Most of the problems reported with solid wood flooring are as the result of poor subfloor preparation or incorrect installation so it is essential that your new hardwood floor is fitted properly. There are several methods which you can choose from but remember to read the manufacturers instructions before commencing and, if you are in any doubt, seek professional advice.
Full Glue Down Installations
Glue-down installation requires the use of an adhesive applied directly onto the subfloor and can be laid onto both concrete and wooden subfloors.
If you are laying over a concrete subfloor you will first need to check the moisture levels of the concrete. if the floor has a moisture content reading of more than 4% then either wait until the sub floor dries to meet this level or use an appropriate moisture barrier. This is to ensure that no damp rises up into your new floor.
Also note that new concrete slabs require a minimum of 60 days drying time before covering them with a wood floor.
All concrete sub-floors must be dry, smooth, level and free of structural defects. If the concrete sub floor is uneven we recommend using a self leveling compound to level the subfloor out, these will be available alongside the flooring accessories range.
The concrete must also be free of paint, oil, existing adhesives, wax grease, dirt and curing compounds. These may be removed chemically or mechanically, but do not use solvent-based strippers under any circumstances because the use of residual solvents can prohibit the satisfactory bond of flooring adhesives.
If you have a wooden subfloor you will need to lay a 1/2" plywood base over this before installation, this will then give you a smooth and level surface for you to install you wood flooring onto.
Another important consideration in using glue-down installation is your choice of adhesives as some are only suitable for floors up to a small width. To avoid warranty issues and the possibility of future problems we recommend seeking advice if you are unsure which product is best.
You will need to leave a 10mm expansion gap around the perimeter of the room. To maintain this gap during installation spacers are provided in flooring installation kits (purchased separately). After you have installed the floor you can cover this expansion gap with scotia or new skirting boards.
The 10mm expansion gap also needs to be left in doorways where the floor follows through from one room to another and door profiles are specially designed to cover these spaces and compliment your solid wood floor.
Floating On An Adhesive Backed Underlay
You can also install a solid wood floor over a concrete subfloor by floating it on an adhesive backed underlay such as Fast Fit Peel & Stick Underlay. This has adhesive on one side which the solid wood floor is laid onto. Before you lay down the underlay you will need to first lay a 1000 gauge damp proof membrane.
Nailed Down Installations
Nailed down installation is the traditional way to install solid wood floors and can be done either directly onto wooden subfloor or on a concrete subfloor with the use of battens.
Solid wood floors can be nailed into existing wooden subfloors such as floorboards or plywood but not into chipboard floors as these are not strong enough to hold the nails. The floorboards must be in good condition and level - if not it is advisable to lay 1/2" plywood down first.
To avoid creaking, check over the subfloor and securely fasten any loose floorboards. For added soundproofing it is also advisable to use a polyfoam underlay to provide a barrier.
When you nail down a solid wood floor you should use a Porta Nailer to drive the nail in to the floor at a 30 degree angle through the tongue and into the subfloor. Porta Nailers can be hired from any good hire shop and a quick internet search will bring .
Like with glue down installation methods you will need to leave a 10mm expansion gap around the perimeter of the room. These gaps are best created using spacers which are available in solid wood flooring installation kits and the unsightly spaces are easily covered with skirting or door profiles.
Battens over concrete
Alternatively you can nail down a solid wood floor over a concrete subfloor with the use of battens. A damp proof membrane sheet must first be laid over the concrete subfloor before the battens are laid out at intervals of 450mm. The battens must be a minimum of 40mm in depth to avoid them bowing. The solid wood floor can then be nailed down as described above.
Remember that whatever installation method you use a 10mm expansion gap is a necessity to prevent problems with your solid wood flooring after installation.
ATTENTION – INSTALLER/OWNER RESPONSIBILITY
Inspect all materials carefully before installation. Wood is a natural product containing variations in colour, tone and graining. Some variation in colour is to be expected in a natural wood floor.
JOB SITE CONDITIONS
It is the responsibility of the owner/installer to determine if the jobsite sub-floor and job site conditions are environmentally and structurally acceptable for wood floor installation. The installer/owner is responsible for wood failure resulting from or connected with sub-floor, subsurface, job site damage, deficiencies or using inadequate accessories after the hardwood flooring has been installed.
This page is designed to offer guidance about the different options when it comes to installing a solid wood floor. Always read the full manufactures recommended installation guides before installation which you will find in every 3rd pack of flooring.