How to Lay Woodstrip Flooring
Wood strip flooring is suitable for use in most rooms of your home and requires only basic carpentry skills to lay. The method used will vary according to the system you buy. Some strips need to be secret nailed to the floorboards, while others are designed to be a floating floor and may be glued, clipped or simply slotted together.
All wood strip flooring requires an expansion gap around the edges of the room to allow the floor to expand and contract naturally. This can be achieved by removing and refitting the skirting (base) boards so that they cover the edge strips, or by filling the gap with cork strip or covering it with quadrant (base shoe) moulding, which are quicker and easier options. Floor laying kits that contain expansion-gap spacers are available. Laminated strip flooring can be laid in exactly the same manner as wood strip flooring.
Mark a guideline for the first run by snapping a chalked string line 12mm away from, and parallel to, the longest or most convenient wall. Normally, wood strip is laid length ways in a room, or at right-angles to the floorboards.
Use a strip of wood or spacers to maintain the expansion gap and butt the grooved edge of the first strip tightly against it. Lay strips dry to complete the first run and. if necessary, cut a length to fit, marking it with the aid of a try square.
Once the first row has been aligned and is square with the wall, ease the boards apart and fix them in place according to the recommended method. For a glued floor, apply adhesive to both the tongue and groove of adjoining boards, wiping oft any that oozes between the boards immediately. Hoards held by clips should have them driven into adjacent lengths at 760mm (30in) interval’s. If secret nailing is required, drive pins into the floor through the board tongues at a 45-degree angle, spacing them 200-250mm (8-10in) apart, up to 40mm from each end.
To lay subsequent lengths, push the grooved edge of one strip on to the tongue of the strip laid previously, tapping it firmly with a hammer and protecting the edge from damage with an offcut (scrap). Lay the second and subsequent rows in this way, staggering the joints. An off cut longer than 300mm (12in) can be used to start the next row.
If a strip needs to be trimmed along its length to fit in the skirting, place it exactly over the last strip laid and put a spare board on top so that its tongue butts up to spacers against the skirting. Use the edge of the top board as a guide for marking the cutting line on the board below, and trim to size with a tenon saw. To ease the last strips into place, use a lever, or fitting tool if supplied, and pull them tightly against the previous row. If the flooring has been fixed by secret nailing, secure the last pieces by nailing through the face of the wood, punching the nails below the surface and disguising them with wood filler. Leave the floor to settle for 24 hours, after which the spacers can be removed and the expansion gap filled with cork strip or covered with quadrant moulding pinned to the skirting. If the flooring does not have a factory finish, it should be sealed as soon as possible with flooring grade wax, finishing oil or polyurethane varnish.
Cutting wooden flooring to fit neatly around a door frame can be difficult. Instead, use an off cut as a guide to mark a horizontal cutting line around the bottom of the architrave (trim) and frame. Saw through the architrave along the line and remove the narrow portion of wood. The wood strip should slip neatly underneath.
Wood strip flooring does not need a hardboard sub-floor, but it may require a paper underlay or polyethylene vapour barrier, so check the manufacturers installation instructions. Floating floors and direct-fix systems can be installed ewer floorboards. A floating floor is the best option for a solid floor.