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Laminate Buying Guide Flooring Accessories

Laminate floor accessories can literally fill in the gaps of your flooring project. If you have more than one type of floor in your home (such as laminate and carpet) floor accessories can make the transitions between the two flooring types flawless. The right moldings and trims help hide floor and wall gaps, while an underlayment can reduce indoor sound level and/or protect the floor from moisture damage. Read the following section and learn how you can benefit from different underlayments, moldings, and adhesives.

Moldings and trims

Laminate floor accessories assist when transitioning from one room to another that has different flooring. The most common laminate trims and moldings:

  • T–moldings: Laminate T–moldings are used where floors of similar height come together, in areas like doorways. T–moldings are also used as expansion joints on large floating floor installations.
  • Reducer moldings: Reducer moldings help to transition between two different flooring types. For instance laminate in one room and vinyl in another would require a reducer molding as the laminate will be slightly higher than the vinyl.
  • Stair Nose: Laminate flooring can be used to create stair treads by using a floor trim piece called a stair nose. This rounded molding creates the leading edge of the stair tread while the flooring completes the rest of the tread.
  • Quarter Round/ Base Shoe: Quarter rounds are wall trims primarily used on baseboards to disguise the expansion gap between the wall and floor. They can also be used on stairs where the tread and riser connect in order to minimize gapping. Wall–base trims are available for smaller expansion gaps.
  • End cap (Carpet Reducer): The laminate floor trim, or threshold, helps to transition from laminate flooring to other floor types (i.e. fireplaces or doorways).

Underlayments

The underlayment is installed between the laminate and subfloor. It can maximize the performance of laminate by minimizing sound transmission and increasing moisture protection. While a few underlayments can provide both, others can only do one or the other. Laminate flooring with an underlay already attached is also available and can help protect the floor as well as make installation easier.

  • Moisture protection: Laminate floor is made of wood fibers and is therefore susceptible to standing water and moisture damage. For superior moisture protection, plastic underlayments are commonly recommended. Combo underlayments offer both moisture and sound protection with standard foam on one side and a moisture barrier on the other.
  • Noise reduction (sound / noise abatement): Standard foam and cork are the most popular underlayments for reducing sound. While some underlayments offer sound and moisture barriers, their sound reduction characteristics are not as effective as cork or other sound barriers specifically made to reduce sound transmission.

    Note: Cork tends to be thicker than most types of underlayments, which could add to the height of your floor. Before installing, make sure that this height will work with your doors and trims and note any adjustment you may need to make.

Adhesives

All laminate floors are manufactured with tongue–and–groove mechanisms for the floating floor installation process. In this type of construction, no adhesive or glue is required to attach the laminate to the subfloor. Laminate will literally snap together using a click and lock system which is the most common type used today. Laminate flooring is a popular option for people who want to do the installation themselves, as no adhesive is necessary. The only exception is glued laminate flooring, which requires the application of adhesive on each plank before assembling (this is the original method rarely used today). For the best glued laminate flooring results, it's always best to use the adhesive and glue that is recommended by the manufacturer.

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