Ensuring subfloor flatness - laminate questions


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Old 02-27-06, 01:30 PM
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Ensuring subfloor flatness - laminate questions

It's me again.

I think my father and I are going to do my laminate installation ourselves. After paging through this forum, I have gathered that making sure the subfloor is flat within spec is VERY VERY important.

Per this thread: http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=254700, I will have a half used-to-be-carpet, half vinyl install. If I can't feather out the difference between the vinyl and the carpet subfloor I am planning on laying a subfloor layer to lift the used-to-be-carpet side.

Either way, how do you all suggest ensuring the floor is as flat as possible? Simply take 4-6 foot level to the floor? How do you guys do it?

Also, with regard to the vinyl that ramps up under the cabinets. I was planning on simply cutting the vinyl floor along the ramp part and tearing it out. Then, after making sure I keep a 1/4" gap between the cabinet and the flooring, put a piece of stained oak or something to finish it off. How would you guys and gals handle that?

I think I found my answer on laminates under appliances. I will be putting the laminate all the way under the appliances (electric stove, fridge, and dishwasher). Given sufficient clearance for the dishwasher.

Thanks for all your help guys and gals!
 
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Old 02-27-06, 07:35 PM
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It's kinda a misnomer that the floor be perfectly flat. The specs state that the subfloor have a space less than 1/16" to 1/8" per 8 - 10 feet, depending upon the product manuf. That does mean that you can create a feather edge from your vinyl to carpet subfloor in a way that meets those specs. As long as there is less of that space. The laminate will bow over a given length, and given a gradual bow, will confirm to the subfloor. Where people run into problems is where the laminate is allowed to rock or span a dip, which exceeds the specs.

The only product that really requires a perfect flat subfloor is snap engineered in those 8 foot lengths. That product when installed will trampoline.

Stained oak trims are a good idea, however, do yourself a favour and just lift the dishwasher bottom front cover and install the laminate just under and seal the edge with silicone. We find it's usually to humid under the dishwasher, (dewpoint et all) that will slowly eat away at the product.
 
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Old 02-27-06, 08:41 PM
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Thanks for replying!

About the dishwasher, I looked under there tonight and found the vinyl only goes about 1.4 way back.
If I did just what you said with the dishwasher, would you be able to remove the dishwasher easily, if necessary? The front feet would go on top of the laminate? I would then have to adjust the feet so it is level again.

I pulled back a corner of the carpet adjacent to the vinyl tonight. Looks like there is a 1/4 or 3/16 piece of particle board (not exactly sure it is that) under the vinyl. My I couldn't get a good tape in there to measure (stupid carpet tack strip), so it looked about 1/4 or 3/16. That's too much to feather out. So I should probably raise the carpet part of the room with some 1/4 or 3/16 material, correct?
 
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Old 02-27-06, 10:50 PM
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That 1/4 - 3/8 would work. If you can get the front legs on the laminate, then you should be able to remove it at a later date. Just make sure that the material doesn't rock at the edge, you may still need to use a leveling compound. Also, when installing a new wood subfloor, nail every 3" perimeter and 8" everywhere else min. Start at one corner and fan out.
 
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Old 02-28-06, 12:59 AM
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You might get lucky with your subfloor and find a dimension that works almost perfectly. For example, a 3/8 or 1/2 inch piece of plywood (or whatever) may be a virtually perfect match for the vinyl portion. If you have trouble measuring, I would get scraps of different dimensions and actually put them next to the vinyl. Might be easier.

Something I would recommend is to order at least an extra box of laminate so that if your dishwasher (or whatever) leaks, you have replacement boards.

Something I learned from this forum is to put your transition strips in before laying the floors. I know it is not proper but I have found that heavy furniture (couch/TV) takes small bounces out of the floor if the subfloor is not perfectly flat. Of course you should strive for perfectly flat but sometimes I have not been good enough to get perfect.

You'll enjoy this project. I've done floors in about 5 places and they have all turned out while I'm no great handyman.
 
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Old 02-28-06, 10:12 AM
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Thanks for the replies!

With raising the subfloor 1/4in or so, plus the 1/4in laminate, would transitioning to the carpet in an adjacent room be a problem? The carpet has pad, of course.

Thanks!
 
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Old 02-28-06, 03:07 PM
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Hubby and i did this same project (put laminate in previously vinyl kitchen & carpeted dining room). a few thoughts:

1. you don't need to remove your vinyl. just leave it down. it's one more layer of protection over your subfloor and the edge of the vinyl will be undetectable. plus, if it's glued down, it might be a real bugger to remove, and the adhesive might leave more of a bumpy mess than just leaving the nice smooth vinyl (if the vinyl's in good shape & down tight).

2. we left our vinyl down & added 1/4" plywood to the used-to-be-carpet area & the heights matched up perfectly.

3. the height of the new laminate floor matched up almost perfectly with the carpet & pad in the adjoining family room (berber with pad). just use the correct transition strip there.

4. your laminate company probably also makes perfectly color-matched 1/4 round for you to use at the base of your cabinets.
 
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Old 02-28-06, 08:30 PM
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Great! Thanks for all your input.

Someone above mentioned putting the transition strip in before installation. Has anyone done this and or what is your take on it?

Thanks! This is a great forum.
 
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Old 03-01-06, 08:59 PM
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I have never put a transition in first, put it in last, that way if you need to adjust a board with a last row tapping bar it can be done, also you get a visual on the expansion allowance. They can be installed after the furniture or appliances are installed.

At the carpet area you could use a "T" or a "step" transition depending wether the two floor surfaces are the same level or at different heights.. Be sure to install tack strip at the doorway to give the transition proper support and keep the stretch on the carpet.
 
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Old 03-03-06, 08:40 AM
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I mean put in the transition "track" strip. Then you know exactly where the expansion gap is. You can put them in and trace a line on the floor and then remove the strips if they get in the way but you will still know exactly where your boards need to end.

I never put them in before either but I read on the forum it was a good idea and it works for me.
 
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Old 03-04-06, 01:20 AM
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You do need something to work to and make your cuts. I prefer a line because if I accidentally step on that track I am screwed.
 
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Old 03-04-06, 06:53 PM
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I cut all my transitions first, and mark where they go and where I need to end the flooring. Draw a line.
 
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Old 03-05-06, 11:09 AM
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Thanks everyone!
 
 

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