Laying wood flooring

The different types of wood flooring Generally, adhesive is used for fix- lay mosaic panels with adhesive, how are laid in different ways – and this ing thin, pre-fabricated panels on to secret-nail a strip floor and how to may depend on the sub-floor. Most solid floors. Nails are used for fixing lay block flooring. With other types, types can be laid on any sub-floor strips and blocks to timber sub-floors, the procedure is very similar to one or which is smooth, level and dry. The Loose laying is suitable for some types other of these. Loose-laying panels for major difference is whether they are of pre-fabricated panel provided there instance follows substantially the same   method as for laying mosaic laid with adhesive, nailed or loose- is an underlay.    panels laid with no fixing.

The Guide methods detail how to with adhesive.


Laying mosaic panels Mosaic panels are probably the easiest wooden floor to lay, and are suitable for any prepared sub-floor. They are normally laid with adhesive, although some types can be loose laid. It is also possible in some cases to use a heavy-duty double- sided adhesive tape, and this may be the best solution for individual panels which might have to be lifted for access to pipework, say.

Step 1

Before you start to lay the panels, mark up the floor with two square lines to the centre as for cork or vinyl tiles. If you’re laying the tiles diagonally across the room these will have to go from corner to corner. Leave an expansion gap of 1 2m all around the room to allow for movement, and dry-lay a run of tiles first to check the fit.

Work outwards from the centre in all direction – leaving panels around the edges which will need trimming until last. If you are gluing the panels down, use the adhesive recommended by the manufacturer — usually a bitumen-based type. Spread it evenly over a small area at atime – slightly over-lapping the panel size – and bed the panel firmly. With loose-lay panels, fit the tongued and grooved edges together.

Step 2

At the edges, overlay the panels to mark them for cutting, as for vinyl tiles but remember to leave the expansion gap On felt-backed panels, cuts which coincide with the gaps between the strips of wood which make the mosaic can be cut with a knife. Otherwise, use a tenon saw.

Lay the edge panels all round. Fill the expansion gap with a cork strip. Or cover itwith a moulding pinned to the skirting board.

Laying laminated panels and boards These are laid in much the same way as mosaic panels. In most types, the edges have interlocking lugs or tongues and grooves. Some can be loose-laid over an underlay, others may be glued and secret-nailed in position – check the manufacturers instructions. Larger laminated boards simulate strip flooring. They are usually secret nailed to a wood sub-floor, or glued to a solid one.


Laying strip flooring Asall strip flooring is relatively narrow the cutting should be minimal, and marking Out is limited to establishing a square line for cutting the ends— use a try square.

Although there is no reason why wood strip should not be laid diagonally in a room, itwill look best if it is laid at right angles to the walls and it helpsto disguise any imperfections of level if the strips are at right angles to the main source of window light.

On a timber sub- floor the thin type of strips should be laid at anangle— usually 90′ or 45’— across the existing floorboards. Use a mallet or a hammer and piece of scrapwood to knock the pieces together and secret-nail through the tongue. Bitumen adhesive can be used as well, and may help to cut down squeaks. On a concrete floor bed the strips on suitable adhesive. The more substantial strip flooring can be laid directly over floor joists orovera concrete floor on 50mm by 50mm battens set into a 50mm sand and cement screed at 400mm

centres (spaces of 450mm). If you are laying a new concrete floor, you can use a 1 2mm levelling screed and 50mm by 25mm battens nailed over it.

Whether it is laid over joists or embedded battens, fix the strips at right angles to the timbers by secret nailing. The alternative is to nail through the faces,punching the nails beneath the surface and filling the holes. If the strips are end-matched the joints may be made anywhere between the joists, but should be staggered. With squareended strips, the joints must be over a supporting nogging to which both strips are nailed.

Strip floors can also be laid asa sprung floor. In which case, special cushion pads are laid between the loists and the strips

Laying block flooring Individual wood blocks are tongued and grooved, and can be laid on a solid floorwith a bitumen adhesive, or secret- nailed to a timber sub-floor,

They are probably the most difficult form of flooring to lay. Unlike mosaic panels, which are laid in a square grid, orstrip flooring which is laid in straightlines, blocks are laid individually to form a parquet pattern. There area number of different arrangements, and the blocks may be machined to interlock only in a particular way.

Even the simplest pattern will require a lot of cutting at the edges. As the blocks are thick, this can involve a great deal of work—especially for diagonalinterlocking patterns like the herringbone. To simplify laying, most patterns leave a border one or two blocks wide, running round the room The border incorporates the 1 2mm expansion gap

The main pattern is based on guide lines starting atthe centre of the room —these may be square or diagonal dependingon the pattern. Each block is knocked into place against its neighbours, with the last blocks cut before fitting.


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