Laminate Floor Gone Wrong

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Back in November I had a small building firm lay a laminate floor in the lounge of an empty rental property I have. The house is a Victorian stone built end terraced, which has a knocked through lounge with a slightly uneven concrete floor.

The laminate boards are 7mm thick Baltario Harvest Oak, laid on 5mm polystyrene type underlay boards and I left the boards in the house for a couple of days before fitting. This is a combination I've used in other properties without any problems.

When the fella was fitting the boards I noticed that he was laying them right up against the skirting boards and when I asked him why he wasn't leaving an expansion gap I got a slightly snotty "I know what I'm doing Mate!" The end result looked good and I paid the bill.

Due to the cold weather I had left the heating on low in the house, but when I went to check just before Xmas I decided to turn the heating off as the weather forcast for the week or so ahead seemed fairly mild! How wrong! :rolleyes: I went to the house for the first time on Sunday after Xmas and New Year to find that the laminate floor had buckled and risen up about an inch in several places and the skirting boards had come away from the wall in places!

As these guys were due to start a bigger job at this property on Monday and they were coming to the house anyway the next day, I texted the owner to warn him that they would have to sort out the floor before starting work on the new job. They turned up in the morning and were puzzled as to why the floor had risen and buckled and when I mentioned it might be something to do with the lack of expansion gaps they dismissed this and claimed it was because I'd let the house get too cold!

To cut a long story short after much argument, they grudgingly agreed to remove the trims and cut a gap with a multi tool. Strangely as soon as they removed the trim the floor settled down. They cut a gap round, I'm not sure how much they did as I had to go out for a while, but when they were gluing the trim back I noticed that he was gluing it to both the floor and the skirting board! When I said that was probably part of the problem, I got a blank look and another mutter about heating, and they left with a parting shot of "You need to keep the heating on Mate!"

So to my mind the floor has gone wrong because it wasn't fitted properly, and if it had been fitted properly with a 10mm expansion gap all round and the trims fixed only to the skirting boards the temperature of the house wouldn't matter! The other thing I noticed after was that he hadn't cut the door frame to fit the boards underneath, just cut the boards to fit up against the door frame. He did such a neat job of that I didn't notice until after, but again nowhere for the floor to expand.

So sorry for the long winded story, but I'm wondering if I'm right in my opinion as to why this floor has gone wrong. The fact that he's glued the trim to both the skirting boards and the floor boards, in effect fixing what should be a floating floor makes me think that this floor will go wrong again.

I think I've had a lucky escape to be honest as the bigger job included some structural work and I got them to do this floor as a test. Needless to say, they are now not doing the bigger job, as if they can't lay a laminate floor properly.... :rolleyes:
 
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Doggit

Yup, 10mm expansion gap, and no point gluing the skirting board to the laminate, as that would stop it expanding. Nothing to do with the heating whatsoever; the laminate will expand in the summer,or when the heatings on, and it'll shrink in the winter, or when the heatings off. You'll need to post pictures of the door frame, but you normally use a multi tool, and cut under the frame and architrave to handle the expansion.
 
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Sounds to me like these blokes haven't got a clue whatthey are doing. Even I know that you have to leave an expansion gap, it says so in the structions. And your having them back????? I wouldn't let them within a hundred miles of my house after that.
 
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You might have been better getting a flooring firm to do the laminate, rather than a building firm.

A 10mm expansion gap should be ok for laminate, even without heating. Cutting under door liners is critical otherwise they will act as a pinch point.

Solid timber is less forgiving than laminate and it is recommended to maintain a RH of 40% to 60%. Switching off heating is not a good idea with solid timber.
 
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Thanks for the replies! (y)

Doggit: Yes I know that the laminate boards are supposed to go under the door frame and architrave, but for some reason he's cut the boards to fit tightly around the frame. A very neat job and I didn't realise what he'd done at first.

Pete50: No I'm not having them back. Even if and when this floor goes wrong again, I'll sort it myself and will demand a refund!

Notch7: They advertise themselves as general builders, kitchen fitters, bathrooms, bedrooms, flooring etc. I got them to do it as a test to see what they were like for other jobs I have in mind. As said in my OP I've had a lucky escape as this will be relatively easy to rectify!
 
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