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Five quick tips for fitting hardwood flooring

When you decide to install a new hardwood floor in any room, it can be an exciting time imagining what the finished floor will look like, but it is very important not to rush the installation process or cut corners, otherwise your flooring may become damaged over time.  Here are some general tips to offer guidance when fitting a hardwood floor.

  1. Prepare your subfloor correctly

Your subfloor is the existing floor that is down in the property.  You should ensure that it is flat, level, dry and clean before the installation process begins.  If it is not of a sound quality then it can cause irreparable damage to your hardwood floor at a later date.  For example, warping, cracking, creaking and discolouration. For further advice on preparing you subfloor properly, see our article, ‘How to prepare my subfloor before installing hardwood.’

Bamboo-16.-Moisture-test-on-a-concrete-subfloor Moisture testing a concrete subfloor


 2. Choose the correct method of installation

The method of installation depends greatly upon the type of flooring you have and the type of subfloor you have. If you have chosen engineered hardwood flooring, then you can float it over an underlay or fix it directly to the subfloor using flexible flooring adhesive or nailing.  If you have chosen solid hardwood flooring then you must fix it into position by gluing, nailing or screwing.  If you decide to float your engineered floor, or glue your solid or engineered floor down any subfloor except joists will be suitable.  If you wanted to secret nail or secret screw your flooring into position, then you will need to have a wooden subfloor (joists, floorboards or plywood, but not chipboard as it is not strong enough).

 3. Leave an expansion gap

An expansion gap is a space of 12mm – 15mm that is left around the whole perimeter of the room when fitting hardwood flooring.  It is essential to allow the natural expansion and contraction of the hardwood.  Without it, your flooring will have no room for natural movement and could start to raise up and distort.  For further information, see our article on ‘What is an expansion gap?’

Expansion gap Example of an expansion gap

 4. Use the correct equipment

To ensure a long lasting hardwood floor it is essential to use the correct products and equipment.  When choosing your hardwood floor, it is advisable to ask for some technical advice and guidance to make certain that you use the correct products such as, underlay, glue, trowels, nails, flooring spacers, etc.

5. Add the finishing touches

Once your new hardwood floor has been installed, you may need to add some finishing touches to your room. Firstly you will need to cover the expansion gap that has been left around the edge of the room.  This can be covered over by either skirting or beading.  If you have any pipes that meet the floor, then you may also want to cover the gaps around these by using pipe covers.  Depending on your room, there are other moulding and accessory options to complement you space, for example, door strips and stair nosing.  For further information please see: ‘Hardwood flooring mouldings and accessories explained’

skirt-test Matching hardwood skirting

When installing a hardwood floor it is always advisable to consult a professionally trainer floor fitter.

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