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The Easiest Flooring to Install: Our Top 5 Picks

July 6, 2020

Looking for the easiest flooring to install? 

Maybe you’re getting ready for a big do-it-yourself flooring project. Or maybe you’re looking for a pain-free (and cheap) installation. Whatever the reason, you’re in luck! There are a bunch of types of flooring that are relatively easy to install for a novice (though pardon us if you’re already an expert!)

Installing floors yourself can be a fun (no, seriously!) weekend project that can instantly increase the look and value of your home. In the end, the biggest struggle will be choosing between bamboo flooring vs. laminate or carpet vs. laminate, or heck, even engineered wood vs. carpet tiles!

Below we’ll show you 5 of the easiest types of flooring to install—plus some tips and tricks to make the process go as smoothly as possible. 

What You Should Know Before Installing Your Own Floors

We know how overwhelming the thought of installing flooring (or having it installed) can be. Not to mention actually having to choose a flooring option! However, it can be done and it can be done easily

If you’re wondering how to install hardwood floors, we’ve got to warn you that we recommend that most types of wood flooring be installed professionally—particularly if you’re gluing, nailing, or stapling it to the subfloor. It can cup or buckle if it’s installed poorly.    

Additionally, flooring materials with natural components (like wood or laminate), should be left in their intended location for at least 48 hours to acclimate to the humidity and temperature before installation. If you rush the project and don’t let your floors acclimate, you may experience buckling or gaps at the joints. 

So, if you’re really going to do this project on your own, it’s important not only to pick a floor that fits your style, but also one that has a relatively simple installation process. 

Get the right tools for the job 

Measuring Flooring Planks with a Pencil and Ruler

This one seems obvious, but read up on the necessary tools required to install whichever types of flooring you’ve chosen. After all, even the easiest flooring to install will still require a few tools! 

A t-square, chalk, and a pencil are some of the most obvious tools—just make sure they’re ready to go before you get started. If not, you’ll end up making 15 trips to Lowe’s to get supplies. But hey, if that’s your thing, then by all means, disregard this tip!

Even if you’ve found the easiest flooring to install, get someone to help you (or have it done by a pro)!

Putting in your own flooring isn’t for the faint of heart, even if it is one of the easiest types to install. Having someone (or a few people!) helping you measure, cut, and lay the tiles can be a huge help. Also, it might make it a little more fun too! Crack a beer, (or soda, we don’t judge) and get to work! 

And of course, you can always find a flooring store in your area to do it for you. In many cases, we’d actually recommend it! 

The Easiest Flooring to Install: Our Top 5 Picks

It’s time, friend—let’s jump into our top 5 nominations for the “easiest flooring to install” crown!

#1. Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT): Beautiful, Durable, and Easy to Install

LVT or luxury vinyl tile (AKA vinyl plank) is a beautiful scratch-resistant flooring product that will stand the test of time. It’s so durable, it can even be used as mudroom flooring or an outdoor flooring option

But that’s not the only thing that makes LVT extremely popular. It’s also some of the world’s easiest flooring to install. In fact, many of the best types of vinyl flooring can be installed as a weekend DIY project! 

Alright, we’re done convincing you to pick vinyl now. When it comes to the installation process, there are two types of super easy-to-install versions of this material: click-together vinyl planks and peel-and-stick vinyl tiles.

Click-together vinyl planks: some of the easiest flooring to install 

Vinyl planks (aka luxury vinyl tile or “LVT”) are made of 3 layers: a rigid base layer, a patterned design layer, and a protective finish. The design layer is what gives your floor its overall look—and with recent advances in 3D printing and embossed-in-register (ER) finishing techniques, vinyl can now mimic just about any type of flooring. Seriously. It’s uncanny. 

These days, vinyl planks are most often installed as click-together flooring. That means they only attach to each other, and don’t need to be bonded to a subfloor via glue or nails (and if you’re wondering what subflooring is, it’s the foundation for your underlayment and flooring). 

This type of no-bond surface is called a “floating floor”—because the pressure of those click-together connections keeps your flooring in place! And it also makes vinyl plank flooring incredibly easy to install. 

Plus, click-together vinyl planks work really well in areas like the bathroom or the kitchen, because vinyl is impervious to water. Easy to install and waterproof? Sign us up! 

