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Old 10-07-2009, 10:09 AM   #1
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Laminate flooring - several questions

I am going to start laying a glue-less laminate floating floor today after work and had a couple of questions. I am doing a Living room and hallway that are attached, and 2 bedrooms off the hallway. Its about 525 sq ft total.

1) I have a table saw with an 84 tpi blade designed for cutting laminate, can I use the table saw to cut the corners for around a door jamb. I plan on starting the saw, making the cross cut 2" or so into the piece, then stopping the saw and backing the piece out. Then rotating the piece and making the rip cut to remove the corner of the laminate.
Anyone do this before? or should I go buy a jigsaw to use along with the table saw?

2) How to go around heating registers?
I have forced air heating. The vents are in the floor, but right along the wall, so I am using baseboard air diffusers These:
I can put the flooring under the left and right sides, but the long edge of the diffuser is very thin, and I'm not sure how close the flooring can be to the hot air coming up.
Any problems with furnace air causing excessive expansion/contraction of laminate flooring? I guess I would leave the flooring on the outside of the vent, and use a flexible white or clear caulk to cover the expansion gap. I would rather have all of the expansion gaps hidden.

3) Minimum strip width.
The hallway is 35" from wall to wall. Taking into account the 3/8" expansion gap on both sides, and the 7 1/2" width of the flooring, I am going to end up with a piece 2.125" on both sides of the hall. The manufacture says the minimum strip width is 2.5". Think I'm close enough to go with a skinny strip?
If I try and make it so one wall of the hall has a full piece, and the other side of the hall gets a piece thats 4.25" then I end up trying to fit a 1.5" piece into a doorway which I think would be worse than a skinny strip down the side of a hall where no one will actually step on it.

4) Mixing different batches.
I sorted my boxes of flooring last night and I have 3 different lots.
10 boxes (~250 sq ft) were made sometime in June, 10 boxes were made sometime in July, and the last 3 were made back March.

250 sq ft would cover the living room, but not the hallway attached to it.
Should I a)do the living room with 1 lot, and do the hall way and 1st bedroom with the second lot
or b) just mix up all the different lots and hope there isn't a noticeable color variation between the different lots.


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Old 10-12-2009, 12:56 PM   #2
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I've only done one laminate flooring job, two rooms at my Mom's house, with a qualified advisor available, and learned a lot. First: with you having different lot dates, you have two choices-return the material and insist on same lot dates for the quanity you need, OR-(the way I was taught) after allowing the material to sit a few days in the home you are installing it in, remove the strips from the boxes and mix them all up before doing any cutting. You may have some slight variations, but they should add to the look. Fortunately (?) I was not doing a hallway, so I can't help you on that one. On my project the HVAC registers were far enough away from the wall that I didn't need real thin boards. You are using the wide boards, whereas we used the thinner strips-But, I would make any corner cut-outs with a hand saw myself. Something like a backsaw, for ridgidity, or maybe a coping saw. Either of these will leave you a smoother edge than a jig saw. Good Luck, David


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Old 10-13-2009, 11:52 AM   #3
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I did a calculation when starting my laminate floor for splitting the first and last rows equally... well, apparently I lost 1/32" over nearly 30 rows which made my last piece 2" versus the 3.13" I had intended. My laminate is individual planks at 5 -1/2" by "random" length; they're glueless pad-attached planks.

I used a table saw, a compound miter saw, and a circular saw to complete the install. I made most of the rips on the table saw and only used the circular saw a couple of times. I did some notching as you describe, starting the crosscut and backing out, then ripping with the table saw, though that was only practical for a couple of cuts. The pocket cuts were more practical on the circular saw, and probably safer. A handsaw would be fine as well, especially if you're concerned about the laminate chipping. I didn't have any problems with mine chipping using the stock/crappy combo blade that came in the cheap/crappy table saw I used. The miter saw has a nearly dead combo blade in it that worked fine, and the circular saw has a 24 tooth framing blade that is well-used but it was very smooth cutting.

I think you'd be fine with the rippers being a little on the skinny side, but you'd be going against the manufacturer's instructions which might be a problem if you file a warranty claim, unlikely but you never know.

I think you should mix your individual pieces up when installing. Have you ever been driving down the street and noticed a patch of different colored shingles on a roof? I've never actually seen the effect on flooring, but like you I was concerned about having a run of slightly differing coloration out of the 30 boxes of flooring, so I opened 3 boxes at a time and drew from each of them when laying the floor. I'm pleased with my results, but then, I can't really tell if there would have been a noticeable difference had I skipped this procedure...
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Old 10-13-2009, 12:59 PM   #4
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I've always assumed the patches of different colored shingles were from patch jobs done years after the roof was done...

I ended up using a jig saw to make a lot of my cutouts for around doorways. I use a table saw for the cross cuts to make the start and end of a row. The cut with the jig saw isin't the prettiest but every cut is under a doorjamb or will be under baseboard.

I ended up with slightly less than 2 inchs on the side of the hallway. Something to do with the flooring being 7 5/8 not 7 1/2 (oops I'm getting better with the tape measure as I go) I made the pieces L shapes, 2 start in the doorway on that side of the hall, so there is some weight to those pieces. I only ended up with 2 tiny strips that can barely hold themselves down. Hopefully once I put the cold air return and baseboard back on it will be fine. Plus its not like anyones going to walk on the edge of the hallway.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:29 PM   #5
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What did you end up doing around the hole in the floor for the heat vents? We have the same in our kitchen, where I'm in the process of laying laminate flooring. I just cut the wood around the hole in the floor, leaving ~1/4" on each side--- not sure if this is good enough though. Any tips you have would be appreciated!
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:38 AM   #6
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I ended up putting the flooring as close as possible to the heater vent cutout in the floor.

This is the heating vent I used.

I found the vent was much wider than the hole in the floor so I had some play side to side when doing the floor.
However the depth of the vent was only 3/8 bigger than the hole. I made a spacer the same size so I could start the row exactly at the edge of the hole.
Now the vent covers the flooring completely.
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:34 AM   #7
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Floor vent: Mark it, drill the corners, cut with jig saw or sawzall. Set the piece to be cut on top of an adjacent installed piece, then use another piece against the hole to mark the location for the hole.

A hacksaw works great for cutting little details or bits that get left behind from the power tools. I used a mitre saw to do a lot of cuts, but a table saw for a few.

Laminate will dull wood cutting blades in no time. It's like cutting rocks or something.
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:37 AM   #8
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jig saw with scroll blade or fine tooth, tablesaw, jamb saw, excedrin
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:13 PM   #9
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With that many questions I hope that you hired a professional.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:13 PM   #10
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Cutting around door jambs.

This is a first post for me. If I understand you corectly you are thinking of cutting around the door jambs. I would recommend renting an undercut saw and cutting the bottom of the jambs, then you will be able to slide the laminate under the jamb making a professional looking job. I adress this in my website at tricks-of-the


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Old 03-23-2011, 06:37 PM   #11
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You guys are trying to revive a thread that is eighteen months old.


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