Laminate wood floor, maintaining expansion gap with baseboard in place.

Old 03-25-13, 03:28 PM
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Laminate wood floor, maintaining expansion gap with baseboard in place.

I am installing a Quickstep laminate wood floor. My baseboard will remain in place as there is enough space between it and the concrete slab for both the underlayment and the flooring.

In order to maintain the proper expansion gap I would like to use a spacer. Using wood or plastic spacers would make removing them from under the baseboard very difficult.

Does anyone foresee a problem with using 1/2" backer rod ("caulk saver") as a spacer, and leaving it in place under the baseboards? I am thinking there would be enough give in the backer rod to allow the floor to move.

If needed, I am going to finish the baseboards with 1/4 round or shoe moulding post install.

Thanks for any help and insight you can give.
Old 03-26-13, 06:56 AM
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Part of the purpose of the spacer aside from a uniform expansion gap around the room is to help steady the floor as you put it together. As you fit, tap, wiggle, on each consecutive row, the pieces you just put down have a tendancy to wander a little which could close your gap completely if you are not paying attention. The spacer keeps that from happening. You'll note that spacers are not required on the finishing board of each row, only on the starting piece. You end with a cut that provides the correct expansion gap. Using a flexible backer rod may make for a frustrating install, particularly all along the first row starter wall.

You have some play in the height of your baseboard as show molding will cover. At those areas where you want a spacer, under-cut the baseboard 1/8" to 1/4" below the shoe molding height and give yourself room a wood block spacer or one made out of scrap laminate. You would then be able to remove them after the install.

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