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    Laying wood flooring


    Summary: Learn how to lay wood flooring onto concrete, lay a chipboard 'Floating' floor, lay a solid wood 'Floating' floor and lay boards onto floor battens.



    Floorboards can be laid directly onto a level concrete floor. This is called a “Floating” floor as no screws or nails are needed to fix the boards into position. This type of floor should only be fitted if the relative humidity of the room is lower than 75% – this can be measured with a humidity meter.


    Laying a chipboard 'Floating' floor

    Before you start, follow the recommended requirements for floating floors and tongue-and-groove boards.

    • Cover the concrete base with insulation board.
    • Then cover the insulation board with a damp-proof membrane ensuring it laps up the walls to a height higher than the depth of the floor you are planning to lay.
    • When using several sheets of damp-proof membrane the edges should overlap by at least 300mm (12in).
    • Lay chipboard panels directly on top of the damp-proof membrane, leaving an expansion gap of 10mm (3/8in) around the edge of the room where the floor meets the wall.
    • Using a wood adhesive join the tongue-and-groove joints of the chipboard panels together.
    • As you lay the boards wipe away any excess adhesive that squeezes up from the joints.
    • When all the chipboard panels are in place you can fix the skirting board around the room, which will also hold down the edges of the board and conceal the expansion gap.

    Ensure the damp-proof membrane laps up the walls to a height higher than the depth of the floor you are planning to lay.

    Use a wood adhesive to join the tongue-and-groove joints of the chipboard panels together.

    Skirting board will hold down the edges of the board and conceal the expansion gap.


    Laying a solid wood 'Floating' floor

    Before you start, follow the recommended requirements for board sizes, floating floors and tongue-and-groove boards.

    • Cover the concrete base with insulation board.
    • Then cover the insulation board with a damp-proof membrane ensuring it laps up the walls to a height higher than the depth of the floor you are planning to lay.
    • When using several sheets of damp-proof membrane the edges should overlap by at least 300mm (12in).
    • Lay the boards directly on top of the damp-proof membrane, leaving a minimum expansion gap of 10mm (3/8in) around the edge of the room where the floor meets the wall. See the advised expansion gaps for different woods.
    • Using a wood adhesive join the tongue-and-groove joints of the boards together.
    • As you lay the boards wipe away any excess adhesive that squeezes up from the joints.
    • If the cut-off from the end of the first row is 300mm (12in) or longer then it can be used to start the second row. Joints between neighbouring rows should always be staggered by at least 300mm (12in).
    • When all the solid wood boards are in place you can fix the skirting board around the room, which will also hold down the edges of the board and conceal the expansion gap.

    Laying boards onto floor battens

    Alternatively, you can lay boards onto batten joists by fixing dry, pre-treated softwood battens to a concrete floor.

    • Lay damp-proof membrane over the concrete floor. The damp-proof membrane should extend up the walls to the height of 100mm (4in) and be secured to the walls with tape.
    • Cut lengths of batten to fit around the room against the walls. The battens should be at least 50mm (2in) thick and no more than 2m (6ft 6in) long.
    • Drill pilot holes through the first batten, the membrane and into the concrete.
    • Fix the batten to the floor using 100mm (4in) frame fixings including plugs. Start by hammering the frame fixing in place then use a power drill with a screwdriver bit to secure the batten to the floor. 
    • Fix all the perimeter battens in place first.
    • Cut battens to go across the room at 500mm (1ft 8in) intervals and drill pilot holes.
    • Check the tops of the battens are level, using a spirit level.
    • If necessary, to ensure a level floor insert wedges under the battens to bring them up to the required floor height. Once again use a spirit level to check the tops of the battens are level. 
    • Secure each batten to the floor using 100mm (4in) frame fixings at both ends and through any wedges.
    • Insulation board should be cut and placed between the battens.
    • Fix the floorboards onto the battens, following the instructions for laying floorboards onto joists.

    Hammer the frame fixing in place, then use a power screwdriver to secure the battens to the floor.

    Use wedges under the battens to get your required floor height and to keep the tops of the battens level.




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    Tools Needed
    • Humidity meter
    • Power drill
    • Screwdriver bit
     
    Materials Needed
    • Insulation board
    • Damp-proof membrane
    • Chipboard
    • Wood adhesive
     
     
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    Tools Needed
    • Power drill
    • Wood masonry bits
    • Screw driver bit
    • Claw hammer
    • Spirit level
    • Panel saw
     
    Materials Needed
    • Softwood battens
    • Damp-proof membrane
    • Frame fixings
    • Insulation board