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Paul in Canada
laminate flooring issues

l had laminate (floating) flooring installed 5 years ago. l am happy with the product, however it spans two 12 by 12 rooms. these rooms are connected by a 4ft. opening. Every summer the planks (running paralel with the opening) start to buckle with the humidity. Is it acceptable to put an expansion joint in the door opening to releive this stress. if so, what's the best way to make the cut without disturbing the rest of the floor? Thanks for any advice.

Re: laminate flooring issues

You can cut laminate with a circular saw or a grinder with a wood blade. Just set the blade to the correct height.

Caution: make sure you know what you are doing, since once you cut it, there is no way back.

A. Spruce
Re: laminate flooring issues

Is the buckling occurring within the doorway itself or is it the planks along the wall on either side of the doorway?

What I would try to do is determine if the expansion gaps around each room (approx 3/8" between flooring and wall ) are large enough. What I did when I installed a large expanse of flooring was to keep the minimum gap distance from the face of the drywall, but made sure the flooring could travel under the drywall if necessary, alleviating any possible binding issues that could cause the buckling that you're describing. The baseboard easily covered the perimeter gaps.

If you want to forgo all of that, you can cut the centerline of the threshold of the doorway from jamb to jamb and install a T-molding strip that matches the floor. The T-molding will give you additional expansion space at the doorway alone. Now, this will only work if the buckling is within the jambs of the doorway, it won't do anything for buckling occurring within the room or along the walls of the room adjacent to the doorway.

Paul in Canada
Re: laminate flooring issues

Thank you for this almost immediate response. l can tell that you have considerable experience with laminate. You called it right, the gaps on the surrounding walls are not adequate, howevwer the floor has remained flat except through the doorway.
l think l will go with your idea of the "T" moulding on the threshold.
My biggest concern now is to cut and remove a section for the moulding without damaging any tongue and groove on surrounding planks. l do have 6 or 7 extra pieces if l do.
l will post the results (hopefully positive) when we do the job, hopefully this coming week.
Once again, l do appreciate your time and consideration in this matter, and maybe you'll be able to help me with future projects on my 100 year old home.

Thanks, Paul

A. Spruce
Re: laminate flooring issues

You don't have to worry about overly clean or straight cuts, though the straighter the better. The T-molding will cover rough edges. Probably the easiest way to insure straight accuracy is to lay a straight edge, such as a piece of plywood, for the length of the cut. If the straight edge is wide enough, you can sandbag or kneel on it to keep it in place while you cut.

Your cutting implement can be a router or circular saw, just be careful you don't cut any deeper than the floor is thick so that you don't damage the cutter. To get the ends of the cut that the power tool can't reach you can use a hand saw, Japanese handsaw, or carefully use a chisel and hammer. Keep in mind that when using the straight edge you'll need to set it back from the cut line to accommodate the shoe of the tool. When cutting by hand, you'll move the straight edge up to the cut line.

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