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Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance-way

Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:13 pm
by mdnagel
Great to have found this site!

I am anxiously waiting to take possession of a 1998 Champion 27'x51' mobile home (on property). First thing I want/need to do is to replace the flooring (before moving in). Will be doing bedrooms, living room, hallway and den with laminates from Costco (8 mil w/sheeting attached to back). Bathrooms, laundry and kitchen will get Allure vinyl planking (have several boxes left over from a previous house): bathrooms are reasonable right now, so will wait to do those later.

I've read that planking should run parallel to long walls and or the dominate lighting source/direction. This presents a bit of a conundrum, in that the majority of light (outside- blessed with some good southern exposure and nice windows on the south side into the larger living areas- living room and den) and the longest walls tend to run perpendicular to each other. It's pretty clear that the planks would want to run lengthwise down the hallway, but then I run into openings (converges) from the den, living room and dinning room!

Regarding transitions, instructions that I've seen state that one shouldn't go over 25' w/o a break in the flooring (transition piece). At 51' in total length (of MH), I'd only require one such break/transition, but am thinking that it would be best to segment based on rooms such that in the future it would be easier to replace flooring in one area. The den, with its 45 degree threshold ("door-less doorway") makes it less than clear cut as to where I should make the break from the hallway.

I've seen from some cursory scanning on flooring discussions here that there are a lot(?) of folks using metal transition strips. It has been my observation (in an apartment with laminates) that the plastic stuff tends to look beat up over a period of time. And... Costco doesn't carry any transition pieces! (there's a website, but there's no mention of cost!)

What do people recommend for flooring for entrance-ways? Should I look to put something like vinyl planking down? There's a short wall to one side of the entrance-way which separates the living room and the den. What would make the most sense, running this planking (width of doorway) to the end of the short wall, of just bring it in a few feet from the door-way? If running the hard laminates to the edge of the door, is it advised to use sealant on the edges of the panels (in the vicinity of the door) to reduce infiltration of water? NOTE: I would love to have a vestibule to kick off shoes/boots- it's in the country! but, sigh...

I don't have ready access to the home yet, so no pictures to help show what's going on...

Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:37 pm
by Greg
Hi & welcome. I always run flooring with the long walls. I think keeping it all the same direction would look the best. As far as breaks, I would contact the manufacturer for their advise as far as the maximum length of the run and see what works the best. I made my own transition strips out of Oak, easy to do if you have access to a table saw.

I used laminate for the floor & rubber mats by the entrance, Just make sure it is a quality laminate. I have seen some cheap flooring absorb water better than a sponge and look worse after. If you can find laminate with a slight texture to it it will not be a slippery, If you have animals this is very important, Vets can get expensive. Greg

Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:58 pm
by mdnagel
Hi Greg! Thanks for the quick response!

Unfortunately I don't have a table saw... But, yes, textured, I was leaning toward this, and your note about animals and traction would tend to push the decision even more.

I'm not sure what is really quality. There's just so much out there. From my research people seem to believe that it's a pretty good product (in all regards). Anecdotals are that it's a QuickStep rebranded "Harmonics" ( Current pricing is around $1.58 sq ft.

If I'm understanding your note about the entrance-way, you place rubber mats over the laminate flooring, correct?


Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:44 am
by Greg S
From my experience the lower the price the lower the quality and the more difficult the product is to work with. Cheaper quality flooring damages more easily during installation and is harder to install. My experience shows there is a compromise point about mid range in pricing that works best and provides a good enough quality of flooring to stand up to normal use.

Cheap flooring does not ware as well and definitely is more sensitive to accidental water spills.
The cheap stuff, if any water gets into the joints, blisters like your grandmother at high noon in the desert.

Non of the products on the web site seem to indicate the thickness of the top layer. In Canada it is stated on all vinyl flooring. Is this not done in the U.S. or did I miss it?

Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:59 am
by mdnagel
The "numbers" that I've found are: 8 mil thick, 5/16" total thickness (plus 1/16" underlayment), 35 year warranty (yeah, like I put much faith in this, but...). Ran across a fair amount of discussion on this product and people seemed think highly of it (installation as well as performance). I've seen $0.88 sq ft stuff, and this isn't in that category (and higher end stuff doesn't appear to be significantly better- wear thickness is about the only real measure, and 8 mil is decent, though I have seen 12 mil [which is very expensive commercial grade stuff]).

Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:33 am
by Greg
I wish there was an easy answer to the quality issue. I bought "Home expressions" made by Pergo at Mr. Seconds and it has been a great floor. Our daughter bought another Pergo at Lumber liquidators, Her flooring is JUNK. If you walk across it with wet shoes it leaves marks that take hours to dry, leave wet shoes on it and the marks are there for days.

I have a mat in front of the door both to protect the floor and from slips, it can be worse than ice if you get melting snow on it. Greg

Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:30 pm
by Yanita

If you have the laminate in front of your doors you must be vigilant at wiping up any wetness. If you have small kids, live in a snowy area you might want to consider sheet vinyl in the entries. Also as I was reading your post you mentioned using Allure in your bathrooms. I know they advertise as being waterproof/resistant but I still do not recommend anything other than full sheet vinyl in wet rooms as well. JMO. Please post before and after pics when you have completed your projects.


Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:58 am
by Lorne
We just ordered Trafficmaster Vinyl Plank flooring for our enclosed porch.
It's the kind that has the adhesive strips at the end and along one side and floats, not nailed down. It says it is 100% waterproof with a 10 yr warranty.
From all I've read people love it and say it looks real. At HD it is $1.99/SF.
So easy to lay down, a caveman can do it, so we are hiring a Caveman to do it from "Neanderthals Are Us". Joking.

