Floating Engineered Hardwood Expansion Q.

honeyhazeAugust 20, 2008

My husband and I are installing floating engineered hardwood on most of the first floor of our home, about 1100 square feet. Some of the flooring went over vinyl, some is going over marble, and some is going over existing hardwood. The existing floors are all in horrible shape and would otherwise have to be removed completely, so that's why we're doing the float. We're using an under padding and gluing the pieces together for additional stability.

So far it's been working well, but we have a question about future expansion. My husband's been leaving an expansion space around all sides, as recommended. Our baseboards will be installed over this to conceal the gap. There are some areas, however, where it's impractical for us to leave an expansion space: a sliding glass door in one area and the doorways that transition into our ceramic tiled kitchen.

Is it safe to forgo the expansion space in a few small doorway areas? We're doing a muggy summer installation and the first floor of our house has a large dry basement underneath it, so I can't see buckling being an issue in these areas in the future. But we're concerned that forgoing the expansion space in some areas would contribute to future buckling anyways.

We're talking about maybe 5% of the total flooring being sans expansion space and the rest would have healthy room to grow.



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My husband adds this to our original question:

"I am installing a floating engineered hardwood floor. On one wall, there is a sliding glass door, the base of which is about as tall as the height of the flooring plus the pad and made of metal.

I understand the importance of leaving a 3/8"-1/2" gap around all sides to all the floor to expand. However, next at the sliding glass door, I can't cut into the door casing or anything because it is metal. If I leave a gap, it will look ridiculous. Similarly, because the floor will come up level to the bottom of the door, I cannot cover it with quarter-round or other molding. I could probably use a cap/threshold piece glued to the floor, with a cut in it so the floating floor can slide and expand underneath it, but since the sliding glass door is not set back to the wall and does not occupy the entire wall, this could look funny too (i.e. along that wall I will have ~3.5 ft of flooring, then 6 ft of threshold, then another 3.5 ft of flooring)

So, two questions: First, does anyone have any other suggestions for molding or trim pieces that might work better here than what I have already considered? And second... oh boy, I'll probably get shouted at for even asking this, but... if I am careful to leave healthy expansion gaps on the other three sides, can I go flush to the door for just those six feet of that one wall and get away with it? I am installing in August, so house should be close to max humidity, and these floors do not have moisture issues, so I don't expect a huge amount of expansion, but I am still very nervous to do this..."

So we basically need someone with experience to either suggest the proper threshold pieces (a doozy for that sliding glass door) or tell us if it's acceptable to forgo the expansion space in a few small areas.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 1:26PM
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Use an end cap transition molding along the metal threshold. It is in the profile of an L on its side.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 3:12PM
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My husband's reply to floorguy:

"My only concern with an end cap is that since the sliding door is not set back from the wall, I either need to put an end cap against the entire 13' wall, which I really don't want to do; or else the end cap will be parallel to some of the flooring, which I am worried will look weird."

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 4:26PM
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