I am finishing my basement, and want to put laminate flooring in 2 large
rooms (kitchen and family room.
These rooms are separated by an 8 foot open archway.. as indicated by the
The question is, Can the 2 rooms be laid continuously. or do I have to put a
transition between the 2 rooms ?
So far Ive got conflicting advice,,
Thanks for any help
The kitchen is also a potential place for leaks and water damage.
Something to consider in the basement project.
Yes you can do this without a transition piece. Start in the kitchen
area and cross past the archway (doorway) into the Family room using
the same flooring orientation. Continue through the family room. I
see no reason the change the orientation of the flooring.
The reason I was concerned, is that maybe the 2 rooms may be heated
differently, so unequal expansion might warp the floor
It could be worse with water damage to laminate.
I've seen it happen when a pin nail punctured a pipe after the
laminate was in. When the base molding was set in a basement bathroom.
The laminate warped from a slow, slow leak of water.
Fixing tongue and groove laminate that warped from water leaks is not
an easy task for some folks.
In Actual fact, this area may never be used as a kitchen.... I only show
this as a possibility in my drawing. I have put in the plumbing and wiring,
but as long as I live here there will be no basement rental. If I get a
"failure to Launch from one of my kids, I would just put in a strip of tile
along the back of the kitchen.
You may have already thought of this, but there is a product called Allure
TrafficMaster Vinyl Flooring that you may want to check out. Here are a few
videos about it:
The flooring strips are made of all vinyl which means that you don't need to
worry about water damage. The strips actually stick to each other along the
overlapping edges, rather than clicking together like regular laminate
flooring. But, it is a complete floating floor and isn't adhered to the
subfloor underneath. I have some samples that I got from a Home Depot
demonstration that I attended as part of a recent real estate investor group
meeting in my area. It's just a thought in case this option is of any
interest to you.
Also, you mentioned that the basement may one day end up being a rental unit
or a "failure to launch" space for one of your kids.
You probably already know this too, but for any sleeping area in a below
grade space such as your basement, you have to have the proper means of
egress directly to the outside from any sleeping area room. That could be a
door leading directly from the room itself to the outside, of course. Or,
it can be an egress window -- as long as it meets the size, height from the
floor to the bottom of the window, etc. egress window requirements.
And, finally, if you are finishing the basement yourself or with
contractors, including adding a bathroom and/or kitchen etc., and you later
decide to sell your house, the buyers most likely will require proof that
there were permits taken out for all of that. The permit issue is your
call, and it is certainly the proper way to go, but I wanted to mention it
since the lack of a permit often holds up or kills a future home sale.
A transition is not required. It's a lot more work to lay continuously.
You'll be doing a lot more notched planks.
Sacrifice a plank and cut it into 3 inch pieces so you can plan the
layout so the tongue of the boards match the opening between the family
room and kitchen (starting from the window in the family room).
A Skil laminate saw makes things easier, though a table saw is fine too.
Buy the laminate with the foam pad already attached, and the laminate
that uses no glue (floating). Costco's Harmonics is good, though the
supplier really gouges for the baseboards and transitions.
Not enough information to give you an answer. You don't have the room
sizes marked, or brand of laminate. There should be no conflicting
advice with the necessary information.
For example: both Mohawk & Pergo state transitions are required over
40'. Think length & width. Whatever brand you go with, follow the
Don't believe the brochures and youtube videos. It's a LOT harder than
you think. Not every room is rectangular. They gloss over all the
Every constraint you add dramatically increases the difficulty.
Some things to think about:
Your rooms probably aren't exactly square.
The perimeter spacing requirements are probably close to the
baseboard trim thickness. There's zero margin for error.
Measure the board width very carefully. Tiny differences really
add up over a large distance.
If it's the stuff that tilts to lock into place, you need to
have a place to tilt it. If you try to go thru an opening,
you may not be able to tilt it. Even with transitions,
I had several situations where
I had to lay down 100 square feet or so and slide the whole
assembly under a door jamb. When this happens on three sides,
it becomes tricky indeed.
There are minimum width and seam offset constraints.
If you have a lot of stuff on the
floor, which it appears you do, you have to maintain those minimum
constraints everywhere simultaneously.
Make detailed, ACCURATE, drawings to make sure you can meet those
It may be impossible unless you run the boards one way. Pick a pattern
that looks nice either direction and with random arrangement of boards.
Even with a rectangular room,
You can't just start laying boards. When you get to the other end
and are an inch short, what do you do?
Do the math first and trim the first course so the last course meets
the minimums. You may to trim the first course at an angle to
fix any out-of-square issues. Of course, that also impacts where the
seams fit into
doorways and around fixtures and heater vents, etc.
I found that starting at the other end of the room dramatically
changed the difficulty of the solution.
Start with that EXACT drawing that shows every seam and cutout.
Something as simple as a counter that overhangs and won't let you
the board into place can derail your plan.
Take careful note of which end you're gonna cut and whether
you can use the other end elsewhere. Your pattern can depend
on the length of the leftover board from the previous course.
If you just start laying boards, you're gonna waste a LOT.
Don't even think about doing this without a chop-saw and more than
one carbide blade. The stuff dulls blades FAST. Do all your
sawing outside with eye and breathing protection. The surface
material is hard and sharp.
I spent several days with pencil and paper and calculator to come
up with a solution that worked. I managed to get all the closets
working without seams, but I still have a transition at every room.
Are we having fun yet?
I bought a Skil flooring saw from someone on craigslist
<(Amazon.com product link shortened)>. He had two extra new blades. I wondered why he only used the blade that came with the saw, since my
laminate dulled the blades pretty fast. The answer was that he installed
bamboo flooring, which is very soft (a complaint I heard is that it gets
indentations in it very easily). But the laminate, even though the
laminate layer is very thin, is also very hard, as you stated. I
probably only ripped 15 planks before the blade dulled. Fortunately
there's not a great deal of ripping. You really want both a flooring saw
(or table saw) plus a chop saw because you don't want to keep changing
the orientation of the flooring saw or table saw.
One more tip is to not try to get clever and cut a whole room full of
boards at once because the room is certain to vary because the walls
aren't straight. Cut boards as you need them even though it's a lot more
going back and forth.
I think I prefer the fake wood I have in the bedrooms versus the real
wood downstairs. There are no nails to pop up in the fake wood. If a
piece is damaged it's not too hard to replace it.
I've found that bamboo is varies a lot. The stuff I had in VT was
great. The stuff in the AL house, not so much.
"Hard" doesn't dull blades. Abrasives do. Since bamboo is a grass,
it's not very abrasive. Some woods are very abrasive (a lot if
silicon in the wood) and laminates will add abrasives to the surface
(some bamboo, too, for that matter).
Yep. Three or four courses at once - one end to the other.
If you have nail pops, something wasn't done right, likely the framing
That's true (bamboos are the same) but it's not very thick, so not
much of a challenge for a carbide blade. Fifteen cuts isn't much for
a decent blade. Of course, if it were a steel plywood blade being
used for the rips, all bets are off.
I believe you answered your question when you provided the link.
Being I had the privilege of attending Pergo certification many years
ago, when Pergo built their factory in Charlotte NC, they stressed this
exact condition. I know Mohawk followed suit on their laminates.
Pergo had all their flooring styles layed out in this long hall.
Between every style was a transition piece @ 40'.
I know times change with technology, but since both brands have it in
their install instructions, I don't believe it's by error.
Ahh yes, my bad. It's an expansion joint every 40'. Normal people
cover these with a transition or T molding. Sorry I misled you by
thinking there must be the T molding.
I guess the OP could leave a gap without a proper decorative trim piece.
But, if they were wise, they would follow the manufacturers instructions.
I'm really at a loss at attempting to explain the manufacturers
installation instructions, since you even provided the link to Mohawk.
Look at #8 under " 10 focus points".
I'm not sure if you want me to explain why the manufacturer wants it
installed this way, or to explain about expansion & contraction over
You said you never heard of such a thing as an expansion joint every
40', but you understand #8. Sorry, I'm totally missing something.
Actually, I'll bet I installed more certified installations than anyone
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