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Kitchen side
Kitchen side  

family room side
family room side  
Hi Chris
Major question. How do you install laminate flooring when the whole room (house) is out of square?
I have a few questions about installing laminate flooring in my particular situation. I have a mid 1800's old farmhouse with no crawl space- floor is only about 12" above the dirt. I am installing the laminate flooring in my kitchen/family room and eventually in the hallway to the front part of the house. At the moment all I have down is the plywood subfloor and underlay in my family room and the plywood with old peel and stick tiles in the kitchen and I had to come up with a flooring quick that was cheap. 1). I have a rubber type underlay to go down do I need a plastic vapor barrier under/on top of the underlay?
2). The family room is not square. In fact one end (the left of the lower picture beside the hall walkway)is out by 1 1/2 ". I was going to put the floor down so that the ends would butt up to that wall then I can leave each end board a bit longer and it would be easier to fill in the difference of the non square room. But, thinking it over I realize I may have to run the boards the other way. In the middle of the kitchen/family room sort of dividing the two rooms into separate rooms is a 26" support wall with a door way between each room at each end. (see image) This wall is 26" long and 4" wide. What is the best way to work around this wall. Butt the ends up to this wall so they run through the walkways or run parallel to the wall but I am not sure how I would work the boards around the wall when they are 8" boards and the wall is 4" thick. If I ran it with the ends butting up to the support wall it would mean in the corner where the wall is out 1 1/2" I would have to cut one board on a really wonky angle or some other way to fit it into a non square wall. What would you suggest for this. Or run the boards one way in the family room so that the boards butt up to the wonkie wall and the the hall way and the boards in the kitchen the opposite way so that one side of the wall the boards butt up to it.If done this way how do you transition the change in direction. If this makes sense. Together both rooms are approx 16x32" depending on where you measure ;->. I would have someone install it for me but I don't have the funds for that right now.
Thanks in advance.


First of all this might be a lengthy multiple reply message. if that is the case feel free to do a follow up. If the system refuses too many follow up start a new thread.

Ok So I read this briefly whilst on the road via my cell phone. So are the walls deliberately built wonky or is the house just having a large amount of run out on 1 wall only?

Here is what I do:

Choose the direction you desire, in this case it seems to be the long way and parallel to the Kitchen cabinets. From the refrigerator out the kitchen entry and into the "family room" side

That's the way I would lay it...enhancing the length.

Yes install a plastic vapor barrier it is cheap insurance. After you do your lay out

You need to make many LAYOUT lines or marks on the floor to measure and check to make sure the fills and small pieces are of working size and reasonable. Nothing less than 1.5-2" in width

Calculate a cut board at the walls don't want a full board.. you want a nice width ...but enough waste to allow wrapping around corners and under doors (to the stairs)..etc This will also allow you to easily fill the 1.5" wonky wall when running parallel.

For example I will assemble out in the open 3 boards width wise, measure the width and make a note of the measurement of the finished not include tongue. Add a 4th board and measure the width, make a note..add a 5th make a note. Try to get a number that is easy to work with and not a difficult fraction. Usually they will add up nicely ...lets say 5 x 7" width = 35" and now I can measure across the room in multiples of 35 or 70 or 140 for that matter. Until I decide what the cuts will be at the walls and nooks and crannies I wont do anything else.

In your situation I would calculate a 2" cut off the family room wall. to compensate for the wonky wall of 1.5" (assuming a board is 7" wide) 7-2=5" or 7x5=35-2= 33" Therefore I would strike 2 marks from the stair wall 33" out into the room. Assuming an awful lot here sorry...
Snap a chalk line through the kitchen entry on those 33" marks and measure back to the kitchen cabinet "toe kick" to see if the final piece will be suitable. With a basic calculator and simple math you can make adjustments as necessary. basically on paper you are moving the floor back and forth to make it fit when finished.

If need be start your measurements from the other side of the kitchen/ laundry...with the window in the picture. Keep making adjustments until the nook and crannies fall nicely or a working size fill can be added.

If I have lost you please let me know...I will start again. We can draw pictures with paint programs...and you can e mail me directly if need be.

Separating a room or changing direction with T CAP is the preferred method. Usually available in 8-9 ft sections

Please holler at me,


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20+ years flooring installation ...carpet,wood,tile and vinyl. Residential and commercial. I do not sell the products , just install what ever the shop / customer has purchased. I actually love seeing the finished project completed and it gives me great satisfaction to help others acheive that goal. If I don't know the answer I will say so, and then I will recommend another expert for you. I may even research the subject and answer to the best of my ability ...including links to my sources. I wish you all success Chris


20 years as an independant contractor

H.S. diploma A.S. agriculture Mt San Antonio JR. College

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