Prefinished Hardwood: Joining Rooms


Old 12-04-12, 07:51 PM
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Location: SE Michigan
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Prefinished Hardwood: Joining Rooms


I am laying down a new prefinished maple floor in my dining room and living room. The two rooms are arranged West to East, with the dining room in the West and the living room in the East, with a 7ft wide opening between them (see drawing). Name:  floor sketch.jpg
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I have started row #1 in the dining room, west end, and have been working my way east.

Now, when I get to the entry between the rooms, do I just keep going (and widen out? If so, how do you handle the row that will be up against the walls near the corners of the living room?

Or am I supposed to use some other trick to join the two rooms?
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Old 12-04-12, 08:49 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
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Joining two rooms in general is not a problem. You just keep on going as if they are one room. I assume that you have already determined though that the floor joist are all running the same way in both rooms in order to do this. The flooring should be perpendicular to the floor joist though at 45 degrees is acceptable but not parrallel at any time or sqeeking and hills and valleys will exist. You handle the pieces near the wall both at the east end of the dining room and the east end of the living room the same way you do the west end of the living room. You use a floor nailer when ever you can but when you approach a wall and the floor nailer can not be used you can still put a couple more rows in with a smaller hand held nailer but eventually you will install the last two rows by placing them and using a crow bar (be careful not to damage walls or baseboards) to tighten the flooring before nailing it. Usually you can use a hand nailer to do all but the last row against the wall and that row is placed, tightened with a crow bar and then top nailed with that same hand held nailer. You can usually get that top nailing done close enough to the edge to be hidden by the 3/4 inch quarter round that you should be using to complete the job properly. By the way, hardware stores have a cheap small tool that is better and safer than a crow bar in those tight places where you don't even have to touch the baseboards. Don't know what it is called but it is about a 8-10 inch piece of flat steel bent on both ends (but in opposite directions) kind of like a Z with a long middle and you just set it on the flooring you have already laid and tap with a hammer away from the wall to tighten those pieces of flooring near a wall. This way you never pry against a base board. You do need to place that steel tool on a shim, piece of plastic, or card board to avoid injuring the already laid flooring but once you learn how to use it, its fast (cost under $10). The trick on the west end of the dining room isn't complicated but is different from the other walls since you won't have the previous board to drive up to as you enter the dining room. What you do is get to that next room and stop after the first piece enters the dining room. Then pop a line in the next room perfectly lining up with the flooring already laid showing you where to place that first row in the dining room. You then use that line to lay the first piece in the dining room which will be against the west wall of the dining room top nailing that row since it will again be hidden by quarter round and this will be the piece to which you keep gong on in the dining room. Top nail it well though since you are hitting the next piece against it. It sounds harder than it is. You will prob have to rip that piece. Of course, always allow 1/4 inch between the wall and the flooring. An alternative method is to lay a threshold between the two rooms and start anew in the next room but I think this is not as attractive. Just FYI, hope you went around and renailed the subflooring anywhere it creaks before laying the flooring, sand down any elevated joints in the subflooring that occasionally occur over time, and lay 15 lb felt below the flooring to minimize moisture coming up from the subfloor. (won't get another chance to do these things). Hope this helps.

Last edited by DWinn; 12-04-12 at 08:55 PM. Reason: errors
Old 12-05-12, 04:59 AM
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One point of difference. As you enter the living room, place as long a strip of flooring as you can across the entrance, even if it means several pieces. Let it overhang the entrance by a foot. This will help determine your straight line as DWinn suggested. No rooms are square, so you may even find yourself trimming flooring so it will fit in one side of the room or the other. Otherwise DWinn about covered it all. Let us know if we can help further.
Old 12-10-12, 10:00 AM
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 83
Alternatively, you could have started laying the flooring from the doorway, and worked your way out from there. It helps keep things straight.

Name:  floor%20sketch.gif
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The Red plank would be your starter course.
The light blue line would be the grooved-side of the plank.
The orange line is a spline that allows you to attach two grooves together. (make the spline on your table saw and glue it between the grooves w/ wood adhesive.

You'll end up being able to work form the middle out, in two directions.

Last edited by Seattle2k; 12-10-12 at 10:30 AM.
Old 12-10-12, 02:21 PM
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S2K, I would have suggested that method, too, but the OP had already started on the flooring and I felt he was underway, so not to confuse the issue. Good process to use to ensure it stays straight.

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