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How Do I Fit Engineered Oak Flooring?

Mar 22, 2008
Engineered Oak flooring is constructed from layers of fibreboard or plywood that make up the underside or core of the flooring and a layer of genuine solid oak which is the upper surface of the flooring. The core and the top layer are all constructed in a manner in which the layers are cross laid upon one another; this method of construction ensures that the flooring will not change shape by shortening, lengthening, warp or cup due to moisture, humidity changes or exposure to radiant heat. This feature of engineered oak flooring allows it to be installed in areas that traditional hard wood flooring cannot such as basements, kitchens and bathrooms; it also means it can be safely laid over under floor heating systems.

It is usually laid as a floating floor and as this is the preferred method for most DIY installers it is the method that will be described in this article.

* Before you commence the fitting of your floor ensure that you have all of the necessary tools that you will require these are: an engineered flooring installation kit, jigsaw complete with a 2.5mm wood blades, a handsaw, workbench, mitre, measuring tape, pencil and a mallet.

* Before you lay the boards ensure that they have acclimatised to the temperature of the room by leaving them in the room for 24 hours before you commence to fit.

* Check that the sub floor surface is clean, firm, damp proof and level. Make sure any nail heads are flush or under the surface of the sub floor. If the subfloor is concrete you can nail or glue hardwood panels to it. Dampen the panels slightly by brushing them with water 24 hours before installation to ensure they lay flat.

* Place underlay over the entire subfloor surface to insulate against moisture, heat and noise.

* Commence laying the engineered oak flooring boards along the longest straight wall in the room. If the walls are not parallel, start along the wall that you see first when you come into the room. Use wedges to maintain a 10mm gap between the boards and the skirting board or wall.

* Ensure that the joints are offset in the rows of boards, use a full board to start then a 2/3 board in the second row and a 1/3 board in the third. Continue repeating this pattern across the room.

* Cut the ends of the boards at the walls allowing a 10mm gap

* To fit the boards around corners or odd shapes draw a cardboard template, trace the outline of the template on a board and use a jigsaw to cut out the shape.

* To fit the engineered flooring under a doorframe use the handsaw to cut a thin slice off of the bottom of the doorframe allowing the boards to slide under it.

* Once you have fitted all the boards cover the gaps at the walls with a matching moulding. Ensure you fix the moulding to the skirting board or wall not the flooring so that the floor can be easily dismantled if a board ever needs to be replaced due to damage. (If you remove the skirting boards prior to fitting the floor you will not have to use the moulding, simply replace the skirting boards to cover the gap.)

Your new engineered oak floor is a major investment in your home and you will live with it for years, so you want to ensure it is fitted properly both for functionality and to ensure its longevity.
About the Author
Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who represents a number of UK businesses. For wood flooring, he recommends Completely Flooring, one of the UK's leading suppliers of Engineered Oak Flooring.
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