The master bath has several widths as seen below. [The closets will not get laminate flooring.] My guess is to determine the cuts required for each width and choose the best fit. How best to deal with this multi-width situation?

A related issue is dealing with the edges at the tub & shower. The tub is in an imitation marble enclosure; the shower is a fiberglass pan. How best to finish those edges?

Some details not shown: The "throne room" has a pocket door. The left hand closet has a sliding mirror door. The right hand closet is simply open and carpeted (as is everywhere else).

master bath

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    I really recommend against laminate in a wet environment. This stuff is essentially made out of sawdust and glue. When it gets wet, it will swell up and buckle. You need to consider vinyl or ceramic tiles. Apr 18 '16 at 13:54
  • @ChrisCudmore - some laminate is pure rubber now. I put it rubber planking (sold as laminate) down in literally half my bathroom installs now (some look like tile some have more of a planking look).
    – DMoore
    Apr 18 '16 at 15:02
  • I'll pass this along to SWMBO who will make the final material determination. I just do the installations so I can get more tools! But it sounds like most laminates that claim to be for bathroom floors really aren't appropriate for the environment.
    – geoB
    Apr 18 '16 at 15:18

I second @ChrisCudmore's recommendation of not using laminate in a wet environment. Consider choosing a flooring type that is less susceptible to degradation via moisture.

That being said, the rule of thumb for determining plank width is to shoot for your starting and ending widths to be greater than 1/2 a whole plank width.

Here's the calculation process:

  • Measure the width of the span
  • Subtract twice the recommended expansion gap
  • Divide by the width of the plank
  • Take your fraction of a plank remainder, add 1, and then divide by two.
  • Multiply by the width of the plank, and there's your starting and ending row widths.

For multiple width rooms, do this for all the individual widths, and then pick the option that leaves you with >1/2 a plank width all around.

So for example, if you have a room with different widths of say, 67-1/2", 83-3/4", and 71-3/8", using a 5" wide plank you'll end up with starting plank width recommendations of 3-3/8", 3-5/8", and 4-1/16". For example, using 67.5" with 5" wide planks and a 3/8" expansion gap:

(REM((67.5 - 0.375*2)/5)+1)/2*5 = 3.375

Obviously you can't use all of those, so pick the smallest that doesn't send your largest width over 5".

  • If you pick 3.375" starting width, your other ending widths will be 3.375", 3.875" and 4.75". This option works, since none are below 2.5", and none are above 5".
  • If you pick 3.625" starting width, your ending widths will be 3.125", 3.625", and 4.5". This option also works.
  • If you pick 4.0625" starting width, your ending widths will be 2.6875", 3.1875", and 4.0625". This option works, but it's pushing a bit closer to the <2.5" width range, so I'd skip it.

So for the above scenario, I'd go with a 3.375" starting width, since it maximizes your minimum starting/ending plank width for the entire floor.

  • It sounds like the best fit guess was right.
    – geoB
    Apr 18 '16 at 15:19
  • @geoB In this scenario, a "best guess" would work pretty well, since all the widths turned out fine. However, if you just guess in a different scenario, there's always a chance that you'll end up with a tiny 1/2" strip of flooring at one side, and then you're screwed. It always pays to do the math first.
    – Doresoom
    Apr 18 '16 at 17:01
  • As I mentioned in my question: "My guess is to determine the cuts required for each width and choose the best fit".
    – geoB
    Apr 18 '16 at 18:10
  • Ahh, sorry, I missed that. Apparently I have poor reading comprehension.
    – Doresoom
    Apr 18 '16 at 20:58
  • No worries. Thanks to your math above I've created an Excel workbook for multi-width rooms. It calculates edge plank widths to the nearest sixteenth of an inch. It's now public at Dropbox. Hope others find it useful.
    – geoB
    Apr 19 '16 at 22:12

NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER use laminate in a bathroom. vinyl plank is fine, but not laminate. you will regrete it for every moment you have that floor. the good news is it will only be about a year, because then you will rip it out.

  • Used to be true. Laminate for the bath isn't as unreasonable as it was, particularly if you train your people to not leave puddles, put bathmats by wet areas. Mar 15 '18 at 21:39

I would run them from door toward appliaces, running next to the toilet wall. Use a separation and transition strip for both closets and the toilet. Probably stop before the washer/dryer Leave a decent gap there as washing machines tend to walk and you need to be able to move them away from the wall a bit to tilt them back enough to get the front feet over the flooring.

But really: This is a great tiling project. Tile will take you 4 times as long, cost half again more if you use inexpensive tile, and will last forever.

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