How to lay laminate in a doorway

And how to lay laminate flooring continuously through awkward doorways

Laying laminate in a doorway is not so difficult when you start laying the floor at the wall with the door in. But, when you come to the end of laying a nice floor and you need to get the floor board under both sides of a door lining/frame it seems impossible to get it in without leaving any visible gaps!

laying laminate in a doorway

Where to Start?

The sketch above highlights how the threshold should finish at a doorway - completely underneath the door. I have seen DIY bedroom flooring attempts that have finished differently to this meaning when the door is closed, you can see the hallway carpet in the bedroom or the other way around for example. By always finishing the join between carpet and floorboards underneath the doors closed position you can prevent that happening. When the floor is finished, you shouldn't be able to close the door and see the floor covering that is in the next room!

If you followed my step by step installation guide you will have cut the bottom of all your door linings off in preparation. But, how do you get the floor board tongue in and lift the laminate floor up high enough to slide and 'click' it into the previous boards groove - when it is tight under the frame!?

It is possible, and is easy if you take advantage of the 10mm expansion gap you need to leave around the perimeter of the room. Sometimes where possible (to hide it), I may make a bigger expansion gap by chopping a bit more of the door lining or plaster out behind, where it won't be seen later (normally because it will be covered by a skirting board or architrave for example).

The tongue on most if not all of the floor boards I have ever laid (solid real wood, engineered and laminate floor types) protrudes 10mm or less from the edge of the boards face.

Floor boards are designed like this purposely. It means that because you have to leave a 10mm expansion gap between the floor board and the wall, you can slide the floor board into that gap so it is tight against the wall, 10mm past its final position (allowing it to drop down flat). Then, when you slide it back 10mm inserting the tongue into the groove & closing the join to the other board you instate the 10mm expansion gap between the board and wall/frame. For click together boards rather than traditional tongue and groove, you don't need to lift the board up to click it into position if you use a block plane to remove the ridge on the top of the tongue that stops it coming apart, like in the picture below. All this does is change the board from a click together system to a normal tongue and groove set-up which is perfectly OK, as long as you use plenty of glue on it.

Important: don't remove the tongue! Just the raised ridge on the top of it that holds the join together. Once you have removed the ridge, test with an off-cut that it slides in and out OK on another offcut before trying to install it.

If you don't have a block/smoothing plane you can use a sharp chisel or Stanley knife to remove the ridge carefully instead.

how to click boards together under a doorway

Laying laminate in a doorway: two examples

how to click boards together under a doorway

In this first example I had to work out how to lay laminate in a doorway so the floor ran continuously through a hallway and WC (toilet).

Because the bathroom is only small I didn't need to have a threshold at the doorway. If I'm laying a floor in two large rooms I always use a threshold because you need that expansion gap.

I had already cut all the door frames off before I started laying by turning a board upside down and using it as a guide to run the saw along. So, all I had to do was mark the position of the doorway onto the next floor board and add 7-8mm all the way round the outline to leave in under the frame, architrave and plinth block.

Slide the board in under the frame, until it drops down flat and then close the join up.

Because I'd planed the ridge of the tongue off It slid over really easily. Just make sure you put loads of wood glue on the join.

laying laminate in a doorway

Second example

Below are pictures I took of laying laminate in a doorway in an old house for someone. The pictures aren't the clearest but hopefully you can get the gist of it, as soon as I come across this kind of problem again I'll take some better photos. It was all fairly straight forward until I got to this point, this is probably a slightly harder version of getting laminate in a doorway neatly but still possible.

Step 1

The first step to laying laminate in a doorway like this is to mark where the door threshold will be (under the centre of the door when it's in the closed position). Look at the underside of the door bar, you'll be able to tell where the floor needs to stop in order for the to fit over it. Transfer this onto the door lining. Mark a 10mm expansion gap back from this point.

laminate in a doorway

laminate in a doorway

The only way in this instance was to have a join in the boards. And to put the first one in, slide it right over so there's room to get the second one in flat and then slide the first one back over to it.

Step 2

Cut the first piece in and plane the ridge off of the top of the tongue to reduce the friction that stops it clicking in and sliding from left to right freely. The way I choose the first bit to put in, is to figure which board I can slide the furthest so it's out of the way of the next one. You can see I've cut the bottom of the door lining right out the way like before (only where it won't be seen when the skirting and architrave are back on), and even chopped a bit of the plaster out the way too so I can move the board too far over to the left.

Step 3

Put the first board in dry, and put it exactly where it needs to finish up. Now mark the second board out. It needs to fit such that there are no gaps, will slide under the door lining and there will still be a 10mm expansion gap. This may mean cutting more door lining, skirting out and/or chopping plasterboard or plaster out underneath where it won't be seen. Laying laminate in a doorway is slightly easier if like in this case you're renewing the architraves and Skirting boards but it is still possible when they're left on. Even if you are keeping the skirting and architrave, it may help to just pop them off temporarily and put them back when the floors down.

laminate in a doorway

Try the board dry to make sure it fits then glue both of them up loads and put them back in.

laminate in a doorway

Slide the first board back up to the second and close the gap up. This creates the expansion gap on the left corner as the same time.

laminate in a doorway

Click here for a list of the other tools I use for laying laminate in a doorway.

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