Putting the Pieces Together

Proper gluing is the key to tight, strong joints. Every groove in every plank should receive a generous amount of glue that's applied in a long, continuous bead.

A hammer and striking block are used to close up the joint between the 47 1/4-inch-long planks. Note the glue squeezing out along the entire seam — the sign of a good installation.

The center herringbone section gets installed first. Several ratcheting band clamps hold the planks together until the glue dries, which takes about an hour.

The contrasting teak border is installed after a spline joint is routed into the ends of the herringbone planks. Excess glue is wiped off with a damp rag that's frequently rinsed clean.

Two courses of medium-tone London Oak planks fill in the space between the walls and the 7 3/4-inch-wide Bangkok Teak border. Shoe molding goes down last to hide the expansion gap.

The Cost of Going Custom

A laminate floor with borders and multiple patterns can make any room a showpiece, but if you're not laying it yourself, costs add up quickly. Though materials don't cost much more, labor for a custom floor runs about $4 per square foot versus $2 to $3 per square foot for standard work.

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