How To Lay Wood Flooring Tiles Porcelain

How To Lay Wood Flooring Tiles Porcelain

How To Lay Wood Flooring

  • Table Saw, Band Saw or Jigsaw
  • router
  • Fine Toothed Saw
  • Drill
  • Self guiding bit to cut large holes (30 to 45mm)
  • Tape Measure
  • Protective Equipment: Knee pads, Glasses and Gloves
  • Try-Square
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Hammer
  • Screwdrivers
  • Chisels


The following guidelines regarding how to lay wood flooring are representative of a number of natural wood flooring systems.

Tiles may be a great flooring solution for use on concrete and screed floors but can be difficult to use on suspended timber floors unless steps are taken to prevent flexing. In contrast, wooden and laminate flooring has natural flex that makes it an ideal alternative to carpet or vinyl flooring for most flooring applications. In older properties; where the existing floorboards are in good condition; the boards are often sanded and sealed to provide a decorative finish. Unfortunately, this can cause a rather draughty, cold floor surface as there is usually minimal sub floor insulation. Timber flooring, in contrast, is normally fitted onto a layer of cushioned insulation. The interlocking planks also form a natural insulation that helps keep draughts at bay while providing a hard wearing decorative surface.

The Difference between Laminate, Engineered Wood and Solid Wood Flooring

Unlike laminate flooring which is usually a wood effect synthetic material; engineered wood planks are made by applying thick wood veneers onto a plywood or wood block substrate. Solid wood flooring planks are made from either sawn and sanded wood or can be made available pre-finished ready for laying and has proven to be one of the most popular options. How the floor is fitted largely depends upon your choice of wood flooring and the types of substrate such as concrete/screed or wood/chipboard. Unlike carpet, vinyl and laminate, a solid wood floor can last 40 or more years with care and can even be stripped and refinished. Veneered floors often have sufficient wood thickness to be carefully sanded at least once to help extend the life of an engineered wood floor.

Calculating the Area to be Boarded

Measure the area of the room to be boarded; you may find it easier to draw a floor plan, separating the area into a series of rectangles and calculating each area to arrive at a total floor area. Allow at least 10% more than the calculated area to offset natural wastage. If the flooring comes in packs; then round up to the nearest whole pack, never down to ensure you have sufficient planks on hand once the project starts

Acclimatising Natural Wood Before Laying – Temperature and Humidity

Wood is a natural product and will change its moisture content and dimensions slightly depending upon the temperature and humidity of your room.

Make sure to have the wood on hand several days before you plan to start fitting your new floor. Open the timber packs, remove the boards and store in the room to be transformed for a few days to acclimatise

Preparing The Room

Remove The Old Flooring

Strip out the old carpet, vinyl or tiled flooring; ensuring any raised or remnant fixings are removed. Scrape off any foam or adhesive for a flat finish. If you have an existing timber floor then ensure any loose or squeaking floorboards are fixed. Talc often makes a good lubricant for squeaking joints.

Remove Inward Facing Doors

Chance are high that your new wood floor will be higher than the flooring it replaces and will likely interfere with the opening and closing of inward facing doors. Remove any internal doors likely to cause interference and adjust to size upon completion.

Allowing for Wood Expansion – Skirting Boards

How To Lay Wood Flooring Tiles Porcelain

Natural wood will expand and contract depending upon room temperature and humidity; for this reason it is common practice to leave a 10 to 15mm expansion gap around the floor area. This can be concealed by applying a wooden beading along the base of existing skirting boards after laying. For a better result; remove your skirting boards to be refitted afterwards or consider replacing with new skirting.

What Direction Should the New Floor Be Fitted

When working out where to start; it is common practice to run parallel to the longest wall; this should usually be 90 degrees to the joists for a wooden floor and start at the corner furthest from the door. Don’t forget that a 10-15mm expansion gap needs to be left. It is common practice to fit the first board with the tongue facing the wall.

Fitting Underlay

Underlay not only helps insulate your room but can help absorb noise too. Choose a suitable underlay for insulation and sound absorption. When laying onto concrete or screed; a polythene vapour barrier should be fitted first.

Using Battens on a Concrete or Screed Sub Floor

If the floor is to be nailed or screwed rather than interlocking boards similar to click-fit style laminates then you will probably need to fix your new floor onto wooden battens. It is best to use battens hat are at least 25mm thick and a maximum of 400mm apart. You can use fibre underlay cut to fit between the battens to add additional insulation and support.

