handyman pull barAs a handyman I have lots of tools. For installing laminate flooring a must-have is a pull bar and a scrap block. As you start along one wall, the first coarse of laminate planks go in easily. It’s the next many courses that may prove challenging.

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You will cut off the length that is too long at the end of your first coarse, and use that piece to start your second course. This works out perfectly since you want to stagger the seams of the planks, so the off-cut will stagger the seams by the length of the off cut. What this also does is instead of just mating along the one long side of the plank, the pieces will also mate along the short edges. Since the planks are likely tongue and groove, you will need to angle the piece, push it in, and snap it together. That’s fine for one side, but not-so-much with two sides.

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The answer is a pull bar. This is a metal bar with a 90-degree arm on it that allows you to set the bar over the edge of the plank and tap it into place. I usually snap the short end into place with the long edge just touching the mating piece. Use a sacrificial scrap block and place it over the edge of the piece you are installing. The scrap only has to be as wide as the pull bar’s surface. Lay it all down, make sure it is flat, and tap the par to pull the planks together. You will have to do this gradually every foot or so along the length of the plank to gradually pull them together.

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