When it comes to installing laminate flooring, an expansion gap is crucial. To ensure the longevity and stability of your floor, it is recommended to have a minimum expansion gap of ¼ inch around the perimeter of the floor. In fact, installation experts suggest that the size of the gap should increase as the surface area of the floor does, allowing for the necessary expansion and contraction with temperature changes.
Why Does Laminate Flooring Need an Expansion Gap
Laminate flooring is a floating floor, meaning it is not attached to the sub-floor and rests on top of the underlayment. Without an expansion gap, your floor will lack the necessary space to accommodate these movements, putting it at risk of issues like buckling. Don’t take any chances – keep reading to find out more about the importance of an expansion gap for your laminate flooring installation.
What Happens If I Don’t Leave an Expansion Gap?
To prevent damage to your laminate flooring, it is crucial to have the correct expansion gap. Without it, the floor will not be able to expand freely and adjust to temperature changes, leading to buckling, gapping, squeaking, and irreversible damage.
To achieve the correct size of the expansion gap, we recommend using installation spacers from an installation kit. These spacers should be placed between planks and the wall to provide the required expansion space. Spacers will also help ensure that the gap size is consistent throughout your installation. Please refer to the installation instructions included with your flooring for important guidance on installing your floor. Keep in mind that different floors may require a larger gap.
It’s important to note that the expansion gap should also be maintained in front of built-in cabinets, fireplaces, pipes, pillars, transition moldings, or any other object permanently attached to your floor.
How Do I Cover the Expansion Gap?
In most cases, your moldings will fit perfectly and cover the gap. To achieve a seamless finished look, we recommend installing a shoe molding or quarter round at the bottom of your baseboard. Be sure to nail all moldings to the wall or other moldings, and never to the flooring planks, to allow for expansion and contraction.
When installing your flooring, it’s important to ensure that your moldings are wide enough to fully cover the expansion gap. Having a gap that’s too big can cause problems and affect the stability of your flooring, potentially leading to bowing or warping over time. It can also be unappealing if the gap is visible from the edges of the room. Furthermore, a large gap can make cleaning more difficult as it can trap dirt and debris. So, it’s crucial to choose the right moldings to ensure a seamless appearance and easy maintenance.
By following these guidelines and ensuring you have the proper expansion gap, you can protect your laminate flooring and avoid costly replacements.
Do you have more questions about laminate flooring installation? We will be happy to help! Post your question in a comments below!