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Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

Old 04-02-2007, 06:56 PM
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Default Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

I'm installing some laminate flooring in my den in a week or two. I have a couple of questions before I start. I figured some of you builders would have my answers, and this forum has plenty of DIY'ers as well.

The room that I'm going to do is currently carpet. Do I need to remove the baseboards, or can I just use quarterround to cover the gap?

I also have a stone fireplace/hearth. How do I deal w/ the jagged lines of the stone hearth? Do I need to scribe the quarterround and then cut w/ a jigsaw or hacksaw (I can't think of the name of it, but it's a handheld scroll saw)?

Also, just to verify my thoughts before I cut. Circular saw, I put face down. Miter saw, I put material face up. Correct?
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Old 04-02-2007, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

I'll guess.....
1st I'll say you can just cover with 1/4 round.
2nd Its a coping saw and I have no idea how to get around the hearth.
3rd I'll guess and say you are correct, circular= face down and mitre = face up.
Just guessing and real help will answer soon...
Keep us posted...
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Old 04-02-2007, 08:01 PM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

coping saw. That's it.
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

use a mitre saw , the cuts are cleaner, wear a mask while cutting cuz if you dont, you will wish you had! face up on a mitre. if the baseboard comes off easily remove it (really looks clean later) if not no biggie, but use a cove moulding instead of quarter round from the 70's. the hearth is difficult.. pergo/and other laminates only have the quarter round for finishes, you cant scribe it well..one a rounded hearth we had to make relief cuts in order to bend it, but if you hearth is a straight line, i would try to scribe a similar piece of wood (flooring) to the stone, then laminate up to that keeping the laminate cuts straight.
i put that stuff in a rental garage apt. and its very durable, good stuff.
good luck.. its not difficult.. start it straight and go for it, check your reference against the wall every so often anda you`ll have no problem
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:15 AM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

Yup face up with the miter saw and forget about using the circular saw for this type of work.

As far as scribing around the hearth....how about presenting us with a pic or two so we can see what you've got.....don't want to spend the time describing a procedure that doesn't apply. Without seeing what you have, I'd be inclined to say forget about 1/4 round or cove around the hearth....it will only look like crap!

edit: Would I pull the baseboard? Well that all depends what kind of baseboard you have....a pic or two would be good here as well.
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:20 AM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

Did my dinning room a few years ago. If laminates are still the same, I would not remove the baseboard. The floor is essentially floating, so you will need to leave roughly 1/8" gap between the walls and floor to allow for expansion. The gap is easiest covered by quarter-round.

Your sawing methods sound correct. You will need to rip the tongues on the end boards with a table saw. Keep the blades sharp. This stuff eats up saw blades. As said, the copping or a good Jigsaw will get you around the hearth.

On the whole, I guess I'm happy with it, but in my opinion, a step below true hard wood floors. It is very durable, but I don't like two things about it. 1)no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to get the seams to disappear and 2)the key is to have a very level floor. Leveling my dining room floor added three days to the project and I was unable to get one spot leveled. If the floor isn't level (and the standard was 1/16 of an inch) you will get "bouncing" even with the thickest underlayment. This bouncing will eventually harm the joints.

That said, it has been a blessing since my son's birth. He has discovered the joy of throwing things down onto the floor, both food and heavier items that would have dented or marred a true hardwood floor. So in retrospect, it was probably the right decision.
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:28 AM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

I know what you mean about it not being the same as hardwood. I just bought a house that has hardwood in the main living area, but laminate in the kitchen and sunroom. Just doesn't look as good as the real hardwood. With that being said, I've had Pergo in the dining room and kitchen of my current home for 5 years w/ two labs running in and out of the kitchen and back door. The Pergo has not shown one single scratch from the dog claws. I just pray that the hardwood in my new house will be 1/10th as durable. Doubt it, but I can hope, right?
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

Here are some pics of the hearth that I'm questioning.

First the hearth








Now, the baseboard in question



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Old 04-03-2007, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

The baseboard can stay down. Do not use a quarter round use a shoe molding. Quarter round is 1/4 of a round rod, shoe molding in 1/4 of an oval.

That fireplace hearth is gonna be a pain. You can try to cope or jig saw it but it ain't going to be easy. Me I would might try to lay right up to it and the fill the gap with a grout of some sort.

By the way what in the heck is going on with the bones? That looks like Elmo's stash I found a few months ago.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:29 AM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

I put armstrong laminate down last fall in my dining and living room. Go to the company's website for directions, they are a lot easier
to read and understand. When installing watch out for the little ridges on the seams, they tend to break apart when they are forced
together, they should lock together without forcing, just read they directions and you should be alright.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:36 AM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

Just an idea on the hearth. How would it look if you put down about a 2 - 6" strip of rocks to match the hearth, but you could make the end nice and straight? Might look better than grouting, but maybe not worth the extra work. As it stands, it will be challenging and then you also have to still possibly contend with an expansion gap.

I agree that the BIG plus with pergo is its durability. Everything's a trade-off; where have we heard this before?
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Old 04-03-2007, 01:05 PM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

It's coming, it's just taking some time.
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Old 04-03-2007, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

Twentynine. I have two PIA labs that are as picky about their bones as my wife is about, well, just about anything. They'll chew part of one, then stop and won't touch it ever again. Also, sometimes, they'll chew 3 or 4 out of a bag, and no more. I've got a huge basket of partially chewed bones that I kicked out of the way for that shot.

I forgot to add one thing about the flooring. The house is going to be a rental, so I'm trying to keep my labor to a minimum.
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Old 04-03-2007, 05:05 PM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

neckbone you can do the job as good or as poorly as you would like, but this is how I would do a professional job!


*** As you can see in my diagrams I have laid the floor leading into the fireplace, but the rules below can just as easily be applied if you want to lay your floor the other direction.

- remove the carpet and underlay.
- clean sub floor with broom and vacuum.
- with two people take a chalk line and follow first diagram below.....snap the (green line).
- take a square and draw line going from the green line to the wall (blue lines) on both sides of the hearth.
- go to a butcher’s shop and get/ buy a piece of butcher’s paper - it is durable enough to work with while holding a pattern and it takes a pencil line very good! DO NOT FOLD IT when you get it! NO FOLDS!
- since your green line is 12" away from the face of the hearth cut your butcher paper approx. 10 -11" wide along it’s length - you DO NOT want the leading edge of your paper to be touching the face of the hearth, close is fine but not touching it.
- tape down the factory edge of the sheet of butcher’s paper to the green line as indicated in diagram #2 (red area). Add tape of the leading edge of the paper at the hearth to hold is solidly in place...you don’t want the paper to move while you are tracing out your pattern.
- make up your wooden jig (pic. #2). (A) = 2 x 4, (B) = 2 x 2.

* Here’s where most people screw up IMO, you want to scribe an irregular surface so that scribed line can be transferred to another material, yet most people do not take into consideration the thickness of the material it is they are working with, so they end up scribing a surface which is not equal the finished plain one would see....you know what I mean? Example: let’s just say you are working with 1" thick flooring you want to lay down. Well you don’t care if the bottom plain of the 1" thick flooring is truly butt up against the hearth’s face, you only care about the top of the 1" flooring mating perfectly with the face surface of the hearth. Therefore when scribing your line you have to follow the hearth’s face profile at the height of your finished floor....after all that is the only pattern you will see!

By using a 2 x 4 there will be plenty of meat in the wood for you to drive in a small nail at the right thickness of your floor plus underlay. Once the nail is drive in cut off the head....the finer the point you make the more detail you will be able to extract from the face of the stone.....the more detail you transfer the better the finished job will look! You will NEVER be able to successfully hide the seam with any form of trim unless you add a stone, so you might as well make the flooring’s edge look as good as it possible can!

* You need the cross section piece marked (B) because it allows you a reference to your chalk line (green line). Without (B), (A) would have no reference to square when traveling along the face of the hearth. The more square you can keep your jig to the reference line (green line) when following the profile of your stone faced hearth the more exact your pencil line will become! Your pencil line becomes your pattern for cutting out your floor.

* You want your pencil hole in the jig to be sized so it supports the pencil but not so the pencil is tight in the hole.....then use a piece of masking tape spanning over the top of the pencil’s eraser down to both sides of the 2 x 4...this will give your pencil a constant pressure on your paper. Drill your pencil hole so it is over your paper.....approx. 9" away from you chalk line (green line).

- trace out the profile of the hearth’s face on the butcher’s paper....move slow and take your time, keep the cross section of your jig (B) parallel to your chalk line (green line).
- to remove your butcher’s paper I would do the following, but you are not ready to be removing your butcher’s paper just yet, but when I was this is what I would do: use a straight edge (side of 4' level will do) and cut the paper with a sharp utility knife at a “ 90° “ to the way your floor will be laid. Not how you assume it will be laid, but off of the actual planks that you have already laid down permanently. You want to cut this paper with enough force to score the sub floor.....the chalk line is not accurate enough for measuring purposes, but your knife cut in the wood will be.
- with your butcher’s paper in your hand carefully cut along your pencil line with either a sharp utility knife or a pair of scissors.....be VERY accurate.
- lay a few pieces of your flooring down along the front of the hearth with underlayment under the flooring and lay your butcher’s paper template over the flooring up against the hearth....check your fit...it should be Very close to perfect....alter as needed, if any is needed.

*** When laying out your floor you have several things to be aware of, is the room square or how large or small are my end pieces going to be at the end walls or at door ways. Well IMO the fireplace is the statement piece in the room which the entire room is built around, therefore the floor in front of the fireplace needs to take president over the end walls. In saying this I would also do the math and see where my butt joints will end up at any door ways which may intersect with the flooring. IMO it would be a major blunder to end up with a 2 -6" piece at the face of the hearth! Personally I would sacrifice all other areas so I ended up with a 1.5 ft. pieces as a minimal in front of that hearth!

- follow the diagrams

* Make sure you use a length of flooring under your template for accurate measuring.....you need the template to be flush up against the hearth.

* When it comes time to transfer you profile line to the plank flooring I would lay down some masking tape, masking tape will allow you to transfer the profile while being able to see it.

* I would cut my lengths of flooring to the longest point on the miter saw and then take a grinder and sweep cut my profile to my pencil line. MAKE SURE the grinder’s wheel is going from the top of the plank to the bottom of the plank, otherwise you will experience tear out!

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Old 04-03-2007, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

I'm going to go a little against the grain here.

1st I put down 1200' in my own home and "Itty Bitty" ,my 90 lb Pit/Lab mix hasn't hurt it in 7 years.

I vote a strong YES for base board removal. The finish is a lot cleaner, I mean LOTS cleaner. Also you can shim out the bottom edge to make up for those OH so straight stud walls. NOTE* the boards will be about 1/2" higher when re-installed which makes door casings tough but hides removal caused marring in the wall board. It will also give the Admiral an opportunity for paint color adjustments.

Second: Use a sliding miter saw or a table saw. A radial arm saw was born for this job, rent borrow beg or steal any of the three. Nothing else will do.

About the hearth: I would suggest a tile or flag stone type boarder that can be rough cut to the stone hearth with a clean edge for the laminate and the rough edges grouted together. I would either make or alter a pre made threshold to fit. Probably made from hardwood.

It'll look factory Baby!

How's That?
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

neckbone - 4/3/2007 1:23 PM


I forgot to add one thing about the flooring. The house is going to be a rental, so I'm trying to keep my labor to a minimum.
Then why bother with new flooring at all then?

If you must though-read Garretts last post, then re-read it, then print it out. A few additions to it.

Be careful of transitions from the adjoining room(s). If those rooms have hardwood flooring, you want to match up where they left off, you want the appearance of one continuous board - no offsetting butt joints.

Definitely remove the baseboard

Cut your jambs so the flooring goes underneath

If the room has a closet(s), remember to install in there as well.
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

Just a couple of things. First of all, the carpet is completely shot, it has to go before we rent out, and at $2/sqft, w/ me installing it, it's a fair bit cheaper than carpet, which I can't install.

The fireplace is on the short wall, so the flooring will be coming in perpendicular to it. The existing pergo will also be coming in perpendicular to the long wall in the to be floored room. I plan on just using a transition piece where the two pergo's intersect.

Garrett, so you recommend scribing and then butting up to the stone? No quarterround/shoe molding?
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:22 PM
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Default RE: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

I have put down pergo in my house. I would take the base board out and cut the door jams so the board gets underneath it. Did not have to deal with hearth go what garret said
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Old 04-04-2007, 12:31 AM
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Yes you best read my other thread over several times.......once I read you weren't that fussy of the labor part I didn't bother to edit over what I wrote....sorry it's pretty sloppy in spots.

The below method is probably less time consuming and shows very well.....the red is a strip of wood 3" wide mitered at the corners to frame out the hearth. But you still need to approach the job as I described above in the other thread.
- go to a lumber yard and have them cut and size a quality piece of wood which matches your flooring (maple for maple, oak for oak, etc...).
- profile and cut your wood to fit.
- take a piece of your pre-finished flooring over to one of the better paint stores and have them mix you up a pint of stain to match.
- stain and top coat to finish.
- your new flooring with just butt right up to this framing strip.
- add a nice little bead of chalking to fill any gaps.




No, no molding that I’m aware of will work or will it look proper! If you were to take a straight edge and lay it up against the stone work you'll see some pretty big voids between your straight edge and the stone. For a molding to work it would have to be custom made. Your molding would have to be I would say a minimum of 3" thick so when you scribed the stone’s profile in to the molding you’re not left with a molding that shows massively thick parts and slivers thickness in other areas. Because of those voids you can not use a little 3/4" wide molding, you’d have no molding there for the most part! IMO, to do a professional job is to hide the fact that the stone face is not straight line at the floor line.....my first choice would be to butt my planks right up tight to the stone work (less 1/8" max.), then finish the job off with a very light bead of caulking to keep the dirt out.

If you were to nailed down a straight piece of quarter round/ cove/ shoe molding then you'd have to fill all the voids between your molding and the stone work......fill it with what, caulking? ....that would look like total sh!t IMO, but hey, weekend worriers do it all the time and they are pleased with them self when the job is done! It’s your call, but I certainly wouldn’t be spending good money for a new floor in a room with a stone fireplace and finish it off around the hearth with a skanky old boot!

You do know that Pergo laminate flooring is VERY prone to scratching....it is NOT a durable surface!

Just so you know.....keep this in mind. Last weekend I changed out 4 pieces of laminate flooring which were side by side to each other in the middle of a room at a commercial facility. To cut out and install 4 new pieces of flooring to fit it took me 7.5 hours! Yes it took me a long time to do the job, but the repair looks like there was never a problem to start off with! They paid big bucks for my services on Sunday.
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:04 AM
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Default Re: Need help w/ laminate flooring install.

I would also have to agree with others, I would pull the baseboard up as well.......if you don't you will end up with a little stubby thing after you installed some sort of finishing trim. If your baseboard was taller I'd say go ahead, but not with it being so small as it is.
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