Aligning seams for laminate floors?
September 22, 2009 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Laying laminate flooring; how important is it for lines from adjacent rooms to align?

So Mrs Mutant wanted new flooring in our upstairs hallway, and as the rug in place was about 30 years old I agreed (reluctantly, it was still good) to replace it.

Ripped up the old rug, painted the walls and now I'm ready to lay the new floor. For my planning purposes I've created a diagram and uploaded it here; consulting it might help in the further discussion (the three "zones" noted in this diagram helped me model the hallway not as an irregular shape but rather as three rectangles).

In August 2008 I replaced the rug in an adjoining bedroom, laying a rather nice dark laminate floor ("Bedroom with existing flooring" in the diagram). This flooring has a dark black seam, which runs parallel to the room's wall, away from the windows towards the doors. The seam is illustrated in the diagram as the vertical black lines (the bedroom is very large and only partially illustrated in this diagram which focuses on the hallway).

When we purchased the laminate we got enough to do the hallway in the same colour and pattern. But now that its time to lay the new floor, I don't think there is anyway I can get the seams from the bedroom to the hallway to align. So first question - how discordant would this misalignment appear? I do intend to lay a metal divider separating the two rooms, and covering the gap in the two sections of laminate.

Also same question - if I decide to lay the new floor so the seams are at right angles to existing flooring, how discordant would this appear?

I've laid laminate in four rooms of our flat now, but can't visualise how it might look it the seams don't precisely align. Also, I haven't seen any examples of laminate flooring that either doesn't align from room to room, or which rotates 90 degrees from room to room.
posted by Mutant to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Best answer: I think 90 degrees would look better than mismatched seams. If you decide to mismatch them, I think you should try to noticeably mismatch them rather than being almost right but not quite. But I really think 90 degrees is the way to go. Just my opinion.
posted by dness2 at 11:00 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

You should be able to get other components in the same laminate that "join" two rooms together. Something like this from Home Depot in Canada.

True, it creates a bump in the floor, and you may need to attack the bottom of your door with a saw, but they're pretty simple to install and deal with this issue well (from experience).
posted by lowlife at 11:07 AM on September 22, 2009

Oh, and having re-read your question, you already intend to do what I was suggesting :)

So, my answer: the same direction makes a lot of sense; if the lines don't "match" that's probably not a big deal; right angles might be a bit odd (but put a couple of pieces down and judge for yourselves).
posted by lowlife at 11:09 AM on September 22, 2009

Whenever you need to change colors/patterns or mis-align similar items, install one run perpendicular to the others at a door or passageway. This creates a nice, understandable transition and allows you the freedom to treat each space as needed.
posted by mightshould at 12:16 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Why can't you get them to align? It will involve trimming the three or so boards that run up the right hand side of Zone 1 so they lay flush with the wall and align with the bedroom boards.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:33 PM on September 22, 2009

If you do that, and you have enough boards, then pull a few alternates from the bedroom doorway and trim them back so the new boards dovetail.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:34 PM on September 22, 2009

Best answer: I would go for 90 degrees. I had a similar situation in my house and went for the 90 degree option, rather than mess about trying to align the joints. It's also slightly less hassle to to lay the laminate along the longest direction rather than across (again, like my situation), which is another reason to go this way. In either case, the divider will cover the joint, and no-one will notice the difference.
If you're really that pernickity, you could lift the existing floor from the long side nearest the door and replace the trimmed boards in the doorway with full boards. You would then be able to do without the divider and the floor would flow naturally through the two rooms. Personally, I wouldn't bother, but it's an option.
posted by Jakey at 1:26 PM on September 22, 2009

Best answer: Yes, it will be noticeable. Maybe not to everyone, but to a lot of people. If you can't make it work lining them up, some kind of wooden threshold would be better than a metal divider.

What about pulling up the existing flooring and re-laying it to match? If it's floating laminate, it might be less work than hacking a solution together.

But I'm not seeing why it would be that difficult to make the seam match. Easiest/best solution would be to pull out the short pieces you cut for the doorway, and insert full ones in their place. Then work off of those lines. Instant matching.

Or, lay the hallway in a "square" pattern, where you either create a stagger joint at the corners, or a 45 angle so that the hallway pattern matches both directions of flooring.
posted by gjc at 4:54 PM on September 22, 2009

Best answer: Laying the hall floor at 90degrees to the bedroom would make the hall boards run lengthwise in the hall, if I'm reading the diagram correctly. I don't much care for halls where lines run across the width of the hall as, while decorators love to say it will make the hall look wider, to me it just looks odd and, given the strong lines, busy. Can you do right angle joins in the hall without driving yourself crazy? That's where the corners turn.
posted by x46 at 5:11 PM on September 22, 2009

Also, I think there is some underlying desire to see wood floors run parallel to the joists. Old school wood floors did; the subfloor ran perp to the joists, and the finished floor runs perp or diagonal to that. The flow of the floorplan tends to run with the construction, and so we subconsiously desire to see wood-type floors in that same layout. YMMV.
posted by gjc at 5:21 AM on September 23, 2009

Response by poster: weapons-grade pandemonium -- The board most flush with the wall would end up less than 1", and my installation guide mentions 2" as the min. Not sure if this would fly.

gjc -- relaying some of the existing flooring is something I hadn't though it. Remeasuring right now - thanks!

x46 -- I can't make a right turn as it's "lever and lock" type of laminate. But I appreciate the input that running 90 degree wrt existing flooring isn't that abnormal.

Thanks for the tips guys! I'll try to post back exactly what I do. I've already reserved Saturday for the floor.
posted by Mutant at 11:14 AM on September 23, 2009

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