Getting a hard surface floor installed in the workplace or home is a top priority for many customers. For any contractor or installer, doing a good job is important and so is learning all the steps for proper installation. One of the most important steps is to calculate for expansion space or the job won’t go well and definitely will not please the customer down the road.
What is Expansion Space?
Expansion space is the gap between the flooring material and the wall. Because flooring expands and contracts due to different moisture levels and changes in humidity, there must be a little space around the perimeter of the room to allow for the changes. Most manufacturers recommend anywhere between ¼ inch and 3/8 inch of space around the perimeter.
If there is no expansion space, the flooring material could swell with moisture, and then buckle or ripple. Because these types of floors are not glued down, they need the extra space to grow into as needed. This expansion space is not visible to anyone once the flooring is completely installed because the trim will cover it, yet still allow the material to expand and contract as it needs to.
Testing the Perimeter of a Room
So how can a flooring inspector test the expansion around the perimeter of a room on any hard surface floor without removing the shoe molding? The best way is to measure across sets of 10 boards and then extrapolate. It goes without saying that when installers are putting down a hard surface floor, they need to take the time to figure out the expansion space and learn how to test it without removing the shoe molding to keep the customers happy.