How to Lay Wood Flooring

One of the best ways to get your house looking and feeling classy is to lay solid wood flooring. While the initial investment can be quite expensive, it is excellent value for money - after all, it lasts much longer than laminates, vinyl and carpets. What's more, wood flooring can also be sanded and re-varnished over time, giving it a new lease of life whenever you want to refresh the look of your home. Here's a guide to completing your very own wood floor, giving you the opportunity to take further pride in a job well done.

What you will need

1) Get measuring

The first thing to do is measure the room in question to find out how much flooring you need, adding a 20 per cent margin for errors that may happen along the way. Be sure to take this into account when buying packs of wooden boards, too, as replacements are often required - even a few years into the future. Leave this wood in the room for at least 72 hours as this will allow it to adjust to the room's temperature.

 2) Focus on the sub-floor

The most essential thing to establish in the early stages of a solid wood flooring project is the sub-floor. Without this, boards warp and lift, resulting in a botched job and the need to spend more time and money.

Depending on the style of boards you invest in and their subsequent recommendations, solid wood boards can be laid onto concrete using a contact adhesive to stick the flooring directly to it, though you must first apply a liquid damp proof membrane. If you want to use secret nailing on a concrete floor, a battened sub-floor must be laid first. Speak to experts about the best option for you, should you be unsure about what you need to do.

3) The early stages of laying

Starting in the corner of the room furthest from the door, work with wooden boards running along the longest wall of the area. With grooves facing the wall, lay the first row of boards. Be sure to put spacers there too, as this allows wood to expand.

Do not be afraid to cut some shapes into the first row so they accurately reflect the slight turns of the walls; this means that even if the walls are not straight, the boards themselves are. After this is completed, secret nail the first row to the sub floor at 20 to 25cm intervals.

4) Continue to completion!

Start on the second row by cutting a short board of around 20 to 25cm, staggering the joints and avoiding weak points in the floor; it also looks much nicer. Also be sure to mix up different boxes of planks to vary grain and tone of the boards. Use a hammer and wood block (or a rubber mallet) and tap the boards into place. If it requires glue, run a fine line of adhesive along the top edge of the board before wiping away excess.
Following the installation of the fourth or fifth row, it is time to start using a power nailer to drive nails through the sub-floor. Continue across the room and when you finally reach the other side, again consider cutting boards to the wall's contours, inserting spacers once again.

The satisfaction you'll get from laying your own floor is unparalleled in the world of DIY, while the money you'll save will be remarkable. Don't be afraid to give it a try!