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Q and A's on how to lay a wooden floor 2 - preparations

Q and A's on how to lay a wooden floor 1 - methods

Our most popular article: "How to lay a wooden floor, keep it simple" has a total of 3 pages of further Q and A's, in our opinion becoming too laborious for everyone to have to go through. We all know every home, every situation, every interior design style and/or wishes are different so no article on its own will ever answer all questions, but we can but try.

In this (and following) article we have grouped Q and A's from the original article per, we think, related subjects.

Q: Hi there,
I have got to lay flooring through out the entire ground floor of a house, is there a sequence to laying the solid flooring with four different lengths.
Thanks Terry

A: Hi Terry
Not specifically. It's even better to avoid a repeating sequence for the following reasons:
a) will look odd in the end (artificial)
b) might create a pattern every two three rows making the whole floor unstable (i.e. prone to more movement).

Q: hi there , just bought parquet flooring,and I'm laying it (brick affect), plus my room is an odd shape, just wondering is there a certain place to start.
thanks chris

A: Hi Chris

Depends in fact on how odd the shape of the room is (not straight walls, octangle?). Best is to try to imagine how the pattern would look near the walls if you would start in the exact middle of the room.

Best 'direction' would be where you enter the room to have a 'normal' focus point for the eyes.

Q: Hi, Silly question but I've been reading loads about how to install a wooden floor onto an existing wooden floor and I'm probably going to try the secret nailing method. (Here comes the silly question)...Do I have to nail all the floorboards? I only ask because I was wondering, how will the floor be able to expand and contract if it's nailed to the floor underneath?? Sorry if this sounds really daft but just want to clarify the situation.
Many thanks Chris J

A: Hi Chris
First of all, silly questions don't exist (only silly answers ;-))

Yes, you do have to nail all boards (every 40 - 50 cm but at least two nails per board) otherwise when the floor expands or shrinks the 'loose' boards can buckle or cup more easier.
Wood expands/shrinks due to changes in air-humidity during the various seasons, no matter what method you use for installation. The nails will hold them in place better to prevent gaps (when shrinking) or cupping (when expanding).
Hope this clarifies it for you

Q: I'm going to lay a real wood floor on concrete in hallway & joists in other 2 rooms any tips most appreciated as I've only laid laminate in the past. Andy

A: Hi Andy
Can I first redirect you to three other articles? If you still have further questions by all means ask them here again.

Installing floors onto joists
Type of underfloor is type of underlayment
One type of underfloor

Q: Hi,

really good information on your site...
We plan to put a solid wood floor (140mm wide oak planks) onto a concrete floor. House is 8 years old. Planning to do 3 adjoining rooms total of 42 m square. We've been given different advice - some fitters say glue straight to concrete, some say use underlay and glue planks together. Could you give us any advice on this, any help much appreciated.

A: Hi Hels
Both methods are suitable. Glueing the solid floor down depends on the condition and quality of the concrete underfloor (the 'weakest link')

We ourselves prefer the floating method (when the room isn't wider than 5 meters wide), installing a combi-underlayment and glueing (with PVAC wood-glue) all Tongues and Grooves.
Leave sufficient expansion gaps around the perimeter of the floor.
Hope this helps

Q: I will be installing a 3/4" X 21/2" walnut floor in 5 rooms and a hallway. My wife (ball and chain) wants me to lay the flooring without any t-moldings. Any tips for doing so? Steve

A: Hi Steve
All depends on how long your strip flooring is. If blocks up to 50cm long and presuming you will glue the floor down this can be done safely from one room into another without the use of thresholds. As 'feature', if you are installing a specific pattern like herringbone you could install the blocks straight - as 'soldiers' - in the doorway.

If longer and/or random length we definitely recommend treating every room separately and installing thresholds in the door ways, specially in the hallway where there is a different climate than in your other rooms.

Q: Hello,
We recently purchased a 1958 ranch home that has wood floors in the bedrooms. The previous owners had everything carpeted and didn't even know that the wood floors existed. We are going to install wood floors in the remainder of the house (entry, living room, dining room, sun room, kitchen & hallway.

My question is what way do we lay the hardwoods we are going to install? The wood in the bedrooms runs parallel when you walk through the door. My understanding is you lay floors perpendicular to the joists and in this case the floors are parallel with the joists.

Should we try to match the direction of the wood to the bedrooms in the rest of the house or should we follow the advice and have the wood go perpendicular to the joists when you walk in the front door.

