Loose-laid wooden flooring

An example of solid wood flooring with a top c...

Tongued-and-grooved interlocking panels of strip wood can be loose-laid. Some makes of loose-lay tiles are supplied with a cork or polythene backing sheet which is laid on the sub-floor before fixing the panels. This is important on a concrete sub-floor.

Lay the sheet, with the cork or polythene sheeting face downwards, allowing a 13mm expansion gap between each length and at the edges.

Start work at the corner of the room with the longest, uninterrupted run of wall. Make up a square section using nine or 12 strips, sawing off the tongued-and-grooved edges on the wall side.

Square the panel up to the long wall, ignoring the shorter wall. Any gaps along the short length can be covered later.

Using a hammer against a block of hardwood, to protect the edge of the panels, tap the rest of the strips into position. Each strip is positioned so that the wood grain is at right-angles to the last one laid.

A profile or template can be cut out of stiff paper, to give the outline of any projections. Transfer this outline to the wood strip and cut out the waste area with a fine-toothed panel saw. You can also use a proprietary template former.

Any strips that have to be cut should be fitted before the previously laid panel is tapped into final position. Cut pieces at the edges should be fitted as each row is laid. Apply PVA adhesive to the cut edge, before laying, to prevent blocks from pulling apart.

An edging tool may be necessary to tap the final pieces home at the skirting edge.

It is wise to remove doors before laying woodblock flooring, as the new floor level will be higher than the old and may not allow for easy opening. The bottom of the door may need planing to overcome this.

When laying floors in adjoining areas, treat each area as an entity. The block should finish halfway under the door when in the closed position.

If the floor levels between two rooms vary, a diminishing strip will need to be fitted. This is a length of wood that is tapered and grooved on one side to take the tongued edge of the last panel laid.

At the threshold of a door, the panels will need to be cut and fixed to the sub-floor, either with a PVA adhesive or 25mm panel pins, punched below the surface, and the holes filled with plastic wood.

The diminishing strip is then butted up to the threshold panels. It can be fixed with an adhesive or pre-drilled and screwed down with wood screws. Direct fixing is possible into a wood sub-floor.

A concrete floor should be plugged before the screws are fixed, but take care not to penetrate the damp-proof membrane. Small gaps round the edges will be covered by the skirting. A larger gap may be filled by covering with moulding.

Once the floor is laid, allow time for the wood to settle and then sand down using a rotary sanding machine. The flooring can then be wax-polished or sealed with a polyurethane varnish. On veneered blocks, a polyurethane sealant coat will protect the wood and give longer wear.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Loose-laid wooden flooring


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