Solid wood floors offer quintessentially ageless quality, easy care for busy lifestyles and business needs, unrivalled strength and durability, and promote healthier indoor air quality. All this, while being available in a seemingly endless array of styles, grains, patterns and colours to suit your tastes.
Quicksand Flooring always delivers when it comes to quality hardwood floor fitting, with our fitters trained in each area of the job. However, if you’d like to try fitting your solid wood floor yourself, it can seem like a challenge whether you’re an experienced DIY enthusiast or relatively new to interior design. Before you begin, take a moment to read our guide to all the essentials you’ll need to fit a durable and aesthetically-pleasing solid wood floor in your property.
Before you begin prepping your new solid wood boards, you will need the following essential items in order to achieve a professional and high-end result.
- Hand Saw
- Measuring tape
- Wood-to-concrete Glue (For use on Concrete Sub-Floors)
- Flooring Nailer (For use on Timber Sub-floors)
- Knee Pads
- Moisture Metre
- Pull Bar
- Electric Chop Saw
- 2m Long Spirit Level
Problems caused by expansion and unevenness can be avoided through correct preparation and clearing of the fitting area, so it’s important to begin by removing all of the existing underlay and floor coverings to create a strong and even base layer for installation.
Because wood is an organic material, expansion is to be expected. Therefore it’s vital to mark a gap at the perimeter of your fitting area of roughly 10-12mm, ensuring it does not touch any object along the edges. Including the walls, door frames, radiator pipes, skirting boards, connecting floors and all else which might stop the wood floor from expanding naturally. Doors and cupboards should be able to open without obstruction once the floor is laid securely.
The humidity conditions of the installation room are also key to avoiding DIY disasters. Ambient humidity within the room should be a comfortable 45-65%, which can be tested using a hygrometer. Sub-floor moisture content should also be tested, especially timber (which should have a moisture content of no higher than 12%) and concrete (which should have a moisture content of no more than 12% or less than 3% if you are using a concrete moisture metre).
Check the sub-floor is level using a ruled spirit level, it should not be more than 3mm in height over the space of 1m. Repair uneven floors using plywood or a self-levelling compound available at most DIY outlets.
The combination of high-quality materials and our Quicksand craftsmanship means our in-house fitters are experts in all aspects of timber wood floor installation and can perform all sub-floor preparation for you, so you can rest assured our fitters always get the job right without the added hassle if you discover a manual fitting isn’t for you.
Your solid wood boards should be allowed to sit sealed and flat for several days (usually a minimum of seven) to acclimate to the climate of the room, this is to ensure the moisture content within the wood adjusts slowly to minimize the chance of visible movement or shrinkage once it has been secured with nails or glue.
The boards should be placed in a location with a free flow of air, so they can benefit from sufficient circulation. Everyday living conditions should be maintained, whether your home is usually kept warm or cool.
Inspect the boards to ascertain that they are the correct product, checking the finish, quality and grading. Experts usually carry out these checks for you before a professional installation, as it can be very difficult to change, remove or refund the work after completion.
There are two main types of sub-floor onto which solid wood can be installed, plywood and concrete. If your sub-floor is chipboard, it’s generally recommended that you build a floating floor or apply a layer of the laminate before laying the solid wood boards.
Place 10mm spacers against the wall, parallel to the direction of your installation, then lay the first row of flooring with the tongue facing away from the wall. Using an overlay flooring nailer (also known as a porta-nailer), fit the first row in place. Nails should be used at every 200mm, with a bare minimum of 2 nails on boards shorter than 400mm.
When you’re fitting the second row, ensure that the short end joints are at least 150mm apart from the first row’s joints. If you’re working with a fixed-length longboard wood flooring, smaller pre-cut boards may be included, enabling you to lay a new row with staggered joints.
Continue this method of nailing, ensuring that 10mm expansion gaps are maintained all around the perimeter.
Using a flexible wood-to-concrete adhesive (available at most DIY outlets), start in one corner of the room, spreading around two board widths of adhesive along the sub-floor and starting wall with a 3mm toothed trowel. Place the first row of boards onto the glue with the tongue facing away from the wall. Use 10mm spacers, to ensure that the correct expansion gap is maintained and help straighten out unevenness within the wall.
When fitting the second row, take care that the joints are roughly 150mm apart from the first row. If you are installing long plank boards, pre-cut smaller boards are often included so you can begin a new row with staggered joints. Continue using this method of spreading the glue and laying boards, ensuring that expansion gaps are maintained all around the perimeter.
Is a DIY solid wood floor fitting right for you?
Although great results can be achieved by fitting your solid wood floors, the virtues and timeless quality of an expert installation are unmatched. Here at Quicksand Flooring, our trained experts can carry out the whole fitting process in half of the time and at a professional standard.
By allowing our team to tailor their service to your home or commercial premises, you eradicate the risk of the potential mishaps and damage that is part and parcel of DIY ventures. You can rest in the knowledge that your new solid wood floor will be finished flawlessly and last for years to come. Get in touch with the Quicksand Flooring team today for your quote.