Laminate Flooring: How to install through doorway/closet opening?

I'm going to be installing a laminate floor and want to know what I can do in doorways and closet openings when I do the install. I'll be running the laminate from one room into the other (and the closet) and I know that I generally see a "T-Strip" being used in the opening. My closet opening is roughly 5 ft. wide, if that matters. I don't know what the t-strip does other than to join two fields of laminate flooring. I know about sawing jambs/trim and running the laminate underneath that. Is it a must to use the T-Strip in a doorway installation like that? I had the idea that it might be cleaner looking and cheaper to not use the T-Strip and just run the laminate through the door from one room to the other, unbroken, but don't know if this is can or should be done. I don't want it to look like a moron did this, so please help me out.
Thanks,
Danny
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Danny wrote:

No need to use the T-strip. Just run it continuous. I would not allow an installer to install Ts at doorways unless there was a change in the materials. T strips are for flooring material changes, not to make it easier to run. That is the amateur method.
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Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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"Robert Allison" wrote

Robert,
This is poor advice at best. You always follow the manufacturers instructions, first.
You really should be familiar with laminate facts, before saying something is the amateur way. Your opinion shows exactly who the amateur is, in this case.
T strips are not just for flooring material changes. Please do yourself a favor, and read up on T strips, and their purpose.
I'm a certified installer, and if you told me not to install T strips in a doorway, I would tell you to find an amateur, such as yourself, for the installation. T molding must be used in doorways on all 4 ft. and under openings. There is this thing called expansion & contraction at different rates, because not all rooms heat/cool/humidify/de-humidity at the same rate. And, yes I realize the OP said their opening was 5 ft. On the same note, if a closet is big enough to walk in, it must have a T strip. Each job is different, there's no one answer fits all.
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Nick Thurman wrote:

You are correct. Not all jobs are the same, and if I ever find a situation where the total width of the areas to be floored is over 30', then I would use a T-strip. Anything under that and I will continue to insist on continuous runs. The 50,000 or so SF that I have done thus far has had no call backs without the T-strips.
I do far more engineered wood and solid wood flooring than I do laminates, so I am not as familiar with it as I am the former flooring types.
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Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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Dang! I should have read ahead before replying! So I got it right? Just not sure on a closet though. Rooms yes, closets in rooms, not sure. I think it might depend on the dimensions of the closet. Heck, mine have those vented slat type that slide back and forth on runners so I'd end up having to do something there anyways if I did this.
It's all hypothetical for me though. Wood floors would *not* be a good pick for my place because the walls in the livingroom are solid panelled wood (not the cheap panneling, nice redwood stuff, polished in livingroom and rough in both bathrooms). Wood floors here would be overkill.
The only thing other than carpet that would work in my place, would be a terra cotta looking tile.
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First, check the mfgrs instructions. Go by that and ignore anything that follows.
From what I remember when I did one was that over a certain run length is when it was recommended. Expansion purposes just like the gap at each wall.
Mine was different in that the long edge was at the door. An entryway had a closet that I just ran the ends into but that total run was like 10'.
Kitchen had a 22' length. I put no joints there. Wasn't there more than a few months after the install so I can't even give you a 1 season test of time.
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Consider expansion and contraction first. The instruction will tell you how long a run you could maintain without an expansion joint. Usually I have problems with runs over 30' without an expansion joint, but yours maybe less per your instruction. I leave a gap at the doorway to relive the stresses - I don't use the factory t-strip but I mill my own with real hardwood. If the room side is less than 20' I don't bother with it for the closet. If you need to set the bottom track, I'll pre drill a larger holes on the laminate before you screw in the track to allow for some expansion. Done about 4,000 sf so far, works for me.
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Not just length, but position. If you have boards against the wall (with a gap for expansion, of course) narrow at the doorway, then get wider on the other side, be sure there is plenty of room where you go to wider boards on the other side of the wall. You could have contraction on both sides and pull in opposite directions right against the wall and pop the joint in the doorway.
________________ /////////______////////////// This can be pulled both directions. ________________
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Danny, it's for expansion gaps. I grant it will 'look nicer' without the T-strip but it might cause problems.
Lets take an example. I have a large living room, with a 5ft open (no door) section leading to the kitchen. If I wanted to use this type of product for both floors, then the strip might not be needed. See, humidity and temp would be the same.
Now different case, if I did the whole house, I'd want a t-strip I think at each 'closeable door' as the temps past that area (and humidity) would not be the same. That means all 3 bedrooms would have a t-strip and definately at the doors to the 2 bathrooms. Not sure if a closet would need one, but my closets are tiny old style ones something like 24x18 inch measures <groan>.
I'm not a professional installer so hopefully this is right. If any of it disagrees with the manufacturer or a professional installer, please ignore me <g>.
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