Before you get started

Wooden floors can all be laid in many different ways. However, most commonly, real and solid wood floors use a system where sections of floor are slotted together using tongueand- groove. Despite differences between manufacturers (a few floors require adhesive and some require fixing clips), the principles of how floors are laid remain fundamentally similar.

No fixings or adhesives are used when laying most real and solid wood floors as they are laid 'floating'. By following this technique, weight alone will keep them in place.

How much flooring you need can be worked out by dividing the required floor area by the area of one pack of your chosen flooring. Measure in metres, rounding up to the nearest half metre:

LENGTH OF ROOM x WIDTH OF ROOM = NUMBER OF SQUARE METRES
SQUARE METRES ÷ PACK COVERAGE = HOW MUCH YOU NEED

(Add 10% for cutting waste)

The best finish is achieved by laying the floor with the skirting and architrave removed. This is refitted after the floor is down, so that cut edges are covered and a neat finish is achieved.

Use flooring trim if you do not wish to remove skirtings and architraves, or it is too difficult for you to do so. An excellent finish may still be achieved and this technique is shown in this guide.

How to lay real and solid wood floating floors

1

Plan your work to begin with the first row of boards running along the wall containing the door to the room.

2

Trim architrave so flooring will slide under. Use offcuts of underlay and flooring to trim the right depth.

3

Lay underlay in rows, butt joining the panels. Cover the whole floor area. Cut to fit to the edges with a knife.

4

Position the first board in the corner. The long tongued side of the board should be facing the wall.

5

Position some spacers around the edge, between the skirting and the board, to create a 12mm expansion gap.

6

Take another board and connect the short ends together. Normally this requires joining at a 45° angle.

7

Push down and towards the joint to lock the board in place. A tap with a knocking block may be needed.

8

At the doorway, allow the boards to span across the gap, but put a spacer either side of the entrance.

9

Keep adding lengths and spacers. At the end of the row, measure the distance required to infill with a cut board, allowing 12mm with spacers.

10

Boards may be cut with a hand saw. Alternatively, a jigsaw may be used, which is also the ideal tool for any more intricate cutting requirements.

11

Clip the final board in position. Position a pull bar with its lip over the end of the board. Tap at the other end to tighten the join.

12

Start the next row with the offcut of board from the last row. The join is first made using the same technique for the short ends of boards in the first row.

13

Once this first offcut board is in place, one or two taps using a hammer and knocking block will be required to tighten the join.

14

To connect the next length (this time a full length), engage the long edge first and tighten with the knocking block and a few taps of the hammer.

15

Use the knocking block to tighten the joint with the short edge of the previous board. Keep adding boards to complete the second row.

16

At the door, measure between the outer edge of each architrave, less 12mm each end for an expansion gap. Cut a board to this length.

17

Trim lengthways to a width that will allow the joint between