Originally Posted by hanesian
Don't leave us hanging here, man - some of us are actually on the cusp of installing laminate, so ... what did you discover?!
We teaming hoards demand to know!!
Sorry Hanesian, I wasn't ignoring you...really!
I started to give an answer when I saw your post but it was late and whatever I typed made no sense so I decided I'd better wait!! Not that the description I am about to give will be any more clear...
I was SURE I took a photo of this issue but I cannot find it if I did (will post if I run across it!).
Everyone kept telling me "make SURE you leave enough room around the edges of the flooring for expansion!"
It was drilled into my head by all my friends and my buddy who sells flooring. To the point where that was pretty much ALL I was worried about.
I heard various numbers, too; 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", etc, etc. So I even bought quarter-round for the baseboards to be SURE I could cover up this cavern I was about to leave around the edges.
Even when I began installing the flooring (after the padding was down), I realized that the gap at the bottom of the drywall allowed the flooring to go another 1/2" past the walls (up under the drywall)!
I wasn't sure at this point which to use; the sole plate or the drywall for my gap consideration. We had bought one of those laminate floor install kits that includes a tap block, puller bar and a bunch of plastic spacers to set an even gap around the edge (inexpensive and money well-spent).
Well, since I had to "be SURE" to have enough gap, as I was told, I chose to use the drywall as my gage and we gapped it 3/8" from the drywall. If I do it again I will choose to make it dead even with the drywall which would still give me a 1/2" gap for expansion (the floor doesn't know where the drywall is, right?).
The number ONE reason for this is the door casings. Yes, the CASINGS!! Standard Colonial (or even Ranch) casings are the thickest at the point away from the door opening and the taper to be rather thin nearest the door.
Well...when you have a 3/8" GAP ALL AROUND from the drywall, guess what you see when the casing is put in place....that's right...a HUGE gap!! UGGH!!!
Had I known this, I would have done it differently to be sure. The only solution I could come up with is to use those blocks that you sometimes see at the bottom of the casings on old Victorian homes (others, too). This block is about 5/8" think and will cover that gap - BARELY!
They have larger blocks, I used the smallest Lowe's had and they worked fine. It was just an additional task/cost I didn't consider!!
And since none of the walls are perfectly straight, the standard baseboard does NOT cover every gap. Some gaps show at the center where the wall is slightly bowed inward and others show at the ends where the wall is bowed outward.
Not to worry, I already bought and stained quarter-round, remember? I would NOT have needed this quarter-round had I gapped the flooring to the sole plates of the walls. So, now I get to cut and cope quarter-round for all the baseboards even though there are only three places where you can see a gap.