Installing decorative hearth and engineered wood flooring

8 May 2007
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United Kingdom

I'm preparing to install engineered wood flooring in our dining room, and at the same time will be preparing the (enormous) fireplace to take a wood burner a some future point. It's a late Victorian house - original floorboards which are at the same level as the constructional hearth.

I am thinking through how to get the interface between new flooring and decorative hearth to work.

- I plan to float engineered wood flooring over existing floorboards, installing click-style flooring over a roll underlay is likely to add 17mm to the floor level (14mm flooring + 3mm underlay)
- I plan to install limestone paving as the decorative hearth - probably 30mm thickness

I'm trying to work out the best way of getting a clean join between flooring and hearth, making sure there's sufficient expansion gap at the end of the boards.

- Option 1 - bed 30mm hearth onto a sand/cement mix, raising it off the floor level by around 5mm. Resultant hearth level would end up 18mm or so above floor level. I'd need to use beading around the hearth - and I think this would look crap
- Option 2 - try and raise the hearth by 18mm (can a sand/cement bed be this thick?) enough to raise the base of the hearth above the wood level - and then lay the limestone to overlap the ends of the boards. Finished level is higher this way
- Option 3 - undercut the limestone tiles so that there is a lip to overlap the floorboards. Means the bedding layer isn't so thick - but means some fiddly cutting of tiles

Any views on which of these is easiest and/or will result in the best finished look? Option 2 sound the most straighforward...

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Engineered wood is much more stable then solid wood, and you can get away with a narrower expansion joint. If you're happy with sitting the hearth above the new floor to cover the expansion gap, then as Woodys said, put the floor in, level the sand and cement to the height of the new floor, then put the hearth on top. If you use a couple of glass suction grips, then that'll let you manoeuvre the hearth safely.

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