Also, what direction is wood installed down a hallway? Should it go the length of the hallway or is it okay to have it going right to left?

We are just having such a hard time knowing if there is a standard process around this and we are getting mixed messages from a contractor. Thanks!! Tamiko

A: Dear Tamiko
It's always best to install the boards with 'the light' if possible. When existing floorboards you want to install over already go the same way as you want your new boards to go you'll have to install hardboard or plywood first to prevent movement - rocking etc.

As for hallways, go length ways, that's easiest on the eye when you enter your house, specially when you have a narrow hall.

Q: I am about to lay solid oak T&G floor onto oak joists in an old house (loft conversion). Each board is 13cm wide and 2.5cm thick, varying lengths.
There is no existing flooring (it seems to have been removed a long time ago and replaced with plasterboard... very safe!) but the top surface of the joists seems flat and level.
There is no ceiling below (i.e. exposed joists and board can be seem from below)

Should i float the T&G over the joists, or hidden nail into them, or even drill and screw through the top (plugging the sink with dowel and sanding flat)?

Should i contrive to have all the boards (i.e. including the odd short one) crossing a joist at some point in its length, or is it OK to have the odd short board suspended by only its T&G?

A: Hi Giles
If the joists are not further apart than 35 - 40 cm you can safely install the boards straight onto them, secretly nailing (in angle through the Tongue).

There is no need to have all boards end up a joist, as long as every board connects with at least 3 joists it's fine to haven them 'meet in the middle'
Hope this helps

Q: Hi, i am going to lay an engineered click oak floor in my lounge which is 6mtrs square.There are windows on the north and south walls and the door is on the east side. Which way do you recommend laying the boards,should it be from north to south to catch the light on the boards?
Thank you, Malcolm.

A: Hi Malcolm
You're spot on!
Always try to go 'with the light' especially when you have bevelled floorboards. This to prevent false shades when the sun in shining, plus the grain of the wood will show its best character this way.

Q: we are laying an oak floor in ur hallway, in one of your previous question you advised that you could use the floating method if the area was only small would this be suitable for a small hallway?

Q: We are about to fit an oak floor into our small hallway, do we have to glue the whole of the floor down to the concrete or can we use the floating method in this small space ?
Angus J

A: Welcome Tracey and Angus
Answering both questions at once: wooden floors with T&G's can be installed floating in small areas like hallways. Although you have to make sure you stagger the boards even if the length of the area is one or even shorter than a whole board otherwise the floor could be unstable.
Hope this helps

Q: When fitting boards in a hallway is it best to fit the boards across a samll hallway or along it, as we have a large number of doorways we are wondering how to get around these without it looking a complete mess
Angus J

A: Hi again Angus J.
Not knowing the exact situation I would opt for installing the boards in the longest way to avoid it looking strange so you 'walk' along the rows instead of creating a kind hop-scotch area.

Doors can be tackled more easily if you undercut the doorposts and architraves first to slide the boards under (something quicker done with normal T&G boards than with the 'click-system' types.
Hope this helps

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John R

I plan to install a solid oak floor (150mm x 19mm) over T&G chipboard panels, which are glued an screwed (house ten years old). I'll be gluing the boards using Bona R850. My question is, do I spread the glue over the entire area to be covered(one or two rows at a time) or, apply the glue in a band along the row that avoids the area of the tongue and groove? Photos I've seen on the net show both systems and I wonder which is best.

Karin H.

Hi John R

Use a notched trowel to spread out enough adhesive you can cover without having to step on the adhesive (normally two to three rows).
You don't want to end up with 'walking' the stuff all over the place. Plus you have to be aware of the adhesive drying out, some have a very short window - spreading out too much could render the last part useless.

Wood You Like Ltd


Can you float solid 18mm-oak T&G boards (110 width) on top of weyroc 18mm flooring. If so, how is it done. The longest length will be 10mtrs.

Karin H.

Hi Tom

Yes, on any level and sound chipboards you can install the width you have floating.

Use foam underlayment which doesn't contain a DPM and glue all T&G's correctly.

The length of the room is not really important, the width is in regards of the expansion gap you have to keep around the whole floor: 3 - 4 mm per meter width with a minimum of 10mm.

Hope this helps

Wood You Like Ltd

Bertie Greenidge

do i have to seal ply sub fllor before gluing down oak im using sika bond 55

Karin H.

Normally not, what type of pl did you use? WBP is preferred for flooring.

Hope this helps
Wood You Like Ltd

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