Diagram 1

Diagram 2
One of the most challenging installations an installer can face is the installation of flooring around a fixed object. It does not matter what the product is - vinyl, ceramic, wood, laminate - it just does not matter. Fortunately, with a little pre-planning, finesse, and the right tools, you can install laminate flooring around the object perfectly.

This article is intended for those who have the basic skills and tools required for the installation of a laminate floor. As always, pre-planning is the most important part of any installation. It requires time to think an installation through, one step at a time, so that any unforeseen obstacles are recognized and dealt with in a logical, methodical fashion. Step one will be the layout of the flooring; considering all the starting points; obstacles; perimeter cuts; and most importantly, installing the product so that it appears square, straight, and true against any visible line of vision, e.g. walls, cabinets, columns, doorways, etc. Step two is simple, but is a must for a quality installation. It is floor preparation! Confirm what the work order requires, and get authorization for any additional work from the appropriate person. Approach the prep work so that you maximize your time, tools, and human resources. This is a step that costs most installers money. The objective is to do more with less.

Diagram 3
Once the installation is in progress, begin working toward the fixed object (for our purposes, an island cabinet), systematically completing each row of laminate blocks, planks, or tiles by the time you have reached the edge of the fixed object, without cutting any of the laminate flooring(diagram 1).

At this point, it is time to use your most valuable installation tool – the chalk line. First, establish two points on the existing floor by measuring from the last row of installed laminate flooring. Your measurements should be on opposite ends for accuracy, and should be exactly the same (each measurement must go beyond the opposite side of the fixed object). The measurements should be taken from the same points on the installed laminate flooring; for example, from the outside edge of the tongue. Mark these points on the existing floor.

Diagram 4
Stretch the chalk line precisely across the two points and snap a line on the existing floor. You now have a continuous line of reference to periodically check the two lines/rows of installation for correct alignment on each side of the island(diagram 2). This will assure fast, easy alignment when the two rows are connected with a continuous row of laminate on the opposite side of the fixed object(diagram 3).

Diagram 5
During the installation, create a drawing that will depict the layout of planks in each row so that it is consistent with the installation. This should provide adequate staggering of each end seam when the final row of laminate ties it all together(diagram 4). As you position the final row on the backside of the island, cut the fill pieces to allow for the manufacturer’s required expansion gap.

This technique removes the guesswork and makes an installation around a fixed object easy. The same technique works for diagonal installations, the only exception being a diagonal installation would work up to a corner of the island cabinet instead of the side(diagram 5).

This method will also work for wood flooring, ceramic, or any modular flooring product.