How to lay Woodstrip Flooring

How to lay Woodstrip Flooring

How to lay Woodstrip Flooring

Whether laying wood mosaic flooring or strip flooring, the first job is to prepare the floor. Solid floors may need damp-proofing and the application of a self-levelling compound; suspended timber floors will need to be made good and then covered with hardboard or plywood sheets to make them flat New concrete floors should be left for a couple of months to dry out thoroughly before a floor covering is laid.

You will get a better result if you remove the skirtings (baseboards) before laying timber flooring but you may damage them in the process which will mean replacement (and redecoration).

LAYING WOODSTRIP FLOORING

A solid level base is essential for laying woodstrip flooring (especially the thinner types) and care should be taken to ensure this with floor levelling compound on a solid floor and hardboard or plywood sheeting on a suspended wooden floor. If a wooden floor has a slope on it (not uncommon in older houses), this, too, should have a floor levelling compound applied to it after the hardboard or plywood sheeting. Make sure you leave inspection hatches for access to pipes and wiring.

There are different types of woodstrip flooring and different ways of fitting them, so it is essential that you read the manufacturers instructions before starting. Some thicker woodstrip floorings require a damp-proof membrane underneath them; other thinner types can be laid directly on a hardboard or plywood sheet.

Whichever method you are using, work out how many strips you will need to cover the room, allowing for a gap of 10 mm at the wall or at the skirting (baseboard) if the skirting boards are being left in place. Woodstrip flooring is laid at right angles to the existing floorboards and parallel with the longest wall. Check how many strips will be needed to cross the room and, if the last strip will be less than 25 mm (1 in) wide, cut the first strip down as well, so that the first and last strip will be the same size.

Woodstrip flooring is tongued and grooved and the first row of strips (cut to a narrower width if necessary) is fitted 10 mm away from one of the longer walls with its groove (or cut edge) facing the wall and its tongue facing into the room. In order to position the first row, correctly cut up a piece of 25 x 12 mm timber (finished thickness 10 mm) into 100 mm (4 in) lengths and slip these between the first row and the wall. You will need to cut one or more pieces of the flooring to length so that the row extends the full length of the wall -leave 10 mm expansion gaps at the ends as well.

Once the first row has been secured, the second one is put into place, making sure that the end joints between strips do not coincide with the joints in the first row and that the grooves of the second row strips are pushed over the tongues of the first row. You will need an off-cut of the flooring (with a groove on it) and a hammer to force the second strip tight up against the first one. When you get to the last row, the strips will have to be cut to the correct width (allowing for the expansion gap) and the strip manoeuvred into place fitting the groove over the previous rows tongue and finally forced into place with a lever or crowbar, using an off-cut of timber against the wall or skirting board (baseboard).

Fill the expansion gaps with cork strips and cover with quadrant or scotia moulding if wished (or re-fit the skirting boards). If necessary, apply a finish to the floor.


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