Peel-and-stick vinyl tiles: self-adhesive tiles make installation quick 

Peel-and-stick vinyl tiles are a fantastic solution if you’re looking for a quick, durable floor. To prepare a space for peel-and-stick vinyl tiles, make sure your subfloor is rigid, clean, and free of any cracks. Then, just peel off the backing, position the tiles, and press down. It’s as simple as that!

#2. Laminate: An Easy-to-Install Hardwood Alternative 

Looking to redo your hallway, living room, or sunroom flooring? Aside from being one of the easiest floors to install, laminate flooring is also extremely durable—so it’s great for high-traffic areas. If you love the look of wood but don’t love the cost of wood flooring, laminate is a great hardwood floor alternative.  

But what is laminate flooring, exactly? Well, it’s a three-component floor. Similar to the vinyl planks mentioned above, it’s made of a core layer, image layer, and a wear layer. But unlike LVT, laminate boasts a plywood or fiberboard base layer, a photo-realistic image layer (not usually textured), and a hard plastic wear layer.

Why is laminate so easy to install?

Because it’s a composite product, laminate also comes in click-together planks! You can, of course, get glue- or nail-down planks as well, but these are a little less common. Just remember: we mentioned above that some types of flooring need to acclimate before installation. Because of its wood core, laminate is one of these floors! Once you bring your laminate planks home, let them sit for about 48 hours before installing them. Don’t rush it! 

Pro tip: if you’ve been debating between tile vs. laminate or between a laminate vs. wood floor, we must confess, laminate planks are often easier to install than tile or solid hardwood. 

What tools will I need to install laminate flooring?

We’ve already gone over some of the less expensive tools that you’ll need for any installation (pencil, hammer, etc…) but a power saw will probably be3 necessary here (the same goes for vinyl plank). In a pinch, you can use a hand saw—but we’ll be honest… don’t. You’ll save yourself a lot of headache and time with power tools.

#3. Engineered Hardwood: Often The Easiest Wood Flooring to Install

Modern Hardwood Living Room—hardwood is easy to install with engineered click-together planks

If you’re someone who’s always on the hunt for the best hardwood floors, we’ve got to tell you—some of the most beautiful, most durable wood flooring can be found as engineered wood. What is engineered hardwood? No, it’s not fake wood flooring—it’s a real wood product composed of a veneer of solid wood on top of a composite wood base!

If you’re looking into buying hardwood flooring, you probably know that engineered hardwood can save you money (especially if you’re going with a more expensive or exotic wood species) because it uses less solid wood. Keep in mind, though that the cost to install engineered hardwood floors is often the same as it is for solid wood, especially if you choose to nail or glue it down. But that’s not such a big problem—and here’s why:

What makes engineered hardwood some of the easiest flooring to install?

So what makes engineered hardwood some of the easiest flooring to install? It’s simple—you can often install it as a click-together floating floor!

You can find solid hardwood with click-together joints, but it’s not super common. And solid hardwood isn’t particularly easy to install because it usually needs to be nailed, stapled, or glued to a subfloor. 

Engineered wood, on the other hand, often comes in click-together setups that are just as easy to install as laminate or LVT. And almost all of the best hardwood floor brands sell engineered wood, so there’s no need to learn how to install hardwood floors the old-fashioned way if you don’t want to!

Just remember: engineered hardwood is real wood (for better or worse)

It’s important to note that while engineered hardwood installs like laminate and LVT, even the best engineered wood flooring is still wood flooring. This means it carries the same advantages and disadvantages as solid wood. 

Is engineered hardwood a more water-resistant wood flooring choice than solid hardwood? Not particularly, though it is better at adjusting to changes in humidity. Is engineered pine the best wood flooring for dogs? Nope—too soft, just like solid pine flooring. See what we mean? Wood is wood is wood.

#4. Carpet Tiles: A Quick Solution for Comfortable Flooring  

When you think of carpet squares, you might visualize the kindergarten “reading areas” of your youth. But those days are long over—welcome to the world of peel-and-stick carpet tiles!=

These modular carpet squares are a genius invention, if we do say so ourselves. They come in a ton of different styles, patterns, and colors, and they’re one of the easiest flooring options to install. You can even remove and re-stick them if need be! 

