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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I know we have a lot of contractors here, so I thought my question could be answered with ease by those in the know.

I am looking to install new laminate floor in my new apartment (more specifically, Ikea Tundra series) and have one weird question. I read that you should keep the flooring in the apartment in the packaging for 48 hours to "acclimate" the wood before installation. Now, I am not a contractor, but I am good with science. To me, the point of this would be valid if my wood was shipped from deep freeze Alaska to sunny Florida. However, if I am picking up the laminate 10 miles away from my apartment, I don't see how/why it needs to acclimate. Also, when I install it, there won't be air conditioning on, but a week later when I move in, it will be, swinging the temperature 30 degrees. Surely this is just a way for manufacturers to cover their ass no? Furthermore, waiting 48 hours severely screws up my timetable.

So, lets say all you pros tell me that I do in fact need to wait 48 hours. Can I still lay the flooring out, then just NOT secure them in with the 1/4" round molding and just let it lay there for 48 hours? Won't that be the same as it being in the boxes?

Thanks for the help and any advice anyone can offer me.
 

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I'm not a pro, but I have installed the stuff. If I recall correctly the main issue is humidity. If you're doing a simple rectangular pattern, not too large of an area, I can't see much of an issue. Otherwise, you need to read the warranty info and make sure you are comfortable with the fact that your install may not be fully covered by the warranty...

In you're case, going from no air conditioning to adding air later, the result should be shrinkage (as the air conditioning will suck moisture out of the air). That would be better than a problem with buckling, but still if any cracks do open up it could be a bit of a pain to make it look good.

Edit; then again, if the stuff is stored in an airconditioned warehouse you could get buckling installing it without prior acclimation.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I can understand that if we are talking about real hardwood, or even click lock wood. I am installing 100% fake wood laminate, so I can't really see the problem. However, I will leave the stuff in the apartment for 24 hours. I will be installing Friday, with 90% humidity in the NY/NJ area, so if anything, the laminate will shrink rather than expand. Also, I figured since the floor isn't attached to anything, size changes shouldn't be much of a problem.

On a side note, since you did do installs, any helpful tips that can be useful?
 

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I thought the laminates where still on a plywood type substrate? In any case, I can't imagine you having many problems.

As to the install, about the only thing that comes to mind -- other than following the instructions -- is that you should plan out the install so you don't have some really small pieces at a doorway or high traffic area or somewhere really visible. That might mean ripping the first row in half or some such thing.
 

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Laminate flooring is typically HDF board (high density fiber) and it absorbs moisture like a sponge. I would let it sit for 48 hours. It should be fine with 24 hours as well. Installation is a piece of cake as it's just a floating click together type flooring, so there really are no "tips" other than... make sure your first row is straight and go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Straight is a loose word...do I make it LOOK straight, or do I go by the walls...the problem is my apartment is a train car apartment....meaning, it's one room after another, so I want to do a seamless front to back job. However, if the wall is off, 40 feet down the line, my pattern might be off as well no? I don't know a lot about construction, just wondering if you can help...

Also, I remember you own a contracting company, maybe you can help me out in this thread... http://www.luxury4play.com/construction/31352-miter-saw-help-tool-nuts-please-help.html
 

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Straight is a loose word...do I make it LOOK straight, or do I go by the walls...the problem is my apartment is a train car apartment....meaning, it's one room after another, so I want to do a seamless front to back job.
Personally, I'd probably run the floor so that you have the planks running left to right across the short dimension of the apartment. The advantages are: your eye is drawn in such a way to make the rooms look wider, it's going to be easier to work through the doorways as you go from room to room with more ability to adjust for slight errors and it's probably going to be easier to lay, though it may involve a little more cutting.

Assuming that's what you're going to do, I'd start by measuring the short walls in a given room. If they are the same length you're off to a good start. Either way, find the center of the wall, make a mark and then snap a chalk line from the center to center down the middle of the room (the long way). Take a carpenters square and place it on this line to see how the walls line up with the center. If the short wall is not square (at a perfect right angle) to this line you want to adjust your first piece so that it is square to the line and not parallel to the wall. Remember, you have some room at the edge to play, but in extreme cases you may have to rip the first row at an angle so that the quarter round will cover it all.

