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Floorboard Fitting Guide
Floor Sanding offers complete and expert wood floorboard fitting services to elevate and enhance the beauty of your space. Below we have created a short guide to explain the key elements of the process.
Before the floorboard fitting process can being, the site conditions must be optimal. The first step is to measure and regulate the air humidity levels and moisture content of the sub-floor. Ideally, the relative air humidity should be 45-65% and the moisture content of the sub-floor should not exceed 12%. A hygrometer can be used to test the humidity and moisture meter can test the moisture content. Once the site is set to optimal conditions, the wood floorboards must be left to acclimatise to the heat and moisture levels for no less than 7 days.
Installation: Sub-floor vs. Joist
Before installation can begin, the sub-floor must be solid and even. A bubble or laser level can be used to precisely measure the slope of any solid surface. If the sub-flooring exceeds a slope of 3mm, plywood or a self-levelling compound can be used to even it out. Any sub-flooring that has carpets must be removed and then the floor beneath can be prepared accordingly. In addition, any loose screws or staples must be tightened.
Now that the site is ready, we can begin fitting the floorboards! Notably, when fitting the wood floorboards, it is important to leave sufficient space to allow for expansion. A gap of 10-12mm around the perimeter of the room is recommended. For large areas, spacers placed in between rows may be required to create additional expansion space. Another point to keep in mind is that installation of the planks should take place row by row, ensuring the planks are aligned according to the shape of the room.
Several methods can be used to secure wood planks onto solid sub-flooring, these including the “click” method, tongue and groove, nails and glue.
1. “Click” Method
“Click” installation involves fixing wood floorboards to one another without directly attaching them to the subfloor to create a floating floor. Opposing planks are adjoined by connecting the corresponding locking profiles to create a seamless appearance.
2. Tongue and Groove
Wooden planks milled with tongues and grooves are also installed to create a floating floor. In this case, the floorboards are fixed together by adjoining the tongues and grooves of opposing boards and placing a downward pressure to lock them into place. Tongue-tite flooring screws may be used if the planks are fitted directly onto the sub-floor.
The nail method is slightly trickier than its counterparts. To ensure the nails are invisible, they are positioned beneath the surface on the subfloor at a 45° angle. The floorboards are then fastened by placing a downward and backward pressure onto the nail to force it into place. Alternatively, a floor overlay nailer can be used for flooring up to 12mm thick and leaves no trace of the nails. Notably, nailers a relatively expensive so it may be worth hiring one if it won’t be used in the long-term.
5. Adhesive Glue or Concrete
For installation over concrete, a concrete adhesive is required to provide a high strength bond. Products such as Laybond or Ultrabond are great options as they are formulated to create an easily trowelled paste. If you are working with a plywood sub-floor, a professional grade wood floor adhesive is ideal. To apply the adhesive, a 3mm toothed trowel is best.
Wood floorboards can be directly installed onto joists if they are at least 18mm thick and spaced no greater than 45cm apart. Moreover, the joists must be levelled, sturdy and moisture free. If the joists are in poor condition, the best solution is to add a plywood or strand wood subfloor. Adding a subfloor will provide long-term stability as the weight of the wood floorboards will be more evenly distributed. There will also be greater insulation and the impact of excess moisture and draughts will be less pronounced.
To secure the wood flooring, screws or nails can be used. For nail installation, a toothed or edged nail is inserted through the board and the joist at a 45° angle to ensures the nail is completed out of sight. Similarly, screw installation involves fixing screws at a 45° angle into the tongued edge of a plank. Tongue-tite screws are best for this type of installation. When securing the floorboards, they must be aligned perpendicular to the joists.