How to buy wood flooring DIY flooring
Read the instructions from start to finish before beginning to lay your new floor.
Remove old floor coverings and all furniture from the room.
Run cables for telephones or sound systems before laying a new floor.
Ensure that the floor is clean and dry. Hammer in any protruding nails and fix any loose or squeaking floorboards.
Check whether you will need to plane your door by seeing if it will still open over the thickness of the flooring underlay and any leveller board that you will use. Remove the door and if possible remove skirting boards from the room.
Mark off the thickness of your leveller board, underlay and laminate on the architrave around the door. Use a flat saw to remove architrave below the mark so you can slide the flooring in underneath it.
Check whether you need to leave your laminate or flooring planks to acclimatise in the room and whether you should remove any packaging before you do so.
Assemble your tools
You will need:
- A tape measure, carpenter’s square and pencil for measuring and marking boards
- Laminate fitting tools including a pull bar, wedges and a tapping block
- A decent handsaw for trimming lengths and a jigsaw for cutting along the length of a plank (buy one with the blade that cuts on the down stroke to avoid damaging the top layer).
- A hacksaw and drill with spade bit for dealing with radiator pipes
- A coping saw if you need to cut out intricate shapes.
- A flat saw is good for trimming architrave.
Lay the floor planks end to end, running from the strongest source of light.
Work from the furthest corner towards the door.
Create an even surface using leveller boards or screed if there are significant changes in the level of the floor. Height variations should not exceed 2-3 mm per metre.
Fix wooden leveller board at least every 150 mm using ring shrank nails. Lay insulation material, do not overlap the edges of either insulation material or leveller board.
Starting in the corner lay your first board against the walls then use a wedge or spacer to create an eight to 14 mm expansion gap in front of the walls. Take your second board and carefully fit it to the free end of the first board. Use a hammer and tapping block to create a firm fit between tongue and groove boards.
Fit subsequent boards until there is less than one board length left until the end of the wall.
Place your next board parallel to the first row, so that it butts up to the wall (with a wedge in between). Use a pencil to mark where the free end of the board that has already been installed meets the plank that needs to be cut down. Use a carpenter's Square and pencil to mark the board for cutting.
Cut the board with the photograph side upwards using a handsaw. Try to cut on the down stroke to avoid damaging the top surface.
Fit the last board into place in use a pull bar to hammer the joint firmly into place.
Use the off-cut of board to begin the next row this should ensure that the joints between the ends of boards are staggered.
Continue to lay the boards, using wedges to create an 8-14 mm expansion gap around the room.
When you get to the final row you may find that the width of the board must be trimmed to fit your room. Use a jigsaw to trim along the length. When measuring remember to leave an expansion gap up against the wall.
Reinstall skirting boards or apply beading to cover the expansion gap around the edge of the floor. Plane the door to take account of any increase in height and then re-hang it.
Install a door bar to hide the expansion gap between rooms.
Installing around radiator pipes
Follow these tips to get a good finish:
When pipes are end-on to the board
Take a small offcut that will fit behind the pipe and mark the position of the pipe in that board. Join it to the end of the next board, then use a spade drill bit to drill through the join between the boards in the correct position. Disassemble the two boards and then refit them together, around the pipe.
When pipes are sideways to the board
Mark the position of the pipe on the board and then drill through the board to create the hole for the pipe.
Use a hacksaw with a very fine blade to cut a v-shape from the wall side of the board to the hole. Trim the end off. Fit the board and glue the v-cut back in to place. In both cases you need to ensure that you have underlay under the board behind the pipe as well as in front of it.
Use a radiator rose to cover the expansion gap.