Installation – Solid Wood Flooring
The fitting of Solid real wood flooring is usually better left to a professional floor fitter, but if you are competent at DIY then you should have no problem. Having the right tools makes the job easier, but the basic tools are spacers, tapping block, pull bar and hammer, you will also need a jigsaw to cut the wood flooring. There are three ways of installing wood floors –
Firstly – secret nailing, this is done with a certain machine that is designed to nail cleats into the tongue of the wood flooring at a certain angle, this is done over existing floor boards or overlaid plywood.
Secondly – You can glue the solid wood floor directly to the floor with special glues designed for that purpose. The sub-floor must be very flat and had a liquid damp proof membrane applied to the concrete floor. Wide boards that are 150mm in width or greater must always be glued down, irrespective of what sub floor it is, this is due to solid wood flooring expands through the width of the board and very little in the length and the wider the board the more expansion there is.
Thirdly – Self adhesive underlay is the latest of the fixing methods, this is installed by pealing back the sticky top layer just enough past the last row of wood flooring that was laid. This method also requires the sub-floor to be very flat, if it is not then it needs to be levelled using levelling compound.
Expansion of solid wood flooring is the main factor many have problems with, key rule is leave as much expansion as possible, if your wood floor is to be laid in a big room, then the skirting boards will have to be taken off, this is to enable enough room for expansion, adding scotia (beading) around the skirting boards as well is advisable.
Installation Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is made with a click system, making it very easy to install, someone with very little DIY knowledge should be able to install it. You must buy the correct manufacturers fitting kit to go with your laminate floor, this is due to each click system will have their own tapping block, if you don’t use the correct one, you will damage you laminate floor. If you feel that you can’t install a laminate floor, then get a professional fitter in. One popular click system that is used by many is UNICLIC. Quick-step uses this system with their laminate floors, I have found this to be the easiest to install, due to being able to click the boards together without tilting them.
Laminate flooring can be installed over floor boards or concrete, never glue the laminate boards to the floor, you should always float the floor by installing a suitable underlay first, I always use a underlay with a Damp proof membrane built in, even if laying over floor boards, this is especially advisable on ground floor installations.
A 10mm gap for expansion is recommended around the perimeter of the room for laminate flooring, you can hide this by installing beading (scotia).