wood flooring to brick walls

guvnahMay 6, 2010

Hi - I've posted this in flooring & home decorating, so sorry for the multi-posts, but I'm stuck.

We will be installing our own glue down wood flooring. The walls in the space are brick - old brick - so they are not perfectly straight with perfect grout lines, etc. Kind of lumpy in places but this is an old warehouse. Normally, of course, there would be some sort of baseboard around the perimeter to hide the gap around the edge. Not sure we can do that because the base board would not be flush against the walls due to the uneven bricks.

I laid out a few pieces to show what I mean. Still need to do the floor level stuff, etc.

Any ideas?

Here is a link that might be useful:

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That doesn't look bad to me...I might be tempted to just leave it as is consistent with the character of the room. However, if you want to close the gap you could use something like 1/2" or 3/4" quarter round molding, which because of its size is somewhat flexible and would allow the gap to be less. The disadvantage is that, if you force it up against all of the waves in the wall, the trim will look somewhat wavy if you're sighting along it. In addition, installation would be a little tricky since you could only nail straight down rather than into the wall. Alternatively, you could install a taller molding, which you would have to affix to the wall with construction adhesive, and then caulk the top edge and paint the molding and caulk.

If you're going to do anything, it's all about compromises so that the fix doesn't draw attention to the "flaws." I still say you should strongly consider leaving it alone. When the room is furnished you may not even notice it.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 1:34PM
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Thanks for the reply kudzu9. It's tricky, huh? We kinda thought about maybe trying to scribe the end pieces, but wonder if that would look worse than the gap.

It's an office, so once we get it full of stuff - you're right, we may not notice.

I guess if we did tall molding, we could maybe try to paint it a dark color to blend in with the brick instead of a traditional light paint to minimize the uneven caulked gaps?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 2:34PM
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If the wall is very long, scribing the boards to be flush will be a pain. I think the gaps aren't terrible but they aren't exactly small either in some areas however it does accentuate the character of the wall (I personally wouldn't mind it).

What I would do is just lay the wood down, see what it's like after a day or so. If you can't stand it, just add caulk in the gaps along the wall that's the same color (can find in laminate/wood aisle) and smooth with a putty knife. Doing that will make it seem as though you scribed it.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 5:53PM
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I once saw a wood parquet floor that was a retrofit (baseboards left in place) and the installer used 3/4" square section cork strips around the perimeter to get the expansion gap. The cork would compress as needed so the wood could move. It was a 40' long dining room, so the floor expansion could be significant.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 7:52PM
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Looks fine as is.

The above approaches are all good. Or I might consider clear caulking to prevent a buildup of crud in the gap.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 9:37AM
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All great suggestions & very appreciated. I think our plan will be to see what it looks like then decide what to do.

The cork suggestion brought up an interesting thought that also came up over in the decorating forum: leaving room for expansion. This is a glue down floor. We were assuming that once stuck down, there really wouldn't be any movement. True?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 11:40AM
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If the flooring is basically a plywood-like sandwich of opposed veneers, then there is essentially Casey

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 6:14PM
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Even engineered floors have some movement, though less than solid floors. It would be safest if you asked this question of the the manufacturer or retailer of your specific flooring.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 12:20PM
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Sorry, I meant less than 0.1% movement. Like 1/10" over 8 feet. 1%-2% movement is what you could expect from solid wood across the grain.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 3:26PM
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