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rtoni 05-31-2010 12:13 PM

laminate room transition - expansion joint req'd?
Hi - I have a couple of smaller bedrooms (approx 10x13) where I'm installing plank laminate boards along the 13' length. The door in each room is on the short (10') wall which opens to a hallway where the same style planks will run the length of the hallway (approx 16') - so hallway flooring is perpendicular to the flooring in the bedroom. I assume (from reading other posts here) that the best way to transition is to cut the bedroom planks running up to the doorway so that they terminate just past the edge of the jamb (just under the door) - and the do the same with the plank that runs along the wall and across that doorway in the hall. Keep the seam under the door. Is this correct?

I can do a neat clean job of cutting the bedroom planks and butting the ends to the hallway plank, however in addition to leaving spaces around the walls, etc. the manufacturer also specifies leaving "expansion joints" where rooms transition. They don't say anything about how to finish this though.

Would a heavy bead of caulking be ok? Or should I cut a small transition piece and nail thru the center-line so it sort of "floats" over the space and the planks, covering the seam but leaving some room for floor to move a bit?


Bud Cline 05-31-2010 12:47 PM

"T" mouldings are available for room to room transitions. You need some expansion under them. The door jambs are to be undercut for the laminate to slide under them and allow for expansion there also. The baseboards are to be removed and replaced over the top of the laminate or quarter-round or shoe-mould can be used on top of the baseboard if it isn't removed.:) But still, room for expansion accommodation must be present.:)

Didn't this product come with instructions?:)

rtoni 05-31-2010 04:21 PM

thaks Bud - yeah the instruction are there but after reading them 12 times there's still nothing about how to trim these transitions. I like the flooring - no problems so far installing it - but the instructions are not great. They talk about leaving a gap at the walls, etc. but they're missing some details like the threshold part, and to add to frustration they're printed in a font small enough that i almost need a microscope to read it. Maybe they assume that the installer (me) is a much younger guy with 20/20 vision and who should just know everything...? :no:

this is a brand new addition so the baseboards and door jambs are all going in new on top of the flooring.

thanks again for the reply / info

Bud Cline 05-31-2010 09:11 PM


...they assume that the installer (me) is a much younger guy with 20/20 vision...
I deal with that all the time myself.:)


this is a brand new addition so the baseboards and door jambs are all going in new on top of the flooring
Excellent! Leave a 1/4" gap and cover it with the baseboard. One more little trick no one is likely to tell you about; Those floors have been known to twist slightly because of the gap. I've seen it happen many times. So....the thing to do is to apply small gobs of silicone along the perimeter every twenty-four to thirty inches to lock the floor in place. The baseboard will cover it.:)

rtoni 06-01-2010 02:40 PM

Bud - thanks for the feedback and the add'l tip - I never would have guessed about that

appreciate the help...

boman47k 06-01-2010 02:56 PM

By twist, do you mean become less than perpendicular/parallel to a wall? The way you describe using the silicone, I assume this is what you mean.

Bud Cline 06-01-2010 03:08 PM

For example.

In the early days of laminate flooring I installed laminate in a small bedroom, maybe 10 X 13. Six months later I was called to take a look at a gap that had appeared from under a baseboard. Sure enough, the entire room (laminate) had skewed in a clockwise direction. At one point there was no longer a gap to the wall and at the opposite corner a gap had appeared from under the baseboard.

This occurred even tho there was a bed and dresser in the room. The natural way of entering the room was to go through the door then make an immediate right turn. I assumed that the owners pivoting to the right several times a day as they entered the room must have been the cause.

We removed the bed and the dresser and attempted a "jump-scoot" of the laminate in a direction that would correct the skew. Sure enough, it did the trick. This was in the days of glued Pergo so distorting the seams wasn't an issue. We then siliconed the gaps and never had another problem with the floor.

Since then for a long time I siliconed every floor I did until I finally wised up and quit installing laminate floors.:)

rtoni 06-01-2010 03:48 PM


Originally Posted by Bud Cline (Post 449756)
I finally wised up and quit installing laminate floors.:)

uh oh - not sure I needed to hear that part... :eek:

Bud Cline 06-01-2010 04:13 PM

Sorry! Didn't mean to scare you.

When laminate floorings went to their "click" systems this made it even easier for DIYs to install their own laminate floors, so said the manufacturers.

In the eyes of the local retailers that (I was contracting with at the time) this gave those retailers an open door to reduce installation proceeds to the installer. Retailers are always trying to beat down their contract installers around here.

To continue installing laminates I would have had to significantly reduce my installation prices. The problem with that is, the task is no less time consuming. The tools are the same, the loading and unloading is the same, the undercutting is the same. Everything is the same except you don't need a bottle of glue.

The "click" systems created new issues with fitting laminates and tucking them under door jambs and continuing through doorways and stuff like that. The clicks are in my opinion more annoying than the glued floors ever where (from an installation standpoint).
But hey, that's just me. (A guy trying to make a living and pay helpers.)

The clicks also are more prone to spills getting into the joints and seams separating under some conditions. I just developed a distrust for the products and didn't want my name on their installations.

There is plenty of that stuff sold around the world so I suppose my opinion doesn't stack up to much.:)

rtoni 06-02-2010 10:19 AM


Originally Posted by Bud Cline (Post 449793)
Sorry! Didn't mean to scare you.

no worries - I was kinda half joking - I've read a lot of good things and bad things about laminates - I think I have some realistic expectations - eyes wide open. In my case, I need a nice clean surface (don't want carpet) - something easy to sweep clean, looks ok (doesn't need to be showroom), doesn't cost a fortune, and ultimately I can tear it out in about a half hour when I win the lottery and hire someone to change it up with some custom work.:laughing:


Originally Posted by Bud Cline (Post 449793)
There is plenty of that stuff sold around the world so I suppose my opinion doesn't stack up to much.:)

I am learning (sometimes the hard way) that the attention to detail as I'm working is as important as the particular product I choose - which is why I hit this site more and more for advice - in that regard I'd say your opinion / experience stacks up very well :thumbsup:

thanks again

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