There are few touches that can add to your home in quite the same way as laying a solid wood floor can.
Along with being very easy to maintain, the look of wooden flooring is one that can appeal to many different tastes and styles, making it brilliantly universal too. But, how do you go about laying your solid wood floor once you've made the decision to invest in a certain finish? Here, we hope to help you find out the answer to that very question.
What is solid wood flooring?
Put simply, solid wood flooring is exactly that - boards of natural timber that have been air-dried and cut to size, depending on the style and look you're after.
There are several ways that the wood can be cut, and each of these provide a different finish - flat-sawn, quarter-sawn and rift-sawn - you can read more about these cuts alongside our range of solid wood flooring options.
What can I do to prepare my subflooring?
Once you've settled on a particular style of solid wood flooring, and have ordered the amount that you'll need to cover your floor space, there are a few things you can do in preparation for the arrival of your new flooring.
Preparing chipboard, floorboards and most other types of subflooring for solid wood flooring
Solid wood flooring needs to be laid on a clean, dry and flat subfloor - no matter what material this comprises - so be sure to prepare (if needed) a few days before you're expecting the new wooden boards to be laid.
Preparing concrete for solid wood flooring
It's advised that you ensure your concrete is fully dry before you begin your solid wood floor installation. As such, you should never lay wooden flooring onto recently laid concrete that has been laid less than 12 months ago, as the moisture can be very damaging to your new wooden boards.
There's another factor to laying solid wood flooring onto concrete, and that's ensuring it's sound and level before you begin to fit your wood floor. If you're concerned about any unevenness, you could opt to use plywood or chipboard to create a level surface on which you can work.
What do I need to do once my solid wood flooring arrives?
When the floor has arrived, be sure to follow the advice given with your chosen product. Different types of wood may need to acclimatise to the room they're to be laid in before installation begins. This could mean opening the packaging and allowing the wood to rest for anything from a day, or leaving them wrapped but requiring them to rest for longer.
What else do I need to be aware of ahead of installing my solid wood flooring?
Solid wood flooring has far more movability to it compared with engineered wood flooring. While this isn't an issue once the floor is laid, it does mean you need to consider how best to fix your flooring in place ahead of laying.
It's because of the prone-to-moving nature of solid wood flooring that can mean it's often not the best material for laying in rooms that also feature underfloor heating. This is not a hard and fast rule though - so be sure to look at the individual product. The thickness and denseness of the boards can mean that there's room for the wood to expand and contract with the warmth of the underfloor heating.
What installation methods could I use?
When it comes to fitting your solid wood floor, fully fixing the flooring to the subfloor is often recommended as the best approach. But, how you go about doing this very much depends on the kind of subflooring you're laying your real wood flooring on.
Though technically possible on many floor types, gluing is most recommended for concrete floors.
Chose this option for fixing to chipboard, floorboards and other wooden board types.
What tools do I need?
Though some of the required tools are installation method-specific, the common tools you'll need will likely include:
- Tape measure
- Jigsaw, or a fine-toothed saw
- Safety goggles or glasses
- Face mask
Our step-by-step guide
- Once you've allowed your new flooring to acclimatise, prepare your room for laying. This means removing all skirting boards, vacuuming and cleaning the floors, and deciding which direction you're going to lay the new boards. Lastly, if you're opting to use plastic spacers, place these against the longest wall.
- It's time to fix the first row of boards! Beginning from a corner, lay the boards but don't nail or glue them in place just yet. Remember to ensure the groove is facing the wall if you've boards that offer this, and to allow room for expansion along the ends of the boards as long as the long edge.
- Once you're happy with your laying pattern and overall spacing, nail or glue your wooden flooring to the subfloor - but don't glue the groove if your boards have one, as this limits the room the wood has for expansion. For the next and subsequent rows, be sure to stagger the laying by 200 and 300mm where possible.
- When you encounter pipework, mark on the board where you need to make any hole cuts. Allow an additional 5mm of room around the pipe, and cut so that you can neatly fill the gap behind the pipe with the same floorboard when installed separately.
- On the last row, it's very likely that you'll have to cut the boards length-ways to have them fit the room - so remember to calculate your spacing here before cutting, too.
- Once the flooring is laid, you can remove any spacers that you've used, and add any trims and skirting boards that you intend to use. Remember that you might need to adjust your doors to fit over the new flooring if the height is different to the flooring you used previously.
Hopefully, this guide will have given you the confidence you need to lay your own real wood flooring, but don't forget, there are professionals out there that can assist or take on the challenge if needed. Good luck - and be sure to get in touch if you've any questions about anything Posh Flooring!