Laying Laminate Through Conjoined Rooms

Discussion in 'Hardwood and Laminates Q&A' started by lohryx5, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. lohryx5

    lohryx5 Member

    I'm almost ready to install laminate flooring in my living room and dining room which are conjoined by a 5' wide open passthrough. In the picture, I am going to lay the planks parallel to the longest wall of the living room starting in the bottom right corner and then gradually work my way back towards the passthrough.

    Since I'm running the same flooring in the dining room, and in the same direction, I plan on continuing without a t-molding strip at the passthrough where the two rooms meet. I did buy one just in case, as well as enough to surround the tile area at the front door, but I would prefer the flooring to be continuous with the break at the passthrough if possible.

    The install sheet that came with the package doesn't provide too much in the way of detailed instructions. I did see that it says:

    "Rooms measuring wider or longer that 30 ft (9m) require the use of T-moldings to allow for normal expansion and contraction of the floor."

    My two rooms, in the L-shape that they are, have runs of 21' in one direction and 25'10" going across both room through the passthrough. So I should be safe with leaving out the T-molding, right?

    Another question. The install sheet said nothing at all about ripping the first run lengthwise to remove the tongue side. The Black & Decker book did provide a little more info and said:
    - Measure the distance to the other wall.
    - Subtract 1/2" for expansion gap.
    - Divide that distance by board width.
    - If the remainder is less than 1/2 a board width, add the amount to the board width, divide by 2, and trim the planks in the first and last rows by the same amount. I've also seen one place where it says to just remove 2" from the first row.

    So which wall should I measure to in order to determine the proper spacing? I assume I should ignore the passthrough wall and measure all the way to the far wall in the diningroom?

    Finally, the install sheet only recommended starting the 2nd run with a 12" or longer board. The book and some videos suggest what sounds like a more professional method by starting the 2nd run with a board 2/3 the normal length, and the 3rd run with a board 1/3 the normal length. This is to ensure consistent spacing of the end seams. Does this sound like the better way to do it? I'm kinda thinking yes.

    The flooring, underlayment, and moisture barrier I'm using are:

    Hampton Bay Maraba Hickory 8mm Thick x 5 in. Wide x 47-5/8 in. Length Laminate Flooring Hampton Bay Maraba Hickory 8mm Thick x 5 in. Wide x 47-5/8 in. Length Laminate Flooring (16.28 sq. ft. / case)-367471-00192 at The Home Depot

    Roberts Black Jack Roll of 2-in-1 Laminate and Engineered Wood Flooring Underlayment 46

    Roberts Moisture Barricade 18

    Maraba Hickory 7/16 in. Height x 1-3/4 in. Wide x 72 in. Length Laminate T-Molding
    Zamma Corporation Maraba Hickory 7/16 in. Height x 1-3/4 in. Wide x 72 in. Length Laminate T-Molding-013221528 at The Home Depot

    Sorry for all the questions, but I do appreciate any and all help and advice.

    Attached Files:

  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    No T at passthru. The board width on longest wall should be wider than 1/2 board, if you divide the width of room put a mark in center, put 5 or 10 boards together and measure width, then measure from center mark towards wall in increments of 5-10 boards til you get close to wall, to see how they fall, if less than half, move your centerline half the width of one board so it will be 1/2 board plus what the balance was prior to shifting it half board. This is same method for ceramic/LVT/VCT layout.
    I do not like Roberts underlayment, I think it's too pricey for styrofoam and plastic .
  3. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Black Jack and Barricade are not generally recommended for use together.

    One moisture barrier is all that is needed.
  4. lohryx5

    lohryx5 Member

    Awesome, sounds pretty good about the spacing issue. I guess I'll measure all the way to the farther dining room wall and not worry about the passthrough wall that divides the two rooms.

    What about staggering the 2nd row by using a 2/3 plank and the 3rd row with a 1/3 plank.

    Thanks for the feedback!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2013
  5. lohryx5

    lohryx5 Member

    Sorry, I forgot to mention in the original post that this is going down on a concrete slab. Do you think the Black Jack would still be fine on its own? I thought I had to use the 6mil vapor barrier in addition to the underlayment.
  6. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I also do not like the 1/3, 2/3, method as this creates a stair step pattern which to me doesn't look aesthetically pleasing, stagger the joints by different lengths far enough apart from end joints but not repetitive measurements, you want random look so your eyes are not trying to climb stairs.
  7. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Board widths usually checked for long walls unless there's a focal point , say a hearth, then that would be checked to make sure there's not a sliver cut. Usually you glue together pieces smaller than 2" along walls.
  8. lohryx5

    lohryx5 Member

    Thanks, Mike. My 1st row will actually end with a full board and will consists of 4 total boards. So for the 2nd run I should start with a piece at least 12" long? Then, the leftover piece at the end of that row will start the 3rd run. After that, I guess I'll just have to ensure all ends are about 8" from the others and keep an eye out for any form of patterns to prevent them.
  9. lohryx5

    lohryx5 Member

    The stairs have me a little confused since I have an open-riser staircase with mortised treads. My plan is to install risers and attach paintable faces, then probably cut off the tread nosing and install cap treads. There's not much I can really do with these things, but I hate the way they look now. After that, I'm going to build a shelving unit to fit and slide into the opening under the staircase.

    I'm a little confused about how to trim out the flooring edges around the stringers at the bottom of the staircase. Should I just wrap 1/4 round molding around those in order to cover the 1/4" expansion gap the flooring will need around those spots? And what should I use to cover the gap where the flooring will meet that first riser at the bottom?

    Attached Files:

  10. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Your area building codes require the stair treads to be a certain depth, so you should be sure to conform to that standard when planning the risers.

