Soft Flooring and Scribing


However good the floor covering, the finished result will not be perfect unless the sub-floor is prepared properly. Soft-floor furnishings can be laid on timber, concrete, hardboard and chipboard.

Sub-floors should be dry and clean, free from grease, oil, dirt and dust. Sheet flooring should not be laid on a damp sub-floor. Some types of flooring have damp-resistant properties, but if these are used they should only be loose laid.

Flooring wear well and look best if they are stuck to the sub-floor.

On a concrete sub-floor, all holes and cracks should be filled. If the surface is uneven, a layer of self-levelling compound may first be floated across the floor and allowed to dry.

Timber sub-floors make a perfectly satisfactory surface for soft-flooring finishes but they must be firm and level. Wood expands and contracts, with the moisture content in the air, so these floors tend to move slightly.

Hardboard will provide a rigid, smooth floor. When using hardboard, ensure that the wooden sub-floor is as level as possible.

A floor that has been treated with any type of timber preservative should be covered with non-porous foil lining paper before the hardboard is laid.

Any projecting nails should be removed or knocked into the floor. Use serrated nails at 100mm intervals and stagger the joints when fixing hardboard.


The equipment needed to lay sheets flooring and tiles is basically the same, varying in one or two items. For laying sheet flooring you need a ruler, a pencil, a block of wood about 150mm long, for scribing, a handyman’s knife, a lino-cutting tool or scissors. A roll of self-adhesive tape 50mm wide may be needed.

Tile laying requires marking and cutting equipment, plus a piece of chalk, a length of string, an adhesive spreader and the adhesive.

Sheet flooring

Some time before laying sheet flooring, it is a good idea to bring the material into a warm room. This helps to make it more pliable and easier to handle.


It is usually necessary to scribe sheeting to fit closely to walls or skirtings, since these are often not true. Lay the first strip of flooring along the longest wall edge in the room; allow an overlap of 50mm at each end. With a pencil, draw a line on the skirting board and flooring 300mm from the end wall.

Pull the flooring back slowly until the distance between the mark on the skirting and that on the floor is 150mm long, the length of the block of wood.

Leave the flooring in that position, and, using the block of wood, run one end of it along the wall and mark, on the flooring, the line it takes.

Cut along this line with the handyman’s knife. This removes the overlap at the end wall and the flooring can be pushed back into the corner. The two pencil marks will line up again to provide a perfect fit.

When vinyl or linoleum is laid in doorways, it should be trimmed so that it reaches exactly half way under the door when shut, so that any join is not visible from either side.

Do not attempt to lay flooring widths of different sizes together. In some of the cheaper vinyls the pattern is not designed to match edge to edge. When loose laying these, allow an overlap of 13mm on the seam and 25mm on all outside edges. Leave the overlap for about two days to settle before cutting in exactly to fit the walls.

If laying a product that has an edge-matched pattern, stick the joins down firmly with a 75mm band of adhesive or on to self-adhesive tape. Do not stick down the outer edges of the flooring.

Patterned flooring looks better if the pattern matches, both across the width and along the length of the room. Lay the first strip along the length of the wall. Place the second length beside it, so that the pattern matches, allowing a small overlap on the end walls.

Mark a pencil line 300mm from the wall across both pieces of flooring. Pull back the second sheet of flooring from the wall until the two pencil marks are the length of the block of wood, 150mm, apart. Use the block of wood held against the end wall skirting to scribe a line on to the flooring. Cut along this line and slide the material up to the wall. This will ensure that the patterns match.

Fitting at the final wall is done by overlapping the last sheet a convenient number or ‘repeats’ and trimming off, on the wall side, the distance of the overlap.

To fit the flooring round awkward shapes, use a proprietary former or a template made of stiff paper or card. Cut out to fit, roughly, round the shape. Take a ruler and position it against the object to be fitted around. On the template draw a line round a ruler’s width away from the projection-that is on the outside of the ruler.

Lift the template from the floor and lay it on top of the flooring material. With the ruler, draw another corresponding outline on the flooring, a ruler’s width inside the outline drawn on the template. Cut the flooring along this line and fit the flooring into position round the object.

Self-adhesive tape, 50mm wide, can be used to stick down seams if the floor is loose laid. Joins tend to curl up and can be dangerous and unhygienic. Stick the tape halfway under one side of the join; line up the other seam, checking first any matching pattern. Position it over the other half of the tape, then lower it and press down firmly along the join.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Soft Flooring and Scribing


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: