How crucial is the 10mm expansion gap in laminate flooring?

I understand the reasons for the expansion gap in a floating floor but is 10mm all round not a bit excessive? Can the floor really expand up to 20mm in all directions?
Reason I'm asking, I'm in the process of laying a floor and have left the 10mm round the perimeter of the room (as I removed the skirting and can easily hide the gap) but am now up against the breakfast bar and am not too keen on a big gap and don't want to put skirting round it.
Also due to bad planning I've been left with a small (20mm) L section of laminate to fit which only leaves a few mm expansion. There is no way I can cut it smaller to leave the proper 10mm gap.
Cheers
Steven.
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Leave the gap and fill it with a strip of cork.

dunno
tim
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tim.... wrote:

20mm strip of cork?
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Steven Campbell wrote:

yes. But in general it doesn't,

Lets put it this way. I laid mine in spring over a total of 12x6 meters with a large cutout for a central chimney and hall. So a sort of U shaped piece.
I left about 4-6mm in most places but some was cut tight to the wall in doorway recesses.
Come summer, it was lifting all over the place.. I had to relieve it by 4-6mm at one place.
The expansion was mainly across the grain of the boards - these were Kahrs interlocking oak laminate engineering boards.
I would say total movement along the boards - across the 6m depth of the tow combined rooms and passage - was about 4mm total.
It was more like 10mm or more over the 12m cross grain bits
Now 1% summer to winter along any grain is to be expected. IN fact I am seeing 0.1%. So I can only conclude that the sheer weight of furniture etc etc is keeping it all flat, and the stress is taken up in the wood itself.
If you work on 1% you will be quids in. 0.1% is pushing your luck. Possibly the best thing is to store it OUTSIDE under cover for a few weeks - where typical RH will approximate to humid thundery no central heating type conditions - and then lay it. It will shrink in winter, with CH, but at least you will be as tight as it can be got.
If it does lift, all is not lost. I had the chippies in for something else, and they used a reciprocating saw to trim a few mm off where the whole lot was under huge stress. .
You don't say what size this floor is, but come back and tell me what 0.1% of the dimensions are, in terms of all round gaps

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Thanks for your words of wisdom. Much appreciated. Any laminate I have laid before, I have never once seen any expansion. Especially at the door way where I never covered the gap but I'd hate to take a chance.
The floor area is 7m x 3.5m. I've mostly left a 10mm gap round the perimeter of the room and about 5mm gap against the breakfast bar where I just didn't want a massive gap. It has also been laid under the kickboards so can expand all it likes under there ;o)
I would have thought it was best to lay it in summer when it had expanded that way you could lay it with no expansion joints as it couldn't expand any further or have I read your mail wrong?
Thanks again.
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Steven Campbell wrote:

I think you will be OK

well outside and inside RH are the same in summer. and the same outsode in summer as in winter by and large..fairly fully saturated unless ou get a heat wave.
Internal RH goes very low in winter when you heat the outside air up. So we are in essence saying the same thing: lay when its as damp as its ever likely to be a again.
I think you will get away with it though, and as I said, even if you don't, its not a complete disaster.

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Is this the tile effect stuff? Hardly expands at all IME. I never leave anything like 10mm. Real wood based stuff is probably different.
MBQ
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wrote:

Is this the tile effect stuff? Hardly expands at all IME. I never leave anything like 10mm. Real wood based stuff is probably different.
------------
Yeah just standard B&Q tile effect laminate. Thanks.
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wrote:

And +1. I have it all over my house. The conservatory is massive, and subject to huge extremes of temperature, and I've never had the slightest problem. That's bog standard B&Q Tileoc. I would estimate that my average gap is around 5mm, and in places, zero ...
Arfa
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Thanks for this.
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The following website gives the coefficient of thermal expansion for MDF as 12µm/m-K (http://www.makeitfrom.com/material-properties/Medium-Densit y-Fiberboard-MDF) That means a 10metre long board will expand 0.12mm for every degree Celsius (or Kelvin) change in temperature. If the temperature of the board increas e 40 degrees, the total change in length is only 5mm. That is 2.5 mm at ea ch end. So a 10mm gap all round is excessive unless you are likely to get an awful lot of swelling due to moisture.
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On 09/01/17 13:04, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Moisture is the key - and MDF does swell due to it.
Ignore that at your peril.
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On 09/01/2017 13:04, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

That means a 10metre long board will expand 0.12mm for every degree Celsius (or Kelvin) change in temperature. If the temperature of the board increase 40 degrees, the total change in length is only 5mm. That is 2.5 mm at each end. So a 10mm gap all round is excessive unless you are likely to get an awful lot of swelling due to moisture.

I think 10mm is way OTT. The beading/skirting is only just that thickness. You do need a gap = I have seen a laminate floor 'raft' on a few occasions, although they were in kitchens - so they could have got wet.
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman

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On 09/01/17 18:49, David Lang wrote:

There's humidiy based exapansion to factor in too.
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On 09/01/17 20:49, David Lang wrote:

I needed about 5mm all round on a floor of of 6 x 6m. IT bucked before I adjusted it l
thermal expansion is pretty much not the problem. Moisture is.
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Just laid some Wickes tile effect lam with underfloor heating and it expanded only about 2mm over about 3-4 metres, very stable. Although I hear its very sensitive to humidity or damp.
Only problem I have is where it meets a 2m wide patio door I cant find a suitable 2m strip which will allow expansion underneath it, like an upturned L section. Currently have a 10mm gap there! Any ideas?
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simon mitchelmore wrote:

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<https://www.flooringsuppliescentre.co.uk/products/flooring_accessories/thresholds_edgings/tradition_flooring/2517/unfinished_solid_oak_lshaped_threshold_40x15_mm_24_m.html
Thanks Andy, decided to use trimmed L section PVC from B&Q.
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On Wednesday, 4 May 2011 12:43:38 UTC+1, Steven Campbell wrote:

It's more about the timber swelling through damp/humidity changes than thermal expansion.
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