If you are planning to install the beautiful timber flooring homes love, you can rest assured that you are investing in a highly rewarding feature that will not only enhance the beauty but also the value of your property. You must, however, get it installed correctly to reap the benefits of your investment both aesthetically and financially. It pays to read up on some how-tos of wood floor installation; here are some basics.
Gluing the floor on concrete
Whether you have a concrete sub-floor or a wooden one, one of the ways you can install your solid wood floor is by gluing it down using a special wood floor adhesive.
Let’s consider a concrete sub-floor first; one of the key preparations for this is to measure the level of moisture it may have. You are good to go if the moisture content is below 4 per cent. If not, you must ideally allow the moisture content to drop further by leaving it for a few days. It is also good practice to put down a barrier sheet to contain this moisture and keep it from creeping up. You must also clear away any debris, dirt, grease etc and level the sub-floor by eliminating any bumps and filling up cracks. Your sub-floor is now ready for installation.
Gluing the floor on wood
When installing on top of a wooden sub-floor, it is best to first install a plywood base board of a depth of ½ inch. This will give your finished floor a nice even surface to sit upon.
Your finished floor will be expanding and shrinking considerably with changes in seasons, temperatures and humidity levels inside your home. For this reason, make sure you give it space to move by leaving a 10 mm gap all around the perimeter of the floor in every room and also in the doorways. You can do this easily by investing in a flooring kit; you will find installation spacers in there that do the job perfectly. You can cover up the gap in the end using skirting.
Installation with nails
Another way of installing your solid wood floors is by using the nail-down method. This works on both wooden and concrete sub-floors and is one of the oldest ways of installing wood floors. As with all concrete sub-floors, you need to run through the routine moisture level check before beginning work; it is imperative that you first put down a damp proof membrane. The battens used to install the floor must be at least 40mm deep and placed at 450mm intervals.
Wooden sub-floors must also be sturdy, level, clean and in good condition before installation can commence. Chip wood sub-floors cannot tolerate this method of installation so under no circumstances must you attempt to nail your solid wood floor on top of chip wood. It is good practice to secure any loose floorboards to avoid creaking; you could also lay down a polyfoam underlay to reduce noise. You must also leave a 10mm gap all around the floor’s edge to allow for expansion.
Using an underlay
If you have a concrete sub-floor, you can also install your solid wood floor using an adhesive underlay. The premise is simple: prepare the concrete sub-floor for installation in the usual manner, spread on a damp proof membrane, lay down the underlay with the sticky side up and then put down the final wood floor.
Some things to keep in mind…
It is best to learn as much about wood floors installation as possible before attempting to do it yourself. Keep an open mind about the methods of installation and, if possible, get a second opinion from an expert about what techniques will work best for your flooring situation. The more information you have, the less likely you are to make avoidable mistakes and the better your end result will be.
If you do your homework thoroughly, installing a solid wood floor can be a rather straightforward process indeed. Just make sure you do not skimp on any steps and take your time doing the job properly. You will be enjoying a beautifully laid floor in no time at all.