Using Plywood on A Chipboard Floor

If the manufacturer recommends nailing or screwing your wooden planks into place then chipboard may not be strong enough. Consider replacing the existing chipboard with heavy duty plywood panels or overlay with a 12mm plywood for additional fixing strength

Laying the Wooden Floor

Once the sub floor elements have been decided upon it’s time to fit the first board. For a “floating floor” ensure you use suitable spacers to maintain the gap while laying your floor. Lay and if appropriate; fix the first plank in place tongue side towards the wall. If it is too short to fit right along the room then fit a second plank end on to the first and cut to fit. Mark the cut, allowing for spacer gap and then use a try-square to mark the plank. You may be lucky enough to have a chop saw or sawing jig that can accommodate the timber width for a clean cut; if not cut with a fine toothed saw for the best result and avoid splintering. Use the off-cut, if long enough to start the second row and help stagger joints for additional strength and a better aesthetic result. Joints should overlap planks by at least 300mm for strength. Continue working across the room using the fixing technique appropriate to your product. If using nails, consider buying or hiring a nail gun to get a consistent nailing angle to hold the wooden planks in place. Keep a block of wood or scrap piece of flooring and use a rubber mallet to tap any difficult to fit planks into place.

Using Tension Straps, Glue and Painter’s Tape on T&G Flooring

With glued tongue and grooved boards; it can be quite difficult to get the glued joint uniformly pressed together along the entire length while the glue dries. One relatively easy solution is to use tension straps every 600mm to 900mm or so to gently pull together up to 4 rows at a time. If you over tighten then the straps may start to pull the glued planks upwards into a curve. The aim is to “just” close the gap and leave the straps in place for 10minutes or so while the adhesive starts to grip. To maintain the lock you can use the easy-off tape favoured by painters and decorators to help hold the boards together for 24 hours. This type of tape should be easy to remove without leaving a mark. If in doubt, test first.

Finishing the last Row of Flooring – Cutting Floor Boards Lengthwise

If you’re incredibly lucky the your flooring will fit across the width of your floor perfectly; otherwise you will need to cut the last planks lengthwise to fit the gap. If you have access to a circular saw bench or even a band saw then mark the planks to be cut to fit, allowing for a 10 to 15mm movement gap. The gap will also help with any slight cutting errors. If you need to cut by hand then a rip saw would be a better choice. On the waste side, cut down to the line every 150 to 300mm. This will make it easier to remove waste a piece at a time to prevent splitting and help you stay on line. Cut lengthwise a piece at a time and, if needed, adjust slightly with a hand plane.

Wooden Flooring in Doorways – Undercutting Architraves and Door Frames

As mentioned earlier, you need to have an expansion gap. This applies in doorways too. Also, you don’t want to see the flooring from the far side of the door when the door is closed. This means that the flooring needs to terminate slightly less than mid thickness of the door so that any joints are kept within the section of flooring that falls below a closed door.

Cutting the boards to fit round the door frame and finish below the closed door is one solution but looks messy and unprofessional. The best finish is to cut the base of the architrave and door frame to accommodate the edge of the flooring and hide the expansion gap below the architrave and frame. Use a scrap of flooring laid alongside the door frame to mark off the architrave and frame to be removed. Sliding a fine tooted saw over the scrap will also help form a guiding cut. The material to be removed can then be cut away with a sharp chisel

Cutting Flooring to Fit Round Radiator Pipes

Chances are high that you will need to fit flooring around radiator pipes. Mark the pipe position on the floorboard that needs to be cut and drill a hole about 4-5 mm larger all round than the pipe in the correct position. On a tangent to the hole; mark a wedge shape and cut out using a fine tooth saw. It should now be possible to fit the board in place and have a matching packing piece to fit behind the pipe. You need to ensure an expansion gap remains around the pipe when the packing piece is glued or placed in position.

Decorative metal and wooden collars are available that come in 2 pieces to be glued together and form a collar around the base of your radiator pipes. They provide a loose fit and cleverly disguise the necessary expansion gap

Finishing The Exposed Flooring Edge Below A Door

The finished edge below the door is normally concealed using a specially made T-bar or profile edge to go from wood floor to carpet or act as a reducer to the original floor level or vinyl. Usually they are available in a range of wood finishes as well as brass, steel, aluminium or coloured.

An experienced DIY enthusiast may also be able to adapt a flooring offcut by gluing onto a wood block before reshaping using a router or similar cutting tool.

Once the floor is complete you can attach beeding or scotia to the skirting boards or refit skirting to the walls to cover the expansion gap and complete your flooring project.

Cork Expansion Strips

The expansion gap left at the edge of the room when the spacers are remove can be packed lightly with cork expansion slips to avoid floor movement while compressing to accommodate any expansion in summer or with increased humidity

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2013 at 7:47 am and is filed under Guides & Advice. Materials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response. or trackback from your own site.

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