ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Engineered Wood Floor Installation

Updated on February 11, 2016

Introduction

My aim is to have all my rooms either laminate or wooden floors. I suffer from a dust allergy. Carpets I can live with, but even with regular vacuuming, they still harbour dust and dust mites. All the dust and dirt remains on top of a hard floor, so it just needs to be either mopped or vacuumed.

This describes the floating method. There are 2 other methods - Glue down or nail down.

The Almost Final Result

After the floor has been laid. Still requires a few finishing touches
After the floor has been laid. Still requires a few finishing touches

Before Picture

The room I was flooring was my hallway. It had a carpet it in it which originally came with the house when it was bought some years ago. The carpet was an olive green colour, plus there were patches where it had been repaired, badly.

Before Picture

Before Picture
Before Picture

Cautionary Notes

Laying flooring is a physically demanding task. It is highly labour intensive. If you do not feel up to doing this yourself, please consider having it done by a professional.

It is also a very slow process. As an indication, this floor took me nearly 5 days to complete. But the results are very satisfying

Preparation

Before the new floor can be laid, the old carpet has to be lifted, along with the underlay and the gripper boards. The underlay is generally stapled to the floor, so these staples need to be removed. Then what I normally do next is to remove the skirting boards as it does give a more professional finish. Also remove the doors which open out onto the new floor. So to summarize, the preparation steps are

Lift carpet

Remove underlay

Remove staples

Lift gripper boards

Pull off skirting boards

Remove the doors

Tools required

Some of the tools required. Note that I added a few more tools after this photo was taken.

Knee pads - you will be spending a long time on your knees, so these are important

Face mask

Ear defenders

Claw hammer

Under-cut saw

Light-weight hammer

Rule

Tapping block

Try square

Tapping bar

Pry bar

Spacing wedges

Tools required

Some of the tools required
Some of the tools required

Once the Carpet and Underlay are Both Lifted

Remove the staples from the floor boards. I used pliers for this - see they weren't in the list of tools.

This may take a little while, but it is well worth it. You might need to go over the floor a few times before you get them all. I went over it once, then when I vacuumed the floor afterwards, I found a few more. A little frustrating, but it needs to be done.

Remove Staples

Remove the Gripper Bars

Remove the gripper bars
Remove the gripper bars

Remove the Gripper Bars

You'll need the pry bar and the claw hammer

Once this is Done

Gripper bars removed
Gripper bars removed

Gripper Bars Removed

You will end up with a heap of gripper bars which are spiky on one side and they will have nails sicking out on the other side. Handle with great care

Gripper Boards

Close up of a gripper board
Close up of a gripper board

What to do with the Gripper Boards?

I disposed of them in the bin, but they could be reused in another room you are planning on putting down carpet, or give them to someone else. Who knows you could sell them on ebay? Never tried this, but it might be worth a shot.

Next - Remove the Skirting Boards

You'll need the hammer and pry bar for this

Remove the Skirting Boards

Skirting Boards Removed
Skirting Boards Removed

Remove the Nails from the Skirtings

I normally remove all the nails from the back of the skirtings as I will be sticking them back to the wall when all is completed with No Nails or something similar

Good Practice to Label the Skirtings after you Remove Them

Skirtings marked
Skirtings marked

Nails Sometimes Stick in the Walls

Pull the Nails Out

Pull them out with a claw hammer or the end of a pry bar with nail jaws.

Level the Floor Boards

If there are any parts of the sub-floor which are uneven, these will require to be leveled. This can be done with a plane or chisel. The parts to look at are where the boards join.

The floor should not change in level no more than 2mm in 2 metres.

Tools for Levelling

Plane, Chisels and a Spirit Level
Plane, Chisels and a Spirit Level

Undercut the Door Frames

The door frames will require to be trimmed as the wooden floor will be higher up than the carpet. There are two ways of doing this - do it with the frames on the wall with an under-cut saw, or take them off and trim them with a tenon saw or jigsaw. I can only recommend the under-cut method. I previously removed the door frames, but it is quite hard to get the length exactly right.

To do this, use an off-cut or a sample of the floor you are about to install and place some underlay underneath it, so that you get the right hight of the new floor. Then use the under-cut saw.

Undercut the Door Frames

Off-cut and underlay
Off-cut and underlay

Using an Undercut Saw

Trimming the Door Frames
Trimming the Door Frames

Start Laying the Underlay

Your floor will need a quick vacuum, before you go onto this part, and no doubt you'll find a staple or two which you missed. But once all this is done, it is time to start putting down the underlay.

Start Laying the Underlay

First Strip of Underlay
First Strip of Underlay

Start Laying the Boards

Place plastic wedge next to the walls where the first plank will go. These will leave a gap between the wall and the floor so that it can expand

The first plank I laid, I had to cut so that it would go into a door space. It is a good idea to use either a flexi-curve or a tiling shape tool to mark the cuts for the door frames - mine are curved at the edge.

Lay the First Plank

First Plank Laid
First Plank Laid

Continue Laying Planks

The next plank you lay will need to be glued to the first plank. Use flooring grade PVA adhesive for this. Put glue on both sides of the tongue.

