Q: Should I sand down a cupped floor?
Discovering a Oak parquet floor - how to restore?

The ongoing battle of the floor installation methods: which is best?

Like "which is the best finish type for a wooden floor", this is a question that 'pops-up' frequently in our inbox:
Why does one professional (camp of professionals even) says:

"NEVER try to float a t/g glued solid plank floor. Whether you use slip membranes etc and gaps at edges there is a good chance it will eventually split in a zig-zag fashion following the line of least resistance of a board or a joint. Stresses within the floor do this and makes no difference that the whole thing can move. Apparently called "rafting"


and the other professional (again a whole camp of professionals) says: no problem.

Mr Ray Turner ends his questions with:

"I have 4 months to wait for concrete to dry so hopefully will they have this sorted out by then?"

Afraid not Ray - this is one of those 'battle of the methods' - which one is best? One camp will always follow one method - through own personal experiences with the method that gives them and their clients the least problems and/or the way they have been taught by their mentors during their apprenticeship - and the other camp will keep following their preferred other method of installing solid floorboards.

The best method? As long as the chosen method is done the correct way any method is fine, depending of course on the circumstances, the product and the preference of both fitter and client.

The example above on floorboards splitting when using the floating method is mostly down to incorrect glueing of the T&G's. Wood works and will indeed find the 'weakest' link in the whole construction. T&G's should be glued completely, not just with drips and drops. (See our own article on "The correct way of glueing T&G's").

We have seen fully bonded to the underfloor (concrete or sheet material) wooden floors come away because the adhesive was applied incorrectly - spread out flat instead of using a notched trowel - and we have seen whole floors 'rattle' on their battens when not thick enough battens (installed on concrete) were used with the secretly nail (50mm nails) method.

Will there ever be the one method that is followed by all camps - don't hold your breath I'm afraid. Manufacturers of solid floorboards have their own preferences too, but more and more they give various options in their instructions (fully bonded, floating, secret nailed) as suitable methods of installation, depending on the specific circumstances in your home.

Again, as long as your situation allows it any method is fine ONLY when done the correct way.

All modern installation methods are explained - including tricks of the trade - in the "Wooden Floor Installation Manual"

Wood You Like's Wooden Floor Installation Manual - everything you need to know about DIY wooden floors

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