Can you install engineered click lock flooring with a border inlay used as a threshold in the doorway?

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Gary Tarr

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Hi all,

I am installing engineered click lock flooring in the upstairs of my home. I was thinking about purchasing a border accent piece and using it as a separator between the hallway and each room. The idea is to place it in the doorway between the rooms. My concern is about the expansion of the click lock flooring.

I was thinking about not gluing the border accent to the underlayment so that it can move. I would then glue the edge of the border to the edge of the flooring on both the room and the hallway side. In this way, I was thinking that the floors would expand as one piece. Since the border is not glued down, it would not prevent the hardwood from expanding but would move as necessary to accommodate the expansion of the rest of the flooring.

I look forward to hearing your views on the feasibility of this strategy.



Thanks,
Gary
 

C.J.

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You mentioned floating floor. What does your specific floor say about installing between rooms? Does it allow for you to install without transitions? If so then you could use a border piece in the doorway. Now how you make that happen is where the skill comes into play. You will have to be able to cut a clean edge on your planks then route a groove for splines to be used. This will allow your floor to remain a one piece floating floor.
 

Gary Tarr

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Va
You mentioned floating floor. What does your specific floor say about installing between rooms? Does it allow for you to install without transitions? If so then you could use a border piece in the doorway. Now how you make that happen is where the skill comes into play. You will have to be able to cut a clean edge on your planks then route a groove for splines to be used. This will allow your floor to remain a one piece floating floor.
Thanks for your response. I took another look at the installation guide. The guide says no transition is required for areas less than 35 feet. Sadly, it says a transition is required for doorways 5 feet wide or less. These doorways are 30 inches wide. It seems this is not allowed. Are there any workarounds?

Regards
Gary
 

C.J.

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I have installed floating floors without transitions before. Many factors come into play. The quality of the product, the size of the area you are installing in, the environmental conditions of the space the floor is being installed in and such. Yes, this will void your manufacturers warranty but if you have a quality product that is being installed in a smaller area that doesn’t have crazy temp and humidity swings, I don’t mind pushing the limitations on an install that I feel comfortable about pushing those limits.

Let’s talk about your product. What specifically is it? You mentioned engineered wood. When I think of engineered wood I think of multiple layers of cross plies of real wood like plywood. Very stable. I wouldn’t mind pushing the limits with that. Then on the other hand there are products that are technically called engineered hardwoods but they have an MDF or an HDF core that is sandwiched between two thin lamella of actual wood. To me those are more of a laminate floor than they are an engineered hardwood because they will behave like a laminate floor does. I’m more reluctant to push the limits with those types of engineered floors but if all the other conditions are good, I have with good results.

Give us a few more details about your chosen products and the environment that it is being installed and we can advise you whether it’s worth it to push the limits or if you should play it safe.
 
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Gary Tarr

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Va
Thanks once again for replying. In answer to your questions :

1. The flooring is Strand Woven High-Density Fiberboard (HDF) 3/8 in. Bamboo Flooring from Home Depot. Here is a link if you want more info : Strand Woven Cherry Sangria
2. The install location is the upper floor of a house in Northern Virginia. The subfloor is OSB.
3. The house is both heated and air-conditioned. We keep the house at a constant 76 degrees throughout the year.
4. The rooms sizes are as follows :

Upper Floor Plan.png


Thanks,
Gary
 

C.J.

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I’ve installed a lot of Home Decorators floating floors. It’s an alright product that I haven’t had many problems with. You do live in an area with humidity and that product does have an HDF core so it will expand and contract with seasonal changes. If it was my house I wouldn’t hesitate to install it throughout without using transitions between rooms. The product does call for a 1/2” expansion space. I would try to honor that and make sure you thoroughly undercut all door jambs to make sure the 1/2” expansion space is maintained. That’s one thing that will cause your floor to buckle is if the floor wants to expand and has nowhere to go. It then expands up. You got teenagers that take long showers without turning on the fart fan, I’d put a T mold at the bathroom for sure but wouldn’t necessarily worry about the bedrooms. TBH that’s not a product I would even recommend for a bathroom anyway just because of the moisture present regardless of what the instructions or box says but that’s your decision to make since I’m not the one installing it.

