hardwood floor trim

I have had several companies over to estimate installation of a hardwood floor. One guy says he uses 3/4 quarter round. Another uses half inch quarter round and another uses shoe molding. I think one reason the first one uses 3/4 is that they don't have to be as precise with the cuts near the wall. However, I have read that you need to leave a half inch space where the wood adjoins the walls. So if someone uses shoe molding or 1/2 inch quarter round, couldn't the floor slip out from under the molding? The smaller molding looks much better, but I don't want problems later. Any thoughts? Thanks in Advance JD
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JD wrote:

the old standard was always a 1/2" gap. however, i have talked to flooring installers who have done hundreds of floors who say 1/4" is plenty. i think they are right, unless you have a very large floor like a gym floor, or are doing something weird like installing a floor in extremely dry conditions and it later gets humid.
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I believe deferent woods have deferent expansion and contraction rates. I would pull all the base board . Put new base in and then a shoe base. The shoe base can vary the stuff I used was 1/2 " wide and 3/4 high with a half inch round over. So with base and shoe molding you will have a minimum of one inch of material to hide flooring edge. What the shoe molding dose eliminates the need to scribe the base in. when I was a apprentice carpenter 1972 we would put base against the wall scribe to the floor and then plane it to fit, you can imagine the time involved. the shoe base bends and conforms to the floor irregularities.
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JD wrote:

What's on the floor now? It sounds like the baseboards are already in place - otherwise most of the expansion gap would be covered by the baseboard with additional coverage by the shoe molding. Quarter round looks clunky. Shoe molding is a much nicer look.
The flooring company could use a jamb saw to undercut the baseboard. The flooring company should have one if they're an outfit that's been around for any length of time. http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=%22jamb%20saw It's fairly common for the baseboard to be held up 3/8" or so above the subfloor to allow the carpet edge to be tucked under the baseboard. Either way undercutting it is a fairly quick operation. The corners have to be cleaned up with a chisel and hand saws, but unless the room is very complicated it's straightforward. The only question is how much the flooring company will charge for the extra effort. It might be something you could do yourself if you're reasonably handy. You can rent a jamb saw from Home Depot or other tool rental store. The work doesn't have to be super precise as the shoe molding will cover the edge.
R
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