If you don't have a square remember that you can measure a 3', 4', 5' triangle (or a multiple of it). Eg. Measure up the chalk line 8' from the wall and mark a point, measure from the middle point where the chalk line was snapped 6' down the wall and mark a second point. The two points you just marked should be exactly 10' apart. This can be a very exact way to figure out whether everything is going to line up or not and is probably easier to do than try to explain here.
 

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you cant install it how you are saying you want to. laminate is garbage wood, and as mentioned absorbs water like a sponge. it has NO dimensional stability.

you can only run that stuff about 20 feet without a transition (it will say the amount on the packaging for your brand)...so you will need to transition somewhere in your 40ft run....

all brands are different, some are nightmares to install and require lots of banging...some are really as easy as point and click...just depends.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Some very interesting points here...

If you guys don't mind, please, take a look at my floorplan...



I was going to install it lengthwise, all the way from the study, through the livingroom, through family room, through the hallway, through the kitchen, through the bedroom, and stop at the sunroom (sunroom is already laminated.) Now, firstly, I didn't know that laminate had a limit of how far it could be laid without a transition, this is news to me, and I'm glad you told me. i though running it my way would make the apartment seem HUGE, but I think you guys are saying that width is that matters (looks wise) and that I should lay the floor left to right instead right? Again, I appreciate any and all advice from everyone, as I know didly about this. I watched too much DYI network, and it gave me some balls to try it myself...in the words of Jeremy Clarkson, "how hard can it be?"

P.S. Keep in mind...

1)The stairs are NOT in my apartment, they are the stairs of the building.

2)I am not going to do the closets

3)The only doors (regardless of what you see on the floorplan) in that long run are bedroom to kitchen. There are no other doors that entire run.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Also, one more question...the forecast for the days of install are 86, 80, 82 F, with about 60% or so humidity..maybe more. Now, during the acclimation, do I turn the AC on, since when I move in the AC will be on, or do I leave it as is with open windows, install it with no AC, and call it a day. What will happen when I move in and flip on the AC, will there be a problem? It seems that it's only a problem if it goes the other way, from cold-->hot, since the floor expands and buckles. This way, it will shrink if anything and shouldn't effect much, correct?
 

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Hmm, from your original description I figured the rooms would also be running the long way. This makes it harder. Given you do need a transition or two, you could do some of both. I'd do the halls with the boards running the long way with a transition into the family room.

Running the long way through family, living study might also work visually. If you know any decorators it might be time to ask for an opinion. However, from a cutting and install POV it would be a pain, you'd likely want to transition at each doorway just for ease of cutting (if not required by the materials) and that might defeat the visuals you are trying to get.

Frankly, given your floor plan you might want to rethink the whole idea... How long will you be staying in the place and what kind of traffic do you get (kids, family, parties?)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hmm, from your original description I figured the rooms would also be running the long way. This makes it harder. Given you do need a transition or two, you could do some of both. I'd do the halls with the boards running the long way with a transition into the family room.

Running the long way through family, living study might also work visually. If you know any decorators it might be time to ask for an opinion. However, from a cutting and install POV it would be a pain, you'd likely want to transition at each doorway just for ease of cutting (if not required by the materials) and that might defeat the visuals you are trying to get.

Frankly, given your floor plan you might want to rethink the whole idea... How long will you be staying in the place and what kind of traffic do you get (kids, family, parties?)
I will be there for AT LEAST 2 years. I am getting married in October, so no kids yet. I think you might be right. I might just do the kitchen and bedroom sideways, then the hallway lengthwise, transition, then living room, family room and study in one long shot with no transitions.

I hope it works.

As for the reason, the hardwood in there now is hideous, and the landlord doesn't want to shell out the money to fix it. I like to live in a nice place, and don't mind spending a couple of bucks to make my place look great.
 

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Hang on, you've got hard wood there already? Just how hideous are your talking about? Getting someone in to sand and refinish the hardwood might still be the best thing to do. How about you get a quote on fixing the hardwood, take it to your landlord and tell him that you are willing to chip in $x towards getting it fixed where $x is the amount you would spend on the laminate?

I've refinished my own floors in the past as well. You've got to be very careful with the sander (you rent them), but it can also be DIY...
 
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