I've heard poor reports on Liquidators from "some" folks.

Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:35 am
by Greg

Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:36 am
by mdnagel
Hi folks! Still in the planning phase: too much time on my hands before I'm able to get into the home! Hoping to be able to get in and start ripping out the old flooring (carpeting) in about a week, at which point I'll post some "before" pictures.

Some additional related questions...

1) I'll have to transition just under 13' between the front room and the dining room and kitchen. Transition strips max out at just under 8' (maybe some longer, but nothing that's the length needed). Are there any issues with having multiple pieces for a transition strip? I figure that in the future I'll likely reduce the space with extra cabinetry, at which point I can remove some of the transition piece: will look to use the shorter of the two transition pieces on the end where more cabinets could/would go.

2) What are people's observations on flooring in dinning rooms adjacent to kitchens, whether to run the same, or change? I'm thinking that I don't want a reducer piece between the kitchen and the dinning room (trip hazard), and that I'd run the vinyl planking throughout both areas (less than 200 ft sq). NOTE: as mentioned in my first post, I'll be using vinyl planking in the kitchen (I installed this in a larger, combined kitchen and dining room in my wife's old house).

3) [bonus question :-)] As noted in my initial posting, I have a 45 degree opening into the den (no door jam), which is adjacent to the hallway and the living room. Most doorways seem to want transition pieces, I'll have them in all the others, but I'm thinking that I wouldn't do it here. Not sure if I'd want, or should, put a transition piece into this room. In another week or so when I'm able to get into the home I'll take some pictures and post them.

4) [overtime question :-)] Am I looking at needing to replace the existing floor molding? That is, is it reusable? I'm thinking that it's probably pretty cheap stuff. Don't have any of this budgeted: pushing about $2,500 (tax included) for a little over 1,100 sq ft of flooring (my time is pretty limited, so am going to buy a saw- about $170; perhaps recoup some $$ by selling it when the job is done). I bought a mutli-function oscillating power tool quite a while back and have yet to use it, looks like now's the time :-)


Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:00 am
by colddonkey
I've been holding back on this laminate topic trying to think of the best way to explain myself, not sure I'll succeed.
I installed Armstrong oak laminate in 2009, wish I never did and if it wasn't for my time and expense I'd take it back out. It looks wonderful but geezus it is slippery stuff. As Greg mentioned earlier Vet bills can get costly, my recently departed 10 yr old Malamute had a VERY difficult time walking on it. Got to the point he dreaded entering the kitchen and dining area as it made for dangerous walking for him. Even after putting in rubber backed runners he was hesitate to walk over gaps from one runner to the next. I just figured it was an age problem but even now my 17 month old Siberian Husky has landed on his behind more then once if he attempts to move to quickly. Its not a clipping their nails issue either as I walk them on average 35-40 miles a week.

Its not all bad review because when it comes to clean up this stuff is wonderful, and it looks good. But the con far out weighs the pro.

Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:23 pm
by Greg
IMG_8042.JPG (179.42 KiB) Viewed 5622 times
This is the transition molding I made. Basic 1x oak

This the molding a made for the edge of the tile counter top, the molding I made for the laminate floor is about the same but a little thinner and a bevel on both sides. For a strip to break the lengths you can make a "T" rather than an "L" shaped. I have some out in the shed somewhere, but it is about 6* out there - a little to cold to dig too much!!

These were done on a table saw with a router for the bevel

A word about cutting laminate flooring. Don't buy an expensive blade!!! laminate WILL rip the edge off of any blade quick. I about ruined a new $70 blade on my miter, and I KNEW better, just forgot about it until I had smoke rolling off of the blade. Remember that 99% of the cuts you make will be under molding, don't have to be perfect.


Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:52 am
by mdnagel
Nice work, Greg! Funny, I just remembered that YEARS ago I made some custom molding for around a single-piece tub and shower unit in a log home; couldn't find any off-the-shelf molding so I used a router to make some :-) I've managed to allocate a bunch more time to my flooring project, though I don't know whether my wife will go along with me spending time doing molding (we've got moving to do, plus get some fencing in for animals)... another issue, besides questionable working conditions/facilities, is having to take the time to stain stuff.


Any recommendations for a good (value) router table? I'm sure that I'll have a need later on, if not for this job.

Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:57 pm
by Brenda (OH)
I do insets of the allure trafficmaster flooring at the exterior doors, and in front of the kitchen sink in the mobile home I renovate... It is very water resistant, and because of the transition strips the water tends to stay mostly there and not get so much on the laminate.

There are wood pattern metal transition strips, but they are much more costly than the silver or gold ones... they look better. I have not used them, I do not know if the pattern would wear off.

making your own sounds like a nice idea. it also will let you make the trim for the walls which will save you a bunch of money, and might even pay for the router table.....

Brenda (OH)

Re: Laminate flooring, orientation, transitions and entrance

Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:33 pm
by Greg
Mark, when you weigh the price of Hardwood molding vs making it it's a no brainer. I doubt that I have $20. in ALL of my moldings. Now if you figure in the cost of tools.....

As for router tables, I have a craftsman (sears) that works well, I had to modify it to do raised panel doors (1/2" shank bits)so I don't think it will work well with smaller 1/4" bits. I walked into a closeout at lowes and found a $70 Skill table for $30. All I can say is look around, you may find some close out deals or check out Craigslist.