    If it were my stair case, I would try to stain and finish the existing treads to match the laminate. I also like a painted riser (and stringer, in this case) - usually in the same finish as the rest of the trim.

    The flooring on the lower floor can be installed before the last riser. Cut the riser to sit lightly on top of the flooring, so no other trim piece is necessary.

    You can use any number of trim treatments for the stringer ends. The reveal on the stringer with the railing should be covered with the same trim. A quarter-round or base shoe molding will work well on that side and be easy to replicate on the wall side, but you will have to add a filler on the wall side in the same location the railing support replaces on the other side - it should look the same on both sides, with the exception of the railing system. It would look as if the stringer trim were notched out for the railing support.

    Just my opinion.

  11. lohryx5

    lohryx5 Member

    Thanks for the input, Jim. I really hate these stairs, but they are original to the house which was built in '84. They were actually carpeted with a horrible rust colored carpet. I do plan on making the treads the same color as the flooring, but these treads are very cheap construction grade pine. They do make tread covers that match the flooring I have so I was considering going that route. I'll be sure to keep the required tread depth.

    I completely agree on a white, painted riser. So you recommend running the flooring all the way under the stairs and then installing the bottom riser. Makes sense, and I guess if I ever have to replace the floor it shouldn't be too much of a hassle to do so. I just didn't want to completely sandwich the flooring under there without any way to get it out later on if necessary.

    Good catch, I see what you mean about the filler piece on the other stringer so the quarter round is even with the railing side. Thanks!

    I guess my only other option with the stairs would have been to completely replace them, but that would be a bit of an endeavor at this point.
  12. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    What is going onto the wall next to the stairs? Base, over the laminate? You may use any trim that is aesthetically pleasing or coordinates to the similarity of the base design. 1/4" expansion gives you more options than typical 3/4" quarter round. Go down the trim aisle at the big box, buy one 8' ft of each of your choices to see which you like best.
  13. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I doubt they are pine. Maybe Douglas Fir, but even so, they were designed and manufactured to be stair treads. You can't get much better, unless you replace the treads entirely. You can remove the staples and scars and put a very nice finish that matches the new flooring and have a great stairway. It will be less expensive and prob'ly even safer than what you are talking about doing.

    Well, that's sorta what I meant. I would break the new flooring directly under the riser position. If you are installing a shelving unit under the stair case, then you don't need flooring under there too. Stopping the new flooring just under where the riser sits will allow you to remove the flooring, if you ever need to, without having to do any deconstruction. If you install the riser so it barely touches the flooring, it will allow for expansion/contraction of the flooring and give you wiggle room to get the flooring out from under the riser at some future date.

  14. lohryx5

    lohryx5 Member

    Mike, I'll be installing the 5 1/4" baseboard pictured below. This will match the baseboard I'm installing throughout the rest of the house. Then the 3/4" quarter round at the bottom of that over the laminate.

    Attached Files:

  15. lohryx5

    lohryx5 Member

    Thanks Jim. You could be right about the wood type. I honestly don't know but was just going by what someone else had posted in another thread I have about staircase remodeling on DIY Chatroom. I'll keep what you said in mind...the good thing is that I don't have to do anything with the main portion of the stairs for now. All I have to do is figure out the bottom rise with relation to the flooring.

    Okay, what you said about where to break the laminate makes much better sense. I've attached a few pics below. The first is more original approach and I guess that's why I wasn't sure if I needed to put 1/4 round or something in front of the rise to cover where the flooring would stop.

    The 2nd and 3rd pics are what I gather from your input about breaking the flooring just under the riser. The 2nd is just under the paintable riser face, and the 3rd would sit a little further in under the main riser board. Which one do you think would be the better option?

    Will there be any chance of the planks wanting to separate in the direction under the stairs as indicated in the final pic?

    Thanks again for everything.

    Attached Files:

  16. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Why is it necessary to have your risers in two pieces? Why cut the back of the treads flat? Keep it simple. One-piece riser. Fasten cleats to the stingers to nail the risers to. Toenail the riser to the tread. Paint the risers before you install them and then you only need to touch up the finish nail holes.

    If you cut the bottom riser so it barely touches the new flooring, there won't be any more bind than you have where baseboard touches the flooring. No gapping, unless you did something else to bind the flooring.


    Attached Files:

  17. lohryx5

    lohryx5 Member

    Thanks, Jim. Your idea looks like it'll work and be a lot easier. Cutting the back nosing off the mortised treads was going to be difficult. I was only worried about the amount of deflection of the tread when weight is put on it. When walking up/down the steps, there is very little bowing but I'm sure gaps would have shown. That's why I came up with the ideas I had. But it looks like the toenailing you suggested will clear that up as well.
  18. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    My illustration shows the toenails going from riser into tread, but that may have clearance issues. Going from underneath - tread into riser - should be a viable option.
  19. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    The 1/3 2/3 stagger thing cracks me up. the boards are 4 ft long fer cripes sake, given the prescribed end joint stagger you are still going to have a "pattern"
    Oh well, to each his own. I divide the lenght by 4, to get my starter lengths, then instead of going longest to smallest, I go 1, then 3, 2, then 4. Longer offsets but still making good use of the flooring, with out burning footage to avoid something you can't help but create anyway.
  20. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I usually (used to) begin with a 3-row starter course. Those first planks would be the only ones I cut with a specific stagger. After that, I only used the cutoff from the ends of rows as starters for new rows. Occasionally I'd have to mess with them to get a good stagger (the rule of thumb for me was at least 8", but it was mostly dictated by the length of the planks and visual appearance). Doing it that way prevented any obvious patterns from developing.


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