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  • Accent Strip and Engineered Floors

    I searched but did not find this question asked:

    Is it possible to install an accent strip in an engineered floor? Since these floors are designed to be free-floating how would you handle the intersection of the accent strip to the main body of the floor?

    I'd like to replicate an old hardwood floor with a 10 to 12" wide border with accent strip of contrasting color wood. The border would run parallel to the perimeter of the room, and inside this would be the main body of the floor running with the length of the room, looking similar to the photo below, but I would not want the border as wide as that shown in the photo.
    Attachment
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    Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
    ---------------
    “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
    ---------
    "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
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    sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

  • #2
    Re: Accent Strip and Engineered Floors

    Bob,

    If you are going to use different materials for the patterned edge and then "engineered" flooring for the main floor, my primary concern would be the thickness of the accent strip as compared to the "engineered" main floor. If of course, you are doing the whole thing (both accent and main floor) from the same "engineered" wood flooring (just different color/wood grain), and they are both from the same manufacturer, there would be no difference in material thickness.

    The problem then would be fitting the ends and their often proprietary "notched" fitting together. When you cut to fit many of the pieces, you'd be loosing that "fitted" joint edge.

    I've seen some real fancy patterns done with conventional hardwood, but in that case you could cut your own tongue and groove edge to make the seam's fit. Not sure how you'd do that on something like laminate or with the edging that I've seen on some "engineered" floor pieces.

    Personally, I don't like engineered flooring as there is little to no thickness in the veneer, should you ever require refinishing. In the flooring that I've seen, it was cheaper to go with regular hardwood.

    We put in new hardwood floors a couple of years ago, after looking at a variety of other products, including "engineered". It was cheaper in the long run and allowed for easier fitting.

    Last year we put in a laminate floor at the house here. While that appeared to be much easier, fitting around the door frames, etc, proved to be a real hassle for the installer and I'm greatly disappointed in the results.

    But, to your particular choice of "engineered", I think the main challenge will be to overcome the edge-fitting on cut pieces. You could just lay down the edging and then float the middle without properly interlocking the main floor into it, but with expansion and contraction I think you'd have some noticeable gaps where the edge and border mate. In this case, I think you'd need to float the whole floor, including the edge pattern. Does the particular manufacturer offer any kind of router bit that would allow you edge the cut pieces and therefore interlock them with the border pieces?

    CWS
    Last edited by CWSmith; 11-14-2009, 04:21 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Accent Strip and Engineered Floors

      I agree with CWS and I will add one more thing. You have to allow for expansion with the engineered flooring. I am afraid expansion would open the joints (at the corners) of your border.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Accent Strip and Engineered Floors

        You both raise questions that we had considered and could not answer, which is why I posted my Q here.

        I don't see how to avoid the gap problem between the main floor and the border.

        I looked at a couple manufacturers interlock systems and few if any look to be reproducible with a router bit, even a custom one, at least in s single pass.

        Do the border in hardwood and the main floor with an engineered product? Hadn't thought about mixing it up like that but I guess it could work. As you say the difference in thickness would be a problem.
        ---------------
        Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
        ---------------
        “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
        ---------
        "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
        ---------
        sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Accent Strip and Engineered Floors

          Thinking about it more, I don't think you could border with one material (say normal 3/4-inch hardwood) and then put an "engineered" floating floor in the middle. Even if planed the hardwood down to meet the thickness of the engineered floor.

          The problem there would be that the "floating" engineered floor would expand and contract and at least during part of the year you'd be seeing a definite gap around the perimeter.

          I'm afraid that unless you can interlock to border and the center together this isn't going to work.

          Normally, a floating floor is layed out with a defined space all round the outer perimeter, which allows the floor to expand without buckling. The 3/4-inch or so base molding and/or quarter round covers up this gap. As the seasons change, the floor floats back and forth (expanding and contracting) but is not noticeable because the edge is hidden.

          Of course doing a border of the same material wouldn't be negative, except for the fact that once you cut off an end or a side to make it all fit, you loose the interlock joint and there's no way to then join that particular edge to the rest of the assembly.

