As a natural flooring made of wood, parquet has many advantages. However, its naturalness also has an effect on the fact that the parquet works. In order to be able to enjoy a beautiful and intact parquet permanently, it is absolutely necessary to take into account expansion joints. Here’s how to do best when laying parquet.
Elongation joints at parquet – why?
Parquet is made of wood and wood works.
In the event of temperature fluctuations or changes in humidity, parquet reacts accordingly with swells and dwindling. This means that it expands depending on the room conditions and pulls back together.
In order to give the parquet the necessary leeway, expansion joints must be observed as soon as they are laid, as they compensate for the spring and shrinkage behaviour of the parquet.
In addition, corresponding expansion joints ensure a reduced sound transmission and therefore additionally optimize the result of the required impact sound insulation.
Where do you need expansion joints for parquet?
In the first place, expansion joints must be taken into account when laying parquet in the edge areas of the room.
The basic rule is a wall spacing of at least 2 mm per meter of floor – so if the room is 4 m wide, 8 mm expansion joint is required.
With the usually recommended distance of 10 to 15 mm, one is therefore on the safe side in average large rooms, in very large rooms the expansion joint should be correspondingly wider.
From a room dimension of 8 m width and 12 m length, an additional expansion joint is required, in which a gap between the parquet elements is omitted.
If an elongation joint is already included in the screed, one must also be inserted in the same place in the parquet.
It is well known that parquet all around requires expansion joints on the walls.
However, expansion joints for parquet must be taken into account not only where, but also in other places, where the floor can encounter immovable elements.
These include door frames, stairs, radiator pipes, termination profiles, e.g. for transitions to other floor coverings and much more.
In the case of heavy furniture, such as kitchens or fitted wardrobes, it is recommended to install them before laying the parquet and then take into account the corresponding expansion joint under the base.
If this is not possible, the parquet under the built-in furniture on the other side requires twice the wall spacing, as it can only work in one direction.
Is there a difference between bonded and floating laid parquet?
Elongation joints are basically necessary for every parquet, regardless of whether it is fully glued or laid floating.
The difference, however, is that glued parquet works less, since it is fixed connected to the substrate.
The smallest extent occurs with glued floorparquet, as it is not only connected to the screed, but the material is also glued transversely to each other.
Accordingly, the expansion joints may be lower with glued parquet depending on the recommended manufacturer instructions. Even with head impacts, less distance is sufficient,as the parquet here unfolds the largest extent in width.
Different, on the other hand, with floating parquet. Here, the parquet panels are only loosely laid on the substrate and accordingly have high spring and shrinkage behaviour.
Therefore, in this case, it is strongly advisable to maintain a greater distance in the expansion joints.
What happens if parquet has no expansion joints?
If parquet is laid without paying attention to the correspondingly large expansion joints, the wood cannot work sufficiently.
The parquet panels collide when they are expanded or stand by fixed room elements and begin to bulge.
This not only looks ugly, but can even lead to permanent damage to the parquet.
For example, when individual parquet panels break out of the gluing or the click system breaks.
Floating parquet can still bulge even if the ground is only on one side.
If no expansion joints have been adhered to as part of the parquet laying, you can also install them afterwards.
This involves a certain amount of effort, but it is always worthwhile compared to the inconvenience of a damaged parquet.
Tips for erecting expansion joints
Observance of expansion joints is particularly challenging for laymen.
The use of spacers, which are placed between the wall and the parquet when laying and removed after the laying work has been completed, has therefore proved to be successful.
This ensures that a uniform expansion joint is maintained. In commercially available laying sets for parquet, such wedges or blocks are usually already included or can be retrofitted in the DIY store.
For protection – and of course also because of the more appealing appearance – the expansion joints can finally be covered accordingly: with skirting boards in the wall areas, rails or profiles for transitions or doors or pipe rosettes or similar covers for heating pipes etc.
Of course, expansion joints can also be filled with joint mass. Here, however, it is important to make sure that it is a suitable, permanently elastic material, otherwise the parquet cannot work again.
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