You’d like to put down a laminate floor, so you’re reading up on everything you might have to think about in advance. You’ve heard that you need some kind of laminate-wall clearance, i.e. that you have to leave a gap between the panels you lay down and the wall or other fixed objects. You’re wondering whether this gap will be so big that classic baseboards aren’t enough to hide it. And how do you go about leaving this clearance anyway? Isn’t laminate likely to slip? What can you do about that? And, just between ourselves, couldn’t you maybe get away without leaving a gap between laminate and wall? Sorry; we can tell you right away that that’s a very bad idea.
Why do you need a laminate-wall clearance anyway?
It is a fact that most laminate floor panels are supported on wooden composite board. Wood is well known as a natural resource and construction material. And, like other natural construction materials, laminate also needs room to "work" – that’s why you need to leave a gap to the wall. “Work” is an umbrella term for wood and wooden composite board’s natural processes. This means hygroscopic effects or, in other words, processes caused by absorbing and releasing moisture. The dimensional stability of laminate, like any other construction material, is also influenced by heat or cold from above or below. Good laminate – and you won’t get anything else from us – can "work" with all these factors – so long as you leave enough of a gap to the wall. But how big should it be?
Laminate wall clearance – getting it right
As a rule of thumb, the distance from the laminate to the wall or any other fixed element should be at least 10 millimetres all round. If that seems a lot to you, please bear in mind that the gap can be covered with a base board, end profile or threshold strip. What’s more, you’ll have years of enjoyment from an immaculate laminate floor. Be warned – making do without it can cause unsightly damage such as gapping, swelling, buckling at the joins, damage to the veneer or lumps in the floor. There is little that can be done about this at a later date. So it’s worth the effort! And when laying the floor, it’s easier to keep the right gap than you might think. Wedges are a simple way of fixing the clearance to the wall.