This is a prelude to a future article that will move step by step through a single installation. The objective is to stimulate the imagination with a variety of unique situations, performed at various times and locations, pertaining to diagonal laminate installations with a custom border. The work shown here was accomplished with ingenuity, skill, templates, jigs (Photo 1), conventional tools (Photo 2) and millwork techniques. Something to keep in mind: not one of these installations was performed with the specialized tools designed for this type of customization.
Layout: The beginning of the endI often refer to layout as the second hardest part (after floor preparation) of any project. Once all the nuances and potential problems of a detailed layout have been addressed, the installation itself is just a function of cutting and placing the pieces. Layout is like creating a puzzle: cutting and positioning the finished pieces can be easily repeated if the planning is accurate and complete.
Photo 3 shows the installer referring to the lines of the layout for critical cuts. This diagonal installation uses planks of two different colors. The designer has insisted that the rectangle of the room be bordered with full tiles. The challenge stems from the angle created by bisecting the rectangle from corner to corner, then dividing the rectangle into four equal quadrants, each representing a smaller rectangle.
Alternating colors of plank in each smaller quadrant, following the diagonal line by bisecting the larger rectangle, shows the frustration of mitering the two colors of plank precisely at their juncture (photo 4). You can also see in an insert being positioned in the center of the room.
Photo 3 shows the insert completed in half the floor; the installer is simply refreshing his lines for the remainder of field work.
Working with full tile at the perimeter during layout will also reveal that each wall’s border will probably not work out to be full tile in length. Modification on each wall should take into consideration placement, aesthetics, the square of the room and the size of the remaining cut for the modified tiles.
Photo 5 features an unusual diagonal installation that again shows the use of tiles and planks. As you can see from the size of the installation, the layout plays the most important role.
In addition to a precise layout, the product’s ability to be integrated will often play an important part in the finished floor. Photo 6 shows two planks of equal size being installed in a herringbone design on a diagonal, but photo 7 shows the importance of checking the product for uniformity and size consistency before installing the field.
In my opinion, most diagonal installations should be started in the field and worked to the edges to receive borders. Photo 8 shows black and white laminate tiles installed diagonally, using laminate planks for a starting edge to insure a tight, true installation of the field.
Once the field has been positioned, installed and trimmed at the edges, the tedious process of bordering begins. Extending the border to the center of the doorway (Photo 9) reinforces the idea that attention to detail is a continuous process. All design decisions have to be considered before layout.
The dynamics of a finished laminate installation on a diagonal with borders can be breathtaking. Any complex installation can only accommodate equal margins on two opposing sides; remember that the parallel offsets and walls will always dictate changes in those margins. Photo 10 shows the continuous use of descending borders, highlighted with the contrast of color.
The choices are many. The steps vary. But the fundamentals for installing diagonal laminate installations with custom borders remain the same.