Engineered wood flooring is a great choice for many homeowners: it’s sturdy, durable, beautiful to look at and a pleasure underfoot. But do you know how to install it correctly? If you don’t want to shell out for a professional fitter to lay your wood flooring, here’s how to make sure you fit it correctly.
What is Engineered Wood Flooring?
This wood is created by layering wood and then finishing it off with a real wood veneer. The layering gives the wood greater flexibility and stability in a range of atmospheres. You can refer to this Houzz article to find out more.
There are lots of different brands of this flooring. If you want to get a good idea of the brands, colour range and relative prices the Ken’s Yard engineered wood flooring page is a useful reference.
What You Will Need
Firstly, do invest in the right equipment. Most engineered wood flooring boards are designed with tongue-and-groove joints, which means you won’t need adhesives or screws to join the boards together. However, you will need a block and hammer to gently tap the planks of wood into place, and a drill to cut out holes for pipes in the room. You’ll also feel better if you use knee pads (this DIY project involves lots of kneeling), and a pair of safety goggles to protect your eyes.
Some Good News
Secondly, do feel free to lay this type of flooring without stripping back the surface beneath. Engineered wood flooring can be laid over almost anything, such as concrete or particleboard, as well as over existing surfaces such as linoleum, stone or tiles without removing the old surface first. However, it’s recommend that you apply a layer of underlay between the old floor and your new engineered wood flooring to ensure you achieve an even surface.
Also, do use engineered wood flooring on top of underfloor heating systems. Unlike solid wood or laminate flooring, the layers that engineered wood flooring planks consist of cope well with variations in heat and moisture. Therefore, you can use engineered wood flooring in bathrooms and kitchens, and anywhere else you happen to have underfloor heating… even wet underfloor heating systems!
Acclimatise The Planks
Don’t make the mistake of not getting your new flooring acclimatised to the environment you’re going to lay it in. Leave your wood flooring unopened, sealed and in its packaging – in the room you’re planning on laying it in – for at least 48 hours before fitting it. It’s important not to store the wood in a basement or garage as these rooms are often excessively cold and damp. This will ensure you’re not fitting boards that are going to swell or shrink after you’ve laid them.
Gently Does It
Furthermore, when you’re laying the boards, do be gentle. It can be tempting to hammer the boards together with too much force, but doing so could crush the tongue. Therefore, tap firmly but carefully to fit the planks together and use a craft knife to carve a tongue on a plank if you damage one by accident.
Finally, don’t fit the boards all the way up to the edges of the room. Instead, include extension gaps of approximately 10mm all the way around the room wherever the floor meets walls, door frames, skirting boards and pipes, as this will account for natural shrinking and expansion of the wood over time.