How to Install a Snap-Together Wood Floor The Family Handyman

How to Install a Snap-Together Wood Floor The Family Handyman

How to Install a Snap-Together Wood Floor

A snap-together fastening system simplifies floor laying. No glue, no nails. You can do it in a weekend.

Buying advice and the tools you need

Floor board interlocking system

The flooring we’re using is similar to snap-together plastic laminate floors except that it has a surface layer of real wood. The 5/16-in. thick flooring has specially shaped tongues and grooves that interlock to form a strong tight joint without glue or nails. Once assembled, the entire floor floats in one large sheet. You leave a small expansion space all around the edges so the floor can expand and contract with humidity changes.

The cost of wood veneer floors (often called engineered wood floors) varies, depending on the species and thickness of the top wood layer. Most home centers sell a few types of snap-together floors but you’ll find a better selection and expert advice at your local flooring retailer. You can also buy flooring on-line.

Before you go shopping, draw a sketch of your room with dimensions. Make note of transitions to other types of flooring and other features like stair landings and exterior doors. Ask your salesperson for help choosing the right transition moldings for these areas. You’ll need a few special tools in addition to basic hand tools like a tape measure, square and utility knife. We purchased an installation kit from the manufacturer that included plastic shims, a tapping block and a last-board puller, but if you’re handy you could fabricate these tools. A pull saw works great to undercut doorjambs and casing (Photo 3). It’s difficult to get close enough to the floor with a standard handsaw.

You’ll also need a circular saw and a jigsaw to cut the flooring, and a miter box to cut the shoe molding. A table saw and power miter saw would make your job easier but aren’t necessary.

Prep the room for the new flooring

Photo 1: Use plastic to test for moisture in concrete

Test for excess moisture in concrete floors by sealing the edges of a 3-ft. square of plastic sheeting to the floor with duct tape. Wait 24 hours before you peel back the plastic to check for moisture. Water droplets on the plastic or darkened concrete indicate a possible problem with excess moisture. Ask your flooring supplier for advice before installing a wood floor.» class=»step2enlargePic enlargePic» href=»http://hostedmedia.reimanpub.com/TFH/Step-By-Step/FH03DJA_STWDFL_03.JPG»> Photo 1: Use plastic to test for moisture in concrete

Photo 1: Use plastic to test for moisture in concrete

Test for excess moisture in concrete floors by sealing the edges of a 3-ft. square of plastic sheeting to the floor with duct tape. Wait 24 hours before you peel back the plastic to check for moisture. Water droplets on the plastic or darkened concrete indicate a possible problem with excess moisture. Ask your flooring supplier for advice before installing a wood floor.

Photo 2: Check for low spots in the floor, then fill them in.

Photo 2: Check for low spots in the floor, then fill them in.

Check for low spots in the floor with an 8-ft. straightedge and mark their perimeter with a pencil. Fill depressions less than 1/4 in. deep with layers of building paper. Fill deeper depressions with a hardening type floor filler available from flooring stores.

Photo 3: Use a pull saw to cut the doorjambs and casings

Photo 3: Use a pull saw to cut the doorjambs and casings

Undercut doorjambs and casings (door moldings) to make space for the flooring to slip underneath. Guide the saw with a scrap of flooring stacked on a piece of underlayment.

Photo 4: Finish cutting the jamb and casing

How to Install a Snap-Together Wood Floor

A snap-together fastening system simplifies floor laying. No glue, no nails. You can do it in a weekend.

Buying advice and the tools you need

Floor board interlocking system

The flooring we’re using is similar to snap-together plastic laminate floors except that it has a surface layer of real wood. The 5/16-in. thick flooring has specially shaped tongues and grooves that interlock to form a strong tight joint without glue or nails. Once assembled, the entire floor floats in one large sheet. You leave a small expansion space all around the edges so the floor can expand and contract with humidity changes.

The cost of wood veneer floors (often called engineered wood floors) varies, depending on the species and thickness of the top wood layer. Most home centers sell a few types of snap-together floors but you’ll find a better selection and expert advice at your local flooring retailer. You can also buy flooring on-line.

Before you go shopping, draw a sketch of your room with dimensions. Make note of transitions to other types of flooring and other features like stair landings and exterior doors. Ask your salesperson for help choosing the right transition moldings for these areas. You’ll need a few special tools in addition to basic hand tools like a tape measure, square and utility knife. We purchased an installation kit from the manufacturer that included plastic shims, a tapping block and a last-board puller, but if you’re handy you could fabricate these tools. A pull saw works great to undercut doorjambs and casing (Photo 3). It’s difficult to get close enough to the floor with a standard handsaw.

How to Install a Snap-Together Wood Floor The Family Handyman

You’ll also need a circular saw and a jigsaw to cut the flooring, and a miter box to cut the shoe molding. A table saw and power miter saw would make your job easier but aren’t necessary.

Prep the room for the new flooring

Photo 1: Use plastic to test for moisture in concrete

Test for excess moisture in concrete floors by sealing the edges of a 3-ft. square of plastic sheeting to the floor with duct tape. Wait 24 hours before you peel back the plastic to check for moisture. Water droplets on the plastic or darkened concrete indicate a possible problem with excess moisture. Ask your flooring supplier for advice before installing a wood floor.» class=»step2enlargePic enlargePic» href=»http://hostedmedia.reimanpub.com/TFH/Step-By-Step/FH03DJA_STWDFL_03.JPG»> Photo 1: Use plastic to test for moisture in concrete

Photo 1: Use plastic to test for moisture in concrete

Test for excess moisture in concrete floors by sealing the edges of a 3-ft. square of plastic sheeting to the floor with duct tape. Wait 24 hours before you peel back the plastic to check for moisture. Water droplets on the plastic or darkened concrete indicate a possible problem with excess moisture. Ask your flooring supplier for advice before installing a wood floor.

Photo 2: Check for low spots in the floor, then fill them in.

Photo 2: Check for low spots in the floor, then fill them in.

Check for low spots in the floor with an 8-ft. straightedge and mark their perimeter with a pencil. Fill depressions less than 1/4 in. deep with layers of building paper. Fill deeper depressions with a hardening type floor filler available from flooring stores.

Photo 3: Use a pull saw to cut the doorjambs and casings

Photo 3: Use a pull saw to cut the doorjambs and casings

Undercut doorjambs and casings (door moldings) to make space for the flooring to slip underneath. Guide the saw with a scrap of flooring stacked on a piece of underlayment.

Photo 4: Finish cutting the jamb and casing


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