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So my flooring in almost done, I have about 99% of it installed.

The only problem is that the gap between the last board and the wall is only 1 1/2 inches. Is my only option really to cut down these nice full pieces of flooring into strips?

Worse so is that it is Uniclic bamboo so that means I can't cut 1 piece into 4 strips but that I have to cut a full piece to get each strip (cut all the tongue sides off to fit into the grove of the piece before it)?!?!

Is there any work around for this? I have the same gap in all 4 rooms, that's going to be about $200 worth of flooring that will be 75% thrown away!

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The "workaround" is to be sure to measure the room before you start next time...and then cut off an even amount from the first and last rows. Alas, kind of hard to do after the fact. :/ –  DA01 Apr 19 at 4:23
    
@DA01 Wouldn't that be more work, and leave two walls with strips? and still be the same waste? What benefit is there to that? –  user2140261 Apr 19 at 12:42
    
The benefit is that a) you're less likely to run into the scenario you did and b) aesthetics...as now there's an equal size strip on each side. Admittedly, the latter is more noticeable the wider the boards you are using are. As for waste, half the time there won't be any more than you have now (you still have the same number of rows) but the other half of the time--when the gap on each side is less than half the width of a board--you will actually have less waste (as you can use one half the board on one side of the room, and the other on the other end at the finish.) –  DA01 Apr 19 at 18:03
    
See if you can use the offcut as the starter strip in the next room. If the next room is the same width you will end up ripping the last board again, but it will be three inches wide instead of one and a half. That will look better. –  user20029 Apr 20 at 0:47
    
You might consider putting some glue in the joint of the last strip. Put some masking tape along the top edges of both strips (just in case), put some glue on the bottom of the tongue, and install. Remove the masking tape afterwards. –  user20029 Apr 20 at 0:51

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

At this point, the answer is yes. You can plan to avoid this kind of thing in the design phase by ripping down the first row, but if you're already 99% done with the install, it's a bit late for that.

One final, if not ideal option is to have a really wide baseboard and add shoe molding to the bottom, which could conceivably cover up that kind of gap, but you'd have to commit to doing this on all the walls or else it will look funny.

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And if it will make you feel better, there isn't actually any waste compared to your possible alternatives. Think about it: let's say you ripped the first row to a 2" width; then you would have to rip the last row to a 2" width as well. Either way, you still use the same number of boards. The amount of each board that's thrown away is irrelevant. The only way to avoid any waste is to avoid having to rip any boards entirely, which is out of your control since it's dependent on your rooms being perfectly sized to accommodate full board widths for the first and last rows. –  iLikeDirt Apr 19 at 1:36
    
I don't understand why everyone agrees I should have cut the first boards too, I'd MUCH rather 1 wall with a full board and 1 wall with a cut board then 0 walls with full board and 2 walls with cut boards... –  user2140261 Apr 21 at 20:23
    
Symmetry, I guess. But it's your floor, after all. You can rip the boards to whatever widths you want. –  iLikeDirt Apr 21 at 20:34

Yes you have to rip them and yes you only get one per board.

You cannot cut the tongue off or install without the tongue. It will never look right and isn't worth trying to bastardize the install.

Also don't think about it as $200. If you planned out the room you would have cut half the board out on your first row and the other half on the last row. You would have used the same amount of boards.

I did a very large room in my own house. I measure and did the calculations so that my last board would be full or almost... Well I didn't think about the walls not being 90 degrees at all. So in the corner there is no "board" needed and then at the other end of the room it goes to almost 2 inches. I had to angle off all my boards and cut out drywall bottoms because the first cuts were too small to make. It was a pain. 3 years later, it looks great. I have no issues and even "knowing" that I have the small cut it doesn't bother me even a little.

So the advice is to install as normal. If you want to extend the pieces by another 1/2 inch for more stability then cut out bottom inch of drywall.

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A strip 1 inch wide won't sit flush - it will keep popping up (we have some laminate in our house done by previous owners with the same issue - sadly you need to plan at the beginning to stop this happening) Put baseboards plus a quarter round that matches the floor and put it down to experience.

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Ew, that sucks. I bet it would sit flush if the flooring was a glued tongue-and-groove design. –  iLikeDirt Apr 19 at 17:07
    
Might be a huge workaround, but one thought would be to rip off the tongue, then finish-nail this last strip to the subfloor. For this to work well, you want to make sure your floor isn't too large, and mostly dimensionally stable to avoid seasonal expansion (engineered bamboo tends to be really dimensionally stable, though) –  DA01 Apr 19 at 18:07

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