Learn the best way to install laminate flooring with a sloping floor. Using a saddle can separate the uneven rooms and prevent furniture issues that sloping the floor can cause.
LESLIE: Brandon in Ohio with a flooring
question. How can we help you with your projects?
BRANDON: Well, we’re putting in a laminate wood-plank flooring in our living room and it starts in our kitchen and we want to continue it into the living room. But there’s a 1/2-inch drop between the kitchen and the living room. I’m not sure how to kind of raise up the floor so it can be level.
TOM: Do you want to raise it up or do you want to have a gentle slope downward?
BRANDON: Well, I guess I don’t know what works. Because we didn’t really want to put a transition piece between the two rooms; we just kind of wanted to – since it’s all the same material, just wanted it to flow smoothly into the next room.
TOM: Is it a doorway?
BRANDON: There’s no doorway.
BRANDON: It’s kind of like open when you first open our front door. But there’s two rooms.
TOM: Alright. Well, look, you have two choices here: you can either have a saddle with an obvious point of demarcation and a step-down; or you could shim it or build up the floor so that there’s a gentle slope downwards. You’re either going to end up with a slope-y floor, which is going to give you the sensation of walking down a hill; or you’re going to have a clean saddle and a step-down.
LESLIE: Well, and be a major problem for furnishings that would be along that wall in between the two spaces.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
LESLIE: You’re going to have to shim China cabinets.
TOM: I’d rather see you put a clear saddle across there and work it into the design. Whenever you have something odd like that, sometimes it’s easier to shout about it and make it look like it was supposed to be that way than to try to hide it. If you try to hide it with the slope, it’s not going to feel right when you’re walking on it and, like Leslie said, furniture issues and so on. Could be even unsafe, too.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and a saddle is going to have a clear transition between the two. I mean you’ll see on either side, on the base of the saddle, where it is for one floor height and where it is for another.
BRANDON: Where would I be finding a saddle to do that? At any home …
TOM: Oh, any lumber saddle will have hardwood saddles.
LESLIE: Well, and wouldn’t the company that manufactures the laminate that he’s purchasing also sell saddles?
TOM: Perhaps. Yep, they should. Just check the links that are available. Except I would probably use a real wood than a laminate saddle.
LESLIE: Just for durability issues or …?
TOM: Yeah. It’s going to take a lot of beating.
BRANDON: OK. Alright, well thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.