If you’re wondering how to install carpet tiles, we’ve got to tell you, you may be disappointed with the process. Because carpet tiles require almost zero DIY know-how. Yep, they’re really that easy—just peel and stick! For this install, you’ll need a utility knife, chalk line, pencil, a t-square, double-sided carpet tape, and a measuring tape. We promise this isn’t a huge investment, and these tools will help you to lay your carpet tiles correctly. 

How to install carpet tiles the right way

Ok, Ok, we lied a little bit. There are a few steps to take before you can actually peel and stick those floors down. Prepare your floors by pulling up any existing carpeting, tile, vinyl, or laminate. If you’re lucky and your existing surface is made of click-together flooring, the process will be super quick. There are a few disadvantages of floating floors, but disassembly is not one of them!

Keep in mind that you don’t always need to remove your existing surfaces. Some types of wood flooring, for example, can be kept underneath the carpet tiles. And that’s important because the cost to replace carpet with hardwood is significant—so if you’re not so hot on your hardwood floors anymore, consider putting down carpet tiles instead of (*gasp, shudder*) ripping out your wood floors. The passionate debate between carpet vs. hardwood is silly, anyway.

Anyway: after you’ve prepped your floors, begin laying down your carpet tiles starting from the center of the room and working outward. This is the same method used for installing most types of tile, and even other types of flooring like laminate and vinyl. Starting from the center keeps any imperfections from being smack-dab in the middle of the room. 

#5. Cork Planks: Another One of the Easiest Types of Flooring to Put Down Yourself 

Cork is a natural flooring material that comes from the bark of cork trees—and the cork flooring Lowes and Home Depot sells can make a pretty easy weekend DIY! Cork flooring will keep your feet warm in the winter, it’s moderately priced, and it’s sustainably made. A total win-win-WIN! 

Some of the best cork flooring can be installed just like a floating laminate or LVT floor. You’ll want to let your cork planks acclimate, as you would with any other natural material. This waiting can sometimes be the worst part of the job! 

The pros and cons of cork flooring

There are a few pros and cons of cork flooring. One pro: cork can be some of the easiest flooring to install with snap-together planks. 

Plus, cork is naturally hypoallergenic, it’s (as we mentioned) an eco-friendly flooring choice, it has a natural bounce that’s great for people with joint issues, and it’s surprisingly durable and self-repairing.

On the other hand, cork is not waterproof, nor is it a great choice for people who plan on using their floors roughly (we’re thinking dogs and kids here). Cork might be self-repairing, but it can also be gouged relatively easily.

A Few Tips for Your DIY Installation 

We can’t stress this enough: you need the right tools before you begin the job! Without proper tools, it’s like you’re showing up to the office without your computer. Don’t worry though—if you don’t own large power tools, places like Home Depot offer tools for rent.

Wondering how to replace flooring without getting massively overwhelmed? Spread it out! Replacing your flooring is a massive undertaking and will take a lot of time. So don’t plan a house party for 5 p.m. if you’re starting at noon. Plan to spread your project out over a few weekends to keep the whole DIY as stress-free as possible.

Lastly, no matter the flooring, always measure twice and cut once! Seriously, nothing sucks more than wasting your material. Flooring can be pricey and avoidable mistakes really do hurt the most (so that’s what Rascal Flatts was talking about…) Trust us on this one.

Are you ready for the easiest flooring installation of your life?

Alright, well good luck! 

KIDDING! We’ll be here for you at every step of your flooring journey. And right now, that means helping you find the easiest flooring to install! 

So: if you’re not in love with any of the five amazing flooring types above, we understand—and we’ll help you find the surface that’s right for you with this flooring stores near me search. These flooring retailers are the real pros—they’ll be able to answer every one of your questions and find the easiest flooring to install for you. You’re welcome! And for more information on flooring, check out:

About The Author

Elizabeth Landy

Elizabeth is a public relations expert and freelance writer. She is obsessed with reality TV, professional sports mascots, and Doug the Pug (don’t tell her two cats). When she’s not writing, she’s probably reading, riding her bike, or FaceTiming her college best friends.

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