Solid Wooden Flooring Installation Guide
In this guide we will take you through the general process of laying your Solid Wood floor. The technical details may change based on the room or the specific floor used so it is essential that you also refer to the manufacturers guidelines before you go ahead.
Links can be found for these at the bottom of this page.
Before you lay your boards they will need to acclimatise. This is as simple as leaving them in their box in the middle of the room for around 7 days. The room should be kept at a steady, normal temperature (at least 18 degrees).
Make sure the subfloor is as clean as can be. Sweep, hoover and wash the floor before leaving it to dry. It must also be level, which means less than 3mm deviation over a 1m area.
Remember, this process will involve a lot of kneeling, so we strongly recommend using padded knee pads. We also recommend safety goggles and dust masks for when sawing boards and ear defenders when using power tools.
Tip: You want to avoid boards less than 60mm wide at the edges of your room (that is width, not length). The best way to do this is to measure the width of your room and divide that by the width of your board. This will tell you how many boards wide the room is, and will tell you how wide the last board will be. If it's less than 60mm, cut your first board slightly thinner so that both boards are wider than 60mm.
There are three methods we recommend for securing the boards
The end rows can be nailed down with visible nails, these should be positioned 15mm into the board at 200mm intervals. Other boards should be Secret Nailed every 200mm to 400mm, whereby the nails are angled at 45 degrees (towards the centre of the board) through the tongue of the board so that they aren't visible. This is best done with a Porta-Nailer.
This method involves applying a specialist adhesive between the plank and the subfloor. The adhesive is best applied to the subfloor. Remember not to apply too much adhesive, and any excess that oozes up should be wiped up immediately with a cloth.
As you lay a section, apply even, steady pressure across that section of boards (using a rolling pin, for example) to make sure that the boards are fully stuck down.
Peel and Stick Underlay Floating Floor
The peel and stick method is, for many, a simpler, easier method. Essentially it involves sticking the boards down onto an adhesive-coated underlay. Be sure to dry-lay the boards first to allow for rearranging. Don't fully unpeel the protective layer of the underlay, instead, just peel back the corner a little bit. Fit the board in place, and make sure the row fits before you stick it in place.
Continue through the boards, being patient and only unpeeling as much as necessary. As you lay a section, apply even, steady pressure across that section of boards (using a rolling pin, for example) to make sure that the boards are fully stuck down.
Solid flooring shrinks and expands slightly as the room changes temperature, because of this, there should be a 10mm gap between the edge of the flooring and the wall as well as surrounding pipes, fittings etc. Transition mouldings (Skirting boards, scotia and trims) are used to hide this gap. We also recommend installing transition mouldings at all doorways and after every 10 m (33 ft) in a single room.
- Start in a corner, working left to right. The end with the groove goes against the wall. Use expansion spacers along the wall to easily keep the 10mm expansion gap. This gap will cater for the natural shift in size through seasons and temperatures, and without it your flooring could become damaged.
- Lay the next board, slotting the boards together and securing with you prefered method (above). Carry on until the end of the row.
- If the last board of the row is too long to fit, you'll need to cut it to size. To accurately measure the board to the exact size of the gap, turn it 180 degrees and lay it next to the previous board (remember to use an expansion spacer). Use a tri- square and pencil to draw a line across the board level to where it meets the previous board. Now, cut the board to size and fit in the end of the row with the freshly cut side facing the wall.
- If the off-cut from the previous row is longer than 30cm, use this as the first board of the second row - cut side facing the wall. However, if it's too short, simply cut a board in half and use that. The ends of boards should be at least 30cm apart, and this makes sure of that.
- If the last row needs to be cut lengthways, lay the planks as pictured below. The line you draw along the edge of the top plank is where you need to cut the middle plank to fit against the wall.
Fitting Around Pipes
If you're fitting around any pipes, mark the position of the pipe on the board you're laying. Drill a hole about 16mm larger in diameter than the pipe and make two angle saw cuts from the board edge to the sides of the hole to cut a wedge out of the board. Fit the board and carefully glue the small off-cut wedge behind the pipe.
Installing in Large Rooms
When installing solid wood floors, it's important to remember that when wooden boards expand, they expand across their width (across the boards) not their length (along the boards). Whilst the length of a room isn't a concern, you should pay close attention to the width. If your room is more than 10m wide, all you need to do is separate the floor up into sections, leaving an expansion gap between the areas. A threshold trim or something similar can be used to hide the gap. Please note: some manufacturers' guidelines differ on the maximum width of a room, so please check for your specific floor.
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