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I am planning on spending my bank holiday laminating the our hallway tomorrow. Although I have a fair amount of experience, I am in a bit of a quandary concerning how to lay the last row of laminate and in particular the last row that starts with the piece marked in RED in following figure. The problem I see is due to there being doorways exactly opposite one another in the layout of my house.

problems scenario in hallway

I have chosen to undercut the architraves & doorframes in the all the rooms I have tackled so far.

Laying the first piece into the undercut of the doorway is clearly a no-brainer, as will be the rest of the job running pieces along the hallway itself -- hopefully. The part that concerns me, is when I get to last row. I will cut the RED piece to size based on the proportions of the undercut of that particular doorway. As you can see from the figure, that piece of laminate is shaped like a T-section and I am worried that I will approach the end of the job and then not be able to fit that piece in, or at least not with a snug fit under the architrave.

Given this scenario, which I hope is conveyed clearly enough with my relatively poor diagram, does anyone have an tips, or otherwise some potential gotchas to point out? Perhaps there is a different layout of pieces that would work better in this scenario.

Thanks for taking the time to consider this problem.

How would you choose to lay the laminate in this case?

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I have just recently tackled the same problem with my own hallway. The solution I did was as follows. I cut a piece so that it would fit the door opening and a little more, so that it will go under the door frame. I have cut this piece so that on one side there is still the laminate "click" side, while the other is naturally cut off (this is piece 2 in the drawing). This way you can attach another laminate piece to this one. Next, I cut a narrow piece of laminate (piece 1) that can click on to piece 2. Finally, I have cut piece 3 so that it will butt against piece 2. Since there is no "click" side there, there is a small gap (if you can cut it accurately enough without leaving a gap, the better). This gap I have filled with wood glue mixed with sawdust from cutting the laminate boards. For my particular laminate it is a very close match to the color of the laminate, plus is it quite a small section (for me it was around an inch). From standing height it is barely noticeable, and can be improving by careful sanding. If you have something better as the filler, than by all means use it.

You can switch between pieces 1 and 3 (in terms of which one will have the "click" side, depending on the rest of you hallway laminate orientation.

For the assembly, piece 2 (or the one it will gone with) should have the "click" partially removed, so that it can be slid from the opposite room, under the door frame and into place, with the a line of glue holding the two pieces together. Then piece 1 can be clicked to place, and piece 3 clicked and glued.

Laminate suggestion

Edit: here are some pictures. First, the glued part. In the picture it looks much worse than in real life (also ignore the lack of skirting board). The glue goes all around the piece since there were some gaps in all directions and as I said, it is barely noticeable from standing height: Glued laminate

Here the opposite side of the doorway, where the piece is clicked. Note that the central part (piece 2) goes well under the door frame: "Click" laminate

And finally the entire door frame. Excuse the blurry shot, but I hope it is enough to give you an idea of my installation: enter image description here

Edit 2: Following the OP's comment, I have an idea about how to put piece 2 in place if you can't slide it from the opposite room. This requires you to not have finished placing the boards in the hallway. You'll need to place some temporary boards up to the door in question, then measure and cut piece 2. Remove the temporary boards and slide piece 2 from the hallway. Then you can continue laying the boards as usual. To connect piece 2 with the real board before it, you still have to slide it out a little (out of the hallway, into the next room), lay the board and slide piece 2 back in. Sounds complicated, but I can't think of another approach.

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looks great. I like your method better than mine. + vote –  shirlock homes May 8 '12 at 9:32
    
@EliIser, Nice idea, but concerning piece (2) I am afraid I cannot slide it into position from the opposite direction/adjacent room, because the room is a tiled kitchen and the surface of the tiles are level with the surface of the laminate in the hallway. Still scratching my head... –  codeitagile May 9 '12 at 17:35
    
@bodhicode sorry to hear that. My luck was that the other side is a tiled bathroom which is lower, so sliding piece 2 was easy. I'll update my answer with another approach that might work for you, see if it helps. –  Eli Iser May 10 '12 at 5:21
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Normally, when you go to fit a last piece with an undercut, you would remove the bottom half of the groove from the last piece so it can be fitted under the wall trim first and dropped down at the joint. You would then top nail with small finish nails and fill the holes. As you already know, it is impossible otherwise to fit tongue and grove to an undercut on the finish end.

In your case, since you are using a laminate, there is probably a click lock channel that is not exactly like standard tongue and groove. Your laminate floor is most likely a floating type, so nailing a non locking joint is not an option. You may have to try bowing the center of the hallway up an inch or two after you lock the last piece. By bowing it a bit, you may be able to create enough angle to clear the trim, then force the field down so the last piece slides into the undercut. Of course, the easiest option is to cut the last piece very precicely without extra for the undercut, then slide the entire length of the field towards the finish end to slightly under your undercut. This is possible with a floating floor as narrow as you have in a hallway. When you start, push the first course in the undercut as far as possible, so you have a 1/4 inch or so available to pull out. In most cases, floating floors require a 1/4" clearance around the parameter anyway to compensate for expansion and contraction. In the actual doorway thresholds, I'd not try to undercut them. Remove any transition piece and replace it after the new floor is installed.

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