So after saying all that, when pushing the boundaries to straight up breaking the rules, I tell people that if something happens I may have to put a transition in at a later date. You can always put one in fairly easily but eliminating one after the fact is a whole different story. That’s the risk you take by deviating from the basic instructions.

Back to the bathroom, I’m serious about this. We did a job years ago where the customer didn’t want transitions. I gave them the spiel about how it went against the manufacturer’s instructions and we may have to come back and install a T mold if an issue arises. Few months later we went back because the floor was beginning to buckle. The customer absolutely refused to have a T mold installed so we left. Nothing I can do at that point. Anyway, the customers had renters in a spare bedroom that took showers in the hall bathroom. That additional moisture is what caused the floor to expand. The renters moved out a month or so after we went there to address the issue. No more showers and additional moisture being introduced to the area and low and behold the floor returned back to normal and the problem went away. This is just something you need to be aware of because that is a very real possibility that does exist. The products instructions are written the way they are for a reason. Nobody wants a failed floor with their name on it. You will have to weigh the pros and cons of eliminating T molds for your specific situation and proceed as you see fit.
 
Last edited:

Gary Tarr

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May 20, 2020
Messages
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Location
Va
I’ve installed a lot of Home Decorators floating floors. It’s an alright product that I haven’t had many problems with. You do live in an area with humidity and that product does have an HDF core so it will expand and contract with seasonal changes. If it was my house I wouldn’t hesitate to install it throughout without using transitions between rooms. The product does call for a 1/2” expansion space. I would try to honor that and make sure you thoroughly undercut all door jambs to make sure the 1/2” expansion space is maintained. That’s one thing that will cause your floor to buckle is if the floor wants to expand and has nowhere to go. It then expands up. You got teenagers that take long showers without turning on the fart fan, I’d put a T mold at the bathroom for sure but wouldn’t necessarily worry about the bedrooms. TBH that’s not a product I would even recommend for a bathroom anyway just because of the moisture present regardless of what the instructions or box says but that’s your decision to make since I’m not the one installing it.

So after saying all that, when pushing the boundaries to straight up breaking the rules, I tell people that if something happens I may have to put a transition in at a later date. You can always put one in fairly easily but eliminating one after the fact is a whole different story. That’s the risk you take by deviating from the basic instructions.

Back to the bathroom, I’m serious about this. We did a job years ago where the customer didn’t want transitions. I have them the spiel about how it went against the manufacturer’s instructions and we may have to come back and install a T mold if an issue arises. Few months later we went back because the floor was beginning to buckle. The customer absolutely refused to have a T mold installed so we left. Nothing I can do at that point. Anyway, the customers had renters in a spare bedroom that took showers in the hall bathroom. That additional moisture is what caused the floor to expand. The renters moved out a month or so after we went there to address the issue. No more showers and additional moisture being introduced to the area and low and behold the floor returned back to normal and the problem went away. This is just something you need to be aware of because that is a very real possibility that does exist. The products instructions are written the way they are for a reason. Nobody wants a failed floor with their name on it. You will have to weigh the pros and cons of eliminating T molds for your specific situation and proceed as you see fit.

Our plan is just to do the bedrooms as the bathroom has tile. We did install a transition between the hall and the bathroom.

Thanks again for all your efforts. Your comments have been very helpful.
Gary
 

Mark Brown

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Just go for it!!
Worst case scenario is that you notice some weird pressure in your doors. You can then proceed to cut a channel in it, install a threshold piece and no one will ever know you made an error in judgment.
I have learned from much experience doing things at customers requests that my heart of hearts did not want to do that it is often times alright to do the wrong thing. Especially if you are prepared to accept the results and amend them.
 

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