Laminate flooring - recommendations for good sites / advice ?

I've some laminate flooring to lay; 4m^2 hallway, later followed by about 5m^2 on the landing. The laminate is already purchased, B&Q's clicky stuff. Smallish Victorian terrace, knocked-through lounge and only one door downstairs.
If this was stone flagging, I'd go to Cormaic's excellent site for advice. Any equivalent for laminate ?
Do I really need to stagger the end joints ? Normally I would, certainly in a room, but this is a narrow hallway. It's pretty difficult to lay the boards down in the confined space and I'm thinking that the ugliness of the straight joint is outweighed by the easier laying.
What do I do about expansion endways ? The front door end butts against a marble step, the far end butts against the riser of the carpetted stair. Is it OK to butt it flush by the door and just leave a gap at the stair end (hidden by the carpet).
What should I do about fitting it against the long sides ? I have the skirtings up and the boards trimmed to fit, but I'm unsure about how to hold it down and in at the sides. Being a narrow hallway (5 strips wide) there's no friction with the floor to hold it down, so I'm really relying on some deliberate clamping from the sides to hold the joints from opening up. Would the skirtings themselves be adequate ?
Any advice on threshold strips ? There's an aluminium carpet-carpet strip down at the moment, and I was planing on stopping the laminate 10mm short of this and machining up an oak strip to fit into and over the gap. The only commercial stuff I've seen was pretty ugly.
Thanks for any help
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Andy Dingley wrote:

I think if you don't stagger the joins, there is some risk of unevenness, especially under expansion, where the unstaggered join could hump a little (^). Having said, that, I've always staggered my laminate joins, so don't know for a fact that it would be a problem.

Given the length I'd want a gap at each end. You could easily get/make a nice bead to cover the expansion gap at the foot of the stairs.

You mean to prevent the whole lot from moving? I think you'll be surprised how well it will hold itself in place. Once laid, the floor will be essentially one piece. 4m^2 of laminate weighs a fair bit, and it will take a lot of force to move it. Even half that (our last house had a 2m^2 floating laminate floor) won't move unless you try really hard.

I've always gone for making wood threshold strips. You can make one that fits perfectly, and make them all the same. I'd personally remove the aluminium strip altogether.
BTW - does your email work?
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On Sun, 18 Jan 2004 00:57:01 +0000, Andy Dingley

I don't understand why you have found it hard to stagger the joints. I am currently laying laminate from Floors-2-Go and it's an absolute doddle, even in the narrow "run" down to the doorway in an L-shaped room, which would be equivalent to your hall, though admittedly not quite so long. I find laminate amazing stuff, because it literally transforms the whole "look" of the property in such a short time, much more than carpet does. It kind of moves the property into a different bracket.
The hardest part of all is undercutting door jambs/architraves to slide the laminate under. But even that horrible job only takes about ten minutes of grunting and cursing. (And two with the saw!)

You don't need to hold it down - it won't move very far!

Have you looked at the Westco brand from Homebase? That's what I'm using to do the thresholds. 6.49 each strip, i.e. even cheaper than Wickes.
MM
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