Glue the end of the Second Plank

Gluing the end of a plank
Gluing the end of a plank

Lay the Second Plank

Once the second plank is cut to fit round any door spaces, lay the plank at the end of the first one, then use a tapping block and hammer to tap the second plank into place. Put plastic wedges along the wall to maintain the gap.

Lay the Second Plank

Second Plank Laid
Second Plank Laid

Continue Laying Planks

Continue laying planks until you reach the end of the floor. You will most likely need to cut a plank to size or cut a short piece to fit the last space. Make sure that you cut so that there is still a gap for the spacer at the end.

Third Plank Laid

Third plank laid
Third plank laid

Start on the Second Row

At the beginning of the second row, start with a short plank so that the joins will not all be in the same place.

Put glue along the long edge of the second row planks. It is recommended that the glue should be in lengths of 200mm. So glue for 200mm, then leave a gap of approx 200mm and so and so forth.

Glue the Edges of the Planks

Glue the edges of the Planks
Glue the edges of the Planks

The Second Row Should be Much Easier

At this point, the floor should becoming more stable and will not move around every time you tap new planks into the floor.

Putting a Shot Length at the end

Short piece at the end
Short piece at the end

End Pieces

Use the metal S shaped bar to tap in the end pieces. The tapping block will not fit in at the ends.

Using the S Shaped Bar for the Pieces on the end

S Shaped Bar
S Shaped Bar

Continue Laying

Continue laying planks. Once you reach the other wall, remember to cut the planks length-wise so that there is enough of a gap to put the spacer wedges in.

This photo below shows how far I reached after 2 days.

After 2 Days

After 2 days
After 2 days

Lay more Underlay

When you have covered the first strip of underlay, you will need to lay some more. Do this before the whole strip is covered. It is good practice to put the new underlay so it overlaps the thin silver edge. I also taped the new underlay down to the existing piece. You can use underlay tape, which is available from most hardware stores, but Selotape is just as effective.

Trim the edges of the underlay with either scissors or a Stanley knife.

Laying More Underlay

Laying more underlay
Laying more underlay

Going Round Corners

At some point you might have to go round a corner. If you are lucky, this can happen by just starting with a new plank, or you might have to cut one to the required shape.

Going Round Corners

Going Round Corners
Going Round Corners

Radiator Cut-Outs

If you have any radiators, you will need to make cut outs for the pipes.

Radiator Cut Out

Radiator Cut Out
Radiator Cut Out

Radiator Cut-Outs

Depending where the cut-outs for the radiator pipes are required, you might need to cut out a small section, then trim this with a tenon saw.

Making a Radiator Cut-Out

Using a Tenon Saw for the Radiator Cut-Out

Radiator Cut-out
Radiator Cut-out

Filling the Gap of a Radiator Cut-Out

Filling the Gap
Filling the Gap

Fitting the Planks Round Obstacles

You might have to do some cuts in the planks which are to fit round obstacles, such as door frames, or walls which stick out. I've shown an example here.

The curves were drawn using a tile shape tool.

Interesting Obstacles

Interesting Obstacles
Interesting Obstacles

The Process Continues

Continue laying planks until you reach the other end. The process is the same for each plank.

Cut to required length or shape

Check it fits

Glue the tongued edges

Tap the plank into place

Once you are Finished Laying

It is a good point in the proceedings to give the new floor a quick vacuum. There will be sawdust on it and you do not want this to be going all through the rest of the house.

Next Trim the Doors

The next thing to do is to trim the doors.

To do this, put each door back on its hinges and mark the required amount to be removed.

It can take several attempts to do this, so be patient.

I was fortunate in that my doors could be taken off the hinges without unscrewing them - the door attaches to the hinge by means of a plastic clip.

When rehanging a door, it is a good idea to put a dust sheet under it, to prevent scratching the new floor.

I cut the doors with a jigsaw. It was necessary to cut along one side, then turn it over and cut the other side. I then used a plane to smooth out any bumps or any unevenness.

Note that if you do have glass doors, you will need assistance in moving them and rehanging them as they are very heavy.

Trimming the Doors

Door needs Trimming
Door needs Trimming
Picture of the hinges
Picture of the hinges

Install any Door Profiles

If you are using any door profiles to plug the gaps between the new floor and the adjacent room's floor covering, you will need to install the door profile.

Some of my doors had a wooden strip at their base, so it was not necessary to do this for every door.

Door Profile Installation

Measuring the door profile
Measuring the door profile
Cutting the door profile
Cutting the door profile
Door profile installed
Door profile installed

Installation of the Door Profile

Once it is cut to size, you will need to glue the door profile in place, otherwise it will move every time you walk over it.

Next Put the Skirting Boards Back

Once all the doors are trimmed and rehung, and they do not catch on the new floor, it is now time to put the skirting boards back on. My preference here was to rub them down with wet and dry sandpaper, then put 2 coats of stain on them. This took about 3 days before it was complete, but they looked much nicer than before. I did the same for the door frames.

Before I put the skirtings back on, I filled the gaps between the walls and the floor with silicone sealant. This was to draught proof the room.

I used "No Nails" to stick them back on rather than nailing them in to the plasterboard.

The finished Result

The completed project
The completed project

Finishing Touches

To finish the job off, I filled in any gaps between the floor and the bars at the bottom of the doors. I did this with oak coloured sealant.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.