Trim Advice before starting laminate install

Old 09-28-06, 03:18 PM
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Trim Advice before starting laminate install


My husband and I are installing laminate on the first floor of our house (mainly the entrance, hall, living, dining area). I have read a lot of the forums and seen videos but just wanted to double check a few things.

I know that these are silly questions, but neither of us has ever done this and I am trying to do it right the first time.

We had carpet and (tile in the entrace) and pulled that out. My questions:

1. How level does the concrete floor have to be? There is tiny carpet adhesive left and some areas where there are small divets in the concrete (when pulling up the nails)....Nothing is deeper than a few mm

2. I had read you should always start laying laminate from the area that will be most our case the front door/entrance area. Is that accurate? If so, what moulding should be out there? I was thinking quarter round just under the door would not be noticable and might be better than T moulding or a reducer strip (and less work).

3. I have read that we should undercut the fireplace but we really feel uncomfortable doing that, since the hearth slabs lay on some sort of mortar. Can we put moulding and what type?

5. The drywall doesn't reach the concrete floor. There is a small space. I know we have to leave 1/4" for expansion, but do we still need to leave that distance from the drywall since there is space under the drywall that extends behind it.

6. when we do trim around the walls, we are planning on doing a wall base. A video I saw did wall base and quater round together. Is that the best way?

7. And finally...we were planning on installing the laminate and worry about the trim later. However how mych space would we need to leave for the tracks? I'm guessing it needs to be more than 1/4"

Thanks so much.


Last edited by syasmin; 09-29-06 at 01:53 PM.
Old 09-30-06, 07:50 AM
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Sarah, laminate wood right? May I ask which one? Only asking b/c I've made the mistake before in answering a post-b/c "laminate" itself can be more than 1 thing. If it's laminate below pro, but...

#1 Read the manufacturer's instructions on your flooring. Should tell you very specifically about the levelness. I assume the nail holes are towards the edge of the walls right? What I did was use a concrete patch. This may not be necessary for you though.

#3 You don't have to undercut the fireplace if you don't want to. It's just a more professional look if you were to but you don't necessarily "have to". Yes, you can put a molding there. Here's a previous thread that might help you:

#4 There is no #4

#5 I would still leave the 1/4" requirement. Why not? Doesn't hurt right?

#6 Baseboard and quarter round? No pro but using quarter rounds would be b/c you are not replacing your baseboards. This covers up the gap. It's really not for "decoration", but you can if you really want to I guess. No sense if you don't have to. Hmmm...I wouldn't use quarter rounds if you are replacing all your baseboards. If you're replacing all your baseboards, take them off first before installing.

#7 I think 1/4" is correct. Use and follow exactly as the manufacture's instructions say. Make sure you buy the molding as you will need use it for your measurements.

Check back as the pros can probably help you further.
Old 10-03-06, 10:15 AM
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Thanks a lot. That helps. Yes it is laminate wood (Traffic Master). Home Depot tells me its their brand made by Shaw.
Old 10-05-06, 10:58 AM
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that's the exact same laminate we installed in our previous house a couple years ago. it was pretty easy to install.

we started on a long wall so it'd be easier to get it going parallel with the walls.

our drywall didn't touch the subfloor either, but you still need to leave the planks out 1/4" from the face of the drywall. on your starter wall, you won't want to slide it under, because if you ever need to remove that first strip, you'll be able to get to the edge of the plank to remove it. and on your last plank, you'll simply HAVE to leave it out 1/4" in order to tip that plank down after you snap it in place. understand?

i STRONGLY suggest you only use baseboard to hide your perimeter gap. it's the most professional looking way to go. it will make the flooring look original. quarter-round screams "we added this floor after the house was built & were too lazy to do it the right way, so we just slapped up this quarter round".

the #1 reason laminate floors FAIL is because the flooring wasn't checked for flatness first. if you have any dips or bumps that measure more than 1/8" in a 6-foot span, you'll have movement in your floor that will cause the joints to crack off, resulting in gaps in your floor that will result in the edges of the planks chipping off. major failure, for which you'll have NO WARRANTY because you voided it by not correctly prepping the subfloor. that said, a little nail hole won't be a problem, but a little bump might be because the plank won't be able to sit flat.

i don't think quarter round is the correct transition strip to use at a front door entrance (ie high traffic area). not sure what is, but i know it's not quarter round.

you can try to simply glue some quarter round onto the fireplace hearth. i think it would look 'okay'. the floor will still be able to move under the trim & the gap will be hidden. cut nice 45 degree miters for the corners & maybe buy a fireplace/hearth area rug to hide it!

buy the video & the installation kit. you'll be glad you did. you especially will enjoy the pull bar, tapping block & spacers.

good luck!

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