How to Scribe Laminate Flooring

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Things You'll Need

  • Sample piece of quarter-round trim

  • Drafting compass

  • Pencil

  • Small piece of wood

  • Jigsaw

Scibing laminate flooring is critical to a professional-looking installation.

Scribing is a technique used when you're installing laminate flooring against an uneven wall. Most walls aren't perfectly straight, but having a straight first row with a uniform expansion gap is critical when you lay flooring. There are two different scribing methods to choose from, and neither method involves expensive tools, equipment or special skills. Take the time to lay the first row of laminate flooring correctly for a professional-looking installation.

Use a Compass

Step 1

Interlock the first row of laminate planks. Slide the row in place next to the uneven wall. Follow the manufacturer's instructions as to the size of the expansion gap required between the edge of the laminate and the baseboard.

Step 2

Take a sample piece of quarter-round trim, and place it on top of the laminate and flush against the baseboard to ensure the gap is not too big.

Step 3

Find the spot along the wall where the gap between the baseboard and laminate planks is the largest. Set the metal tip and pencil end of the compass to this width. Lock the compass by tightening the set screw.

Step 4

Hold the compass level and perpendicular to the laminate planks. The pencil end should be touching the top of the laminate, and the metal tip end should be against the wall.

Step 5

Start at one end of the wall, and keep the compass level and as you carefully run it along the wall toward the other end. This transfers the unevenness of the wall onto the laminate.

Step 6

Unlock the laminate planks and cut them with a jigsaw. Use the line as a reference, and make sure not to cut beyond the line. Interlock the planks once they are cut, and slide the first row in place with a uniform expansion gap.

Use a Piece of Wood

Step 1

Repeat Step 1 and Step 2 from the previous section.

Step 2

Place a small piece of wood on top of the laminate and hold it tight against the baseboard. The wood should be big enough to overlap the edge of the laminate planks.

Step 3

Hold a pencil against the side of the wood that's away from the wall. The pencil tip should be resting on the top of the laminate.

Step 4

Mark the unevenness of the wall onto the laminate by sliding the block with the pencil from one end of the wall to the other.

Step 5

Repeat Step 7 from the previous section to cut, reassemble and position the planks in place.


Do not use a table saw if there is too much of a curve to cut out, as the blade can bind up.


Michele M. Howard

Michele M. Howard began writing professionally in 2009, producing sports, fitness, home improvement and gardening articles for various websites. In addition to writing, Howard is a United States Professional Tennis Association tennis instructor and a professional racket stringer. Howard holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Southern Connecticut State University.