of tapping blocks. Below are two different types but they serve the same purpose. One has a handle on top, which is a lot easier to use (in my experience) and the other does not.
Specialty Tools For Closing The Gap On A Finished Laminate Floor:
I came across this video on youtube and thought it was worth mentioning because it is a neat little trick for gaps that you notice after a laminate floor has been installed and is finished. You can find these suction tools online and they are pretty inexpensive.
You can use a vacuum (wet/dry vac usually) that hooks up to a saw. These are typically used for circular saws, miter saws and specialty saws like the one shown above. The only thing you will need (usually) is a longer hose that connects the saw to the vacuum.
Circular Saw With Dust Collection System: There are saws out there that have built in dust collection systems built right into them so all you need to do is have a hose inserted into the port on the shroud of the saw.
These are quite expensive, compared to other circular saws but worth it because of how it handles the "dust issue".
You can look at other circular saws like this Makita to compare prices if you are interested in these because there are some that are more reasonably priced.
Miter Saw/Table Saw Combo: Bosch makes a cool combo saw that combines a table saw with a mitre saw, as you can see on the right.
These are quite expensive but would come in super handy for laminate flooring and to be honest they are super cool!
These are a specialty item and not required for installation but if you were in the flooring business, could be a very valuable asset.
Flooring Saws: Flooring saws are specifically designed for, you guessed it... FLOORING! These can make crosscuts and rips which is ideal and saves a ton of time.
These are pretty reasonably priced too and some can be found for under $200, making it very appealing. You get the and the precision of a mitre saw, so it is the ultimate floor cutter. You can even hook up a hose for dust extraction on some models.