How to lay an engineered floor if I am not a Carpenter

A few points to look at before you start-

Firstly you need to consider how your flooring is going to be held down and what it will be laying onto. Is it going directly onto floor joists? If so, the floor joists should be no further apart than 400mm. It would be a good idea at this stage to think about taking up the opportunity of laying an insulation product such as Celotex between the joists. A simple timber baton can be nailed onto the sides of the joists and the Celotex laid on top with the top surface laying level with the top of the floor joist. The additional heat saving and comfort within your room will be noticeable if you use this very simple method.

Fitting over open joists

If fitting over open joists, it is recommended  that you look at a ‘Supreme’ engineered wood flooring range. This is a thick engineered wooden floorboard that has been around for many years and gained itself an exceptionally good reputation. The board is based on a top layer of European oak and, just as importantly, an underside of a hardwood multi laminate ply. The thick floorboards are self-supporting, meaning the boards can be laid directly over floor joists eliminating the need for any additional structural material such as chipboard to be installed. It is also very easy to lay and fix with the board being tongued and grooved all-round. This eliminates any cutting of the boards to joist length. You simply join the boards end to end until you get to the wall and then one simple cut to fit your last board in the row. The peace that is cut off can simply start the next row which helps to reduce waste. A spline of glue on the end joint is always good working practice.

Fitting over a solid subfloor such as concrete screed or chipboard.

With a structural solid subfloor such as a screeded floor or chipboard, your engineered wood flooring could be fitted using any of three methods; floating, gluing or nailing. When fitting onto a solid sub floor the new floorboards do not need to be self-supporting and structural.

When floating your hardwood flooring, it is recommended that  you look at a specialist product called Elastilon. Elastilon is a rubber mat type material that comes in metre wide roles. The top of the matt has a sticky side which is exposed when its protective plastic sheet is removed. This side simply sticks to the underside of the flooring. With the use of Elastilon a floating platform is formed. This method is certainly one of the most simple and effective methods of fitting a hardwood floor, simple, quick, clean and effective.

Despite floating floors becoming increasingly popular thanks to products such as Elastilon, adhesives are still commonly used to glue flooring down to a concrete or screeded floor.  Adhesives are troweled onto your screed with a serrated trowel and the flooring simply slotted into place. Although this may seem the simplest way of installing your floor, using an adhesive is time consuming and messy and there are an increasing number of people preferring to use products such as Elastilon.

If you flooring is to be laid onto joists or a timber sub-floor, such as chipboard or an existing wooden floor, a method of fitting known as secret nailing can be used. Secret nailing takes place through the tongue of the board and allows each board to be able to move freely against its adjoining board. A tool that can be purchased or hired from a tool hire company that makes life fast and easy for this procedure is named a Portanailer. This tool locates itself on the side of the board and is simply hit with a mallet. This then mechanically fires the nails that are loaded into the body of the Portanailer at a 45 degree angle through the tongue and into your sub floor. Using a Portanailer is a quick and effective method of securely fixing your boards into place which also, due to the way in which it is used, tends to pull the boards up tight to one another.

So can you fit your flooring yourself?

Over the years, there have been many DIYers who have successfully managed to fit their solid or engineered wood flooring themselves using recognised methods that they have been confident in carrying out. The tongue and groove of the boards simply slot together with ease and are far less prone to squeaking than other profiles available. Chat with a company that has a wealth of advice that they are willing to share.

avatar Name: JFJ Wood Flooring
About: JFJ Wood Flooring have been in the timber industry in Devon for over 150 years and have a wealth of knowledge and experience and are happy to advise over the phone with a friendly chat. JFJ are often asked by clients if it is possible to lay an engineered floor if they have few carpentry skills. Yes it is possible, but you do need to ask the right questions and get good advice before you start.
Contact: Tom Fanthorpe
Website: JFJ Wood Flooring
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