What To Do About Your Expansion Gap?

12th Jul 2019

Oak flooring, or indeed wooden flooring in general, should always be fitted with an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room. Whether laying solid or engineered oak flooring, typically a 15mm gap is recommended to allow for any movement. This gap on its own can of course be unsightly, so what can you do to hide your expansion gap?

With new oak flooring, often comes new skirting boards. This leads us to the first, and most commonly used method of hiding the expansion gap. The oak flooring is laid with the expansion gap as normal. The empty space is then covered with new skirting. With a 15mm expansion gap, we recommend covering using 20mm thick skirting. This method hides away the gap effectively.

Bullnose Solid Oak Skirting

But what about if you have existing skirting that you intend to keep? The first option, where possible, is to remove the old skirting board, lay the new oak floor, and then refit the original skirting. This allows you to lay the oak flooring as normal, with the 15mm expansion gap. The gap is then covered by the original skirting.

Another option is to "undercut" the oak skirting. This method involves carefully cutting the bottom of the skirting board away. This allows you to simply slide the oak flooring under the skirting board to leave the required expansion gap hidden away.

A third option is to use what is known as beading. This is used for those areas where you are laying wooden flooring with existing skirting - that you do not wish to remove or tamper with in any way. The beading simply sits next to your skirting, covering the expansion gap of your solid or engineered oak flooring.


So what about if you plan to lay an oak floor, but don’t wish to have any skirting at all?

One of our most commonly used options in this situation is to use cork expansion strips. These pieces simply slot into your expansion gap, providing a more visually pleasing look than the empty gap. The soft, spongy nature of the cork strips allows for the wooden floor to naturally expand when required.


Cork Expansion Strip

For a more understated look than skirting - as before - beading can also be used. This time the beading can run along your wall covering the 15mm gap.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the expansion gap with us further, please give us a call on 01538 304584.

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