I’d like to start this post with a dedication. That’s right, we’re going to join our metaphorical hands, enjoy some togetherness, and give a loud proud shout out to everyone who wades into the sometimes-murky waters of DIY to do their own home repairs. We recently received a question on our “Laminate Flooring Installation Tips: Best Way To Start, and Handling Problems” video from intrepid DIY-er Bradley K. over on our YouTube channel:
How do you measure it to make sure you don't end up with a very small width piece at the end of the room? Should you rip down the starting row width to try and match it up with your last row's width? And how can you measure for this to work out?
This is a great question, Bradley! Our very own David offered this answer:
You're right, you often do want to cut the first and last rows widthwise to keep from ending up with a narrow row at the end. Here's the process:
Measure the distance from your first row's wall to the last row's wall, subtract out the expansion gap (usually 3/8" at each wall), then divide that number by the width of your planks. Let's say you have a roughly 10 foot long room. You measure and get 126", then subtract the 6/8" for two expansion gaps. Your planks are 6", so you divide 125 1/4 by 6 and get twenty 6" rows plus one of 5 1/4".
A rule of thumb is that if the remainder is less than 3 1/2 inches, you do want to divide that between those two rows, but if the remaining width would be greater than that, then you wouldn't need to do this, though you certainly can.
But let's say that your remainder wasn't 5 1/4", but instead just 2". Why would you divide that into two 1" rows? You wouldn't, of course. Instead, you add a full plank's length to the remainder before dividing. You're dividing this difference between two rows, you see. So you add the 2" to the 6" of your plank's width, then take that 8" number and divide it in two. You would start with a 4" row, install your other rows, and then end with a 4" row.
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