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I am installing laminate flooring in an area that has two bedrooms and a living area. The bedrooms are about 150 sq ft each and the living space is around 250 sq ft.

---------------        -----------------------------
|             |        |                           |
|             |        |                           |
|    Bd #1    | stairs |                           |
|             |        |                           |
|             |--------|      Living Space         |
|                                                  |
|-------------|                                    |
|                                                  |
|             |-  ----------  ---------------------|
|             |          |                         |
|    Bd #2    |  Bath    |      Utility Room       |
|             |          |                         |
|             |          |                         |

I know about the standard spacing that must be left between the flooring and the walls. I also understand I should run flooring parallel with the longest wall. I would like to know if I should just run the entire flooring from room to room, or if I should separate it based on the rooms and have T moulding to transition from the bedrooms to the living space. I think this would help with the expansion of the flooring and be less likely to have bowing. I think it would look better to have no spacing at all, so maybe I'm being paranoid about the spacing/bowing. Is there a standard for this type of transition? I think once you reach a certain square footage you need to insert a gap, but I'm not sure what that is. Any advice is appreciated.

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I'd consult with the manufacturer. Laminate and engineered floors come in so many varieties these days that my guess is it will vary from product to product. – DA01 Oct 8 '12 at 16:24
The spacing questions are specific to the product you're using, and the aesthetic part is purely subjective. – The Evil Greebo Oct 8 '12 at 16:27
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I think you should be more concerned with the expansion gap than other types of expansion.

In my opinion you should use some kind of separation between the living room and the bedrooms, because bigger rooms require bigger expansion gaps. And that difference in expansion could give some bowing.

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In my house i have ran continuous laminate through all the rooms (except two where i used T-moulds becuase of different flooring)... And Yes, i have not seen bowing as a result of this. However, the areas that have bowed is where i did not leave enough space between the wall and laminate (and i am talking about an inch of material which i thought would be ok..) – Hightower Jan 18 '13 at 6:05
Another good reason to use T-moulding at the doors is it will allow you start a full-width course parallel to the most visible wall – Paul Jul 29 '14 at 12:17

Since each room in your house will have different temp and humidity levels, the T moulding allows each room to contract, expand, and flex independently of the others. This helps prevent warping and cracking.

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As an installer, I have done many jobs where my client just didn't want a T-mold in the door ways. When I first started installing laminate, all the sides were glued together. This is where we always used T-molds.

Cutting Door Jambs 1These days they sell 10, 12 and 14mm thick laminate. These thicker products from what I have seen do not seem to grow or shrink like a 7 or 8mm.

All the buckling repairs I have done always involved 7 or 8mm. The one thing that I always pay particular attention to is under cutting the door jambs and maintaining the gap around all the walls.

When under cutting the jambs just make sure that you have the gap underneath where you can't actually see.

I have done many jobs without T-molds knowing that all the potential problem areas are OK.

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It also depends what time of the year it is. In the summer when humidity is at its highest, the gap should be smaller as compared to a winter install.

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Depending on what type of laminate you bought, it may be difficult to transition from room to room without using moulding because I would think that you may start having to go backwards with the laminate??

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Going backwards isn't that big of a deal. I managed just fine while running continuous laminate from a room to a closet. – Doresoom Feb 18 '15 at 16:30

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