Do You Need An Expansion Gap For Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is a popular choice for homeowners due to its durability and ease of installation. However, it is important to consider the potential expansion and contraction of the flooring material when installing it.

One important aspect of installation is creating an expansion gap, which allows for movement in the flooring due to changes in temperature and humidity. In this article, we will discuss the purpose and importance of an expansion gap for laminate flooring.

An expansion gap is a space left around the edges of a laminate floor during installation to allow for the natural expansion and contraction of the flooring material due to changes in temperature and humidity.

This expansion gap is necessary because laminate flooring is made of layers of wood or wood-like materials that can expand and contract based on the conditions in the room. Without an expansion gap, the flooring can become damaged or even buckle over time.

Typically, an expansion gap of 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch is recommended for laminate flooring around the perimeter of the room.

When installing laminate flooring, the tongue side of the plank should be facing the wall. This is because the tongue is designed to fit into the groove of the next plank, forming a tight, seamless joint.

The tongue also covers the expansion gap between the flooring and the wall, making the gap less visible. When the planks are locked together, the tongue provides the necessary support for the flooring to expand and contract.

Gap Filler

An expansion gap filler is used to fill the gap between the laminate flooring and the wall, providing a finished look to the installation. There are different types of expansion gap fillers available in the market, some are:

  • T-molding: This is a strip of wood or plastic that is inserted into the expansion gap, covering it and providing a smooth transition between the laminate flooring and the wall.
  • Quarter-round: This is a thin strip of wood or plastic that is placed around the perimeter of the room, covering the expansion gap and providing a decorative finish.
  • Flexible caulking: This is a type of caulk that is used to fill the expansion gap, providing a flexible seal that allows for the natural expansion and contraction of the flooring.

It is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions and to use the right type of expansion gap filler recommended for your laminate flooring. It is also important to use the gap filler that matches the color and finish of your laminate flooring, so it blends in and provides a finished look.

Skirting board gap filler

There are several ways to cover the gap between skirting and the floor:

  1. Install quarter-round or shoe molding: This is a thin strip of wood or plastic that is placed around the perimeter of the room, covering the gap and providing a decorative finish.
  2. Use a flexible caulk: This is a type of caulk that can be used to fill the gap and provide a flexible seal that allows for the natural expansion and contraction of the flooring.
  3. Install a skirting board with an integrated seal: Some skirting boards come with an integrated seal that can be adjusted to fit the gap between the skirting and the floor.
  4. Use adhesive sealant: You can use an adhesive sealant to fill the gap between the skirting and the floor. It’s flexible and can expand and contract with the floor.
  5. Install a carpet threshold: This is a strip of metal or wood that is placed at the base of the skirting and covers the gap between the skirting and the floor.

It’s important to note that when you are choosing a method to cover the gap, you should consider the type of flooring you have and the look you want to achieve. Also, it’s recommended to use the same material or color as your skirting board or flooring for a cohesive look.

Do you need expansion joints for laminate flooring

Expansion joints are not typically necessary for laminate flooring as the individual planks are designed to expand and contract as a unit.

The expansion gap that is left around the perimeter of the room during installation allows for the natural expansion and contraction of the flooring material due to changes in temperature and humidity.

The laminate planks are designed to lock together and form a tight, seamless joint, which helps to distribute the expansion and contraction evenly across the entire floor.

However, in some cases, it is recommended to install an expansion joint when the laminate flooring is installed in large areas, such as commercial spaces or large rooms, that are subject to significant temperature and humidity changes. These expansion joints are usually made of a flexible material that allows for movement without causing damage to the flooring.

It is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions and to use the right type of expansion joint recommended for your laminate flooring.