I'm putting in laminate flooring in a hallway; the hallway opens up
into a room on one end. If you measure from the far end of the hallway
to the far wall of the room, it comes out to about 30.5 feet. Now, I
read on the package that if you putting the flooring in over a width or
length that exceeds 27 feet, you have to put in "expansion" molding?
Can someone enlighten me on this topic? What is expansion molding?
Additionally, I'm wondering what will happen if I just go ahead and put
it in without expansion molding? Am I likely to see problems with the
floor? Thanks for any feedback!
You should put a transition piece between the two rooms at the doorway.
That will break up the length and allow the planks to expand and
contract slightly with the ambient temperature.
They have transition pieces shaped like a "T" where the vertical piece
goes between the ends at Home Depot or Lowe's or a flooring store.
if its a laminate floating floor, meaning its only fastened to itself and
not the sub floor, these floors will expand and contract. Typicly the gap
for expansion is left at the wall (See you package for how much) The problem
when doing a very large area is that the amount of expansion and contraction
can be greater that the amount of a gap that can be covered by a typical
molding. So, what else could you do? I wouldn't put a big expansion gap down
the middle of a floor. It will look like crap. Mayby put your expansion
joint where the hall joins the larger room. Maybe install a real hardwood
floor instread. if you haven't bought the floor yet see if you can find one
to walk on, compare the feel to a real hardwood floor.
Anyway - To answer your question, expansion molding looks like a T and is
installed over a gap left for expansion and contraction. W/o room for
expansion the floor could buckle a bit and feel springy and not tight to
floor. W/o enough of an expansion joint, if the floor expands past what you
have allowed, you will get buckling. The question is how much. Some floor
will not expand at all, some will shrink, some will expand a lot. Humidity
and tempature will control this.
Theoreticly you could install you floor so it never expands or contracts at
all! This would be possible if you let you pices aclimate to their
environment for a few weeks AND the room NEVER changes tempature and
humidity. For some folks this is very possible. For most its impossible.
So if I understand correctly, my options are:
1) Put expansion molding in.
2) Leave a larger gap at the edges in order to accomodate significant
expansions and contractions with climate changes.
In my case the second is a very real option. The baseboard molding is
rather thick, the sheet rock is not hung to the ground, and the crown
molding we'll be putting down will be at least another 0.25". The
instructions say we only need 5/16" (0.3125"). All told, we're going
to have a gap of about 1.25" from the floor to the wall. That seems
like plenty of room for expansion. Is that the only thing I need to be
(Incidentally, I looked into hardwood, and I couldn't afford it. :-( )
I installed a 40 foot long hallway without any expansion joint. The floor
expansion was large enough to cause a bit of floor buckling in the summer,
and a visible gap between the floor and the baseboard in the winter.
An expansion joint is just a molding shaped like a
T and overlaps the floor (you leave a 1/4 or 3/8"
space between the floor boards and the upright
part of the T. The obvious place would be the
door at the end of the hall.
You might be able to get away with not using an
expansion joint if you have only small changes in
temperature and humidity. Otherwise, you could
get some buckling. The expansion joint at the
doorway makes the most sense and lets you change
the floor direction at the doorway if you want.
Note that the generally preferred way is for the
long length of boards to lie in the direction of
: Additionally, I'm wondering what will happen if I just go ahead
: it in without expansion molding? Am I likely to see problems
: floor? Thanks for any feedback!
Let's see, the instructions say ... and you want to ... hmm, I
wonder if it says that because there could be problems with the
floor if you do that? What do YOU think? Sometimes even RTFM is
no good, is it?
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