I put laminate floors in two rooms of our home about six or seven years ago. I was remodeling our master bedroom, which desperately needed new flooring.

We found a darker, reddish-toned leading-brand laminate flooring that was on closeout—originally $3.69 marked down to $1.29.

I did some calculations and bought the whole skid, knowing I could replace the carpet in our master, as well as the carpet in our “Florida room”, already wearing from heavy traffic and use.

The Florida room has an adjoining closet and I had calculated that there was enough to do the closet so it’s all matchy-matchy.

Seven percent overage was enough, right?  I know they say 10% but, heck I was close.

Long story short, I did the master bedroom, and the Florida room, but I was too wiped out to do the closet. After all there was a lot of stuff to move out of the closet and no one would see the remnant of carpet leftover in the closet.

Except for me.

*insert wavy line dream sequence that spans almost seven years here*

I put the project on hiatus until two months ago. That’s when I finally got around to doing something with the closet.

Six years ago I had one child. Now I have four. That equals more food per mouth times space necessary to store it divided by the number of times we are visiting the grocery store minus cost of gas, adding the BOGO sales and…

That’s one equation that revealed we needed to convert the closet to a pantry.

The closet is narrow and very long, just over eight feet. “Twin A” helps by vacuuming prior to underlayment and the laminate.

Oh, back to my 7%.

Well, it wasn’t enough. I pulled out the last two packages of laminate flooring and I was short by some fraction I don’t care to calculate.

So I took a scrap of what I had and wasted a bunch of gas driving to home centers to see what I could find.

“That was a premium line but it’s no longer around.”

“Oh yeah, AB&C company was bought by EF&G a few years back…”

I don’t need the history lesson. Just point me in the direction of laminate flooring.

I scored a box of laminate that was very, very close. And knowing it was only a small strip I’d need, it’ll work.

Pretty close. The texture is off, but with only needing about a 4” wide strip it’ll work. And did I mention it was a closet?

And it was on…say it…CLOSEOUT.

8 boards for $10. Now I have some extra in the event I need to replace some of the flooring somewhere else.

Well, my long wind-ery here finally gets me to the point of this post. How I made two pieces of laminate that shouldn’t work together…work together.

Here’s the problem, the locking joints have different profiles. At the store I thought I could just cut them both off flush, then rout my own joint and use some glue. But it looked like I might get away with modifying the profile, and since I had eight boards to play with, that became plan “A”. You can see how the new plank on the left, stands proud of the existing plank, on the right. It looks like I can add some depth to the rabbet on the old plank (right) and the top surfaces will be level.

I set up a sacrificial fence on my table saw using some scrap particleboard. It was nice and smooth and would allow me very fine adjustment, “narrower” than the blade width…

This shows the old laminate plank, with sunny side down, so I can make the top rabbet a little deeper so the pieces would fit together.

Well it worked. The arrow points to the rabbet I made just a bit deeper on the old laminate plank (plank on the right). Now the new plank fits flush on the top and bottom. I wasn’t worried so much about trying to make them fit and lock, because a little Gorilla Glue in the channel will do all the “locking” I need.

This shows where I ended up. I had one little strip to fill. The new laminate piece is sitting next to void so you can see that it matches up pretty good color-wise. For some reason, I neglected to take a finished shot of the floor. Anticlimactic huh?

Well, at least here’s a finished shot of the pantry. A couple of 8 ft. commercial wire shelving racks and we’re ready to stock up for the zombie invasion.

So, out of necessity I made something work. I’m not the first to make something work, and certainly not the last. But the message of this post and the intent of our blog, is that you can do it. The solution isn’t always at the home center, on a blog or in a book. Sometimes it’s rolling up your sleeves and just trying it.

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be a step-by-step instructional. Read and understand the user’s manual for any and all power tools. Wear eye protection, and then some eye protection on top of your eye protection. Ask my doctor about how little things defy gravity and trajectory and find a way around your eye protection then have to be plucked out with tools you’d never want near your eye. Be safe and think about what you are going to do before doing it.

Thanks for coming.

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