          That was the "b!tch" I had with the laminate floor we had installed in the kitchen. Different material for sure, but it relied on those interlocking edges. So when you got through with a "run", you simply cut off the end to make it fit the space. When you were through there was a heck of a lot of scrap! With both types of floor (laminate and engineered) the fit of the interlock required the piece to be raised to get the lip of the interlocking piece to mate and then you snapped or slid the piece into the mating edge to cause the two to interlock... but when you got to a doorway, you can't do that properly, and you end up with a gap.

          I suppose you could mate those cut-off ends to the sides of the border by carefully removing the interlock lip on just that particular mating width and then adhere the two pieces together on their mating edges with a good adhesive, but that would take a lot more time and care, with much pre-planning at each occurance.

          I'd probably go so far as to use a tape or thin fabric-like material (to make it adhesive tape-like) to lay under that particular joint, in order to join the two pieces together, instead of just relying on a glued edge. But you'd have to take care not to glue it to the floor or to mar the finish. It would be a challenge, but I do think that would be do-able.

          Obviously, I've never seen this done and am just playing "what if". But I think it's a challenge worth exploring, if you're really set on using this particular material.

          Sorry I can't be more helpful with a definite "been done" experience,

          CWS

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          • #6
            Re: Accent Strip and Engineered Floors

            Thanks CWS and PK for your comments and observations.

            I did notice one engineered floor that says you can connect by sliding (flat on the floor) together and by the more common method where one board is lifted slightly during assembly. Don't remember the make off hand, might have been from Columbia Flooring.

            I'd like to be able to use a pre-finished floor because time and restricting traffic to the area during finishing of a conventional hardwood floor would be a PITA.
            ---------------
            Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
            ---------------
            “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
            ---------
            "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
            ---------
            sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Accent Strip and Engineered Floors

              Dont know if this will help but they do make a glue down engineered wood flooring that is a regular tongue and groove . Ive used this type in several rooms in my house . The flooring comes in 3" widths and makes a great floor, I will post up pics here shortly.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Accent Strip and Engineered Floors

                Bob,

                You realize of course that they do make pre-finished hardwood flooring don't you? It's mostly the 3/4-inch thick stuff and it is available in a wide variety of wood species and and finishes. That's what we had installed in our house in Binghamton. In the kitchen we had bamboo installed and in the rest of the first floor and in the second floor library we had prefinished oak. The cost of such flooring is really all over the place, depending on the manufacturer/retailer and the finish and durability warranty.

                But, you don't have to worry about sanding and finishing and waiting for the finish to dry or put up with the odor. And, like you mentioned, you can pretty much walk around during the installation without fear of messing up the finish... just don't get in the installers way too often!

                The fellow we had do the work charged us $2 a square foot for installation and I don't recall, at the moment, what the material cost was. This fellow was about half the installation price of what most of the stores quoted. We didn't have anything fancy done, except to use a single piece to border around the fireplace hearth. But, he had a large looseleaf full of photos on various jobs that he had done. He specialized in doing old homes and rebuilding/duplicating some of the elaborate patterns that were done in some of these old turn-of-the-century homes. I would have loved to have done that, but of course his price went up considerably for such work.

                I hope this helps,

                CWS

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Accent Strip and Engineered Floors

                  Bob,
                  I don't know what you have decided about your choice of floors and possibly border. I will offer that the mfgs. of laminate/engineered flooring do have transition pieces that are used when changes in level or materials is necessary/desired. Examples would be from laminate to hardwood or laminate to carpet. These would allow for 'float'. Check your local supplier.
                  John P.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Accent Strip and Engineered Floors

                    I know HD carries the T&G engineered 7/16 or 1/2" hardwood floor, I looked at some yesterday. It was 4-5 inches wide. It can either be glued or stapled down.The only bad thing is I only saw 3 colors or types of wood. To all of the plastic laminate guys the best thing about that stuff is you can tear it all back out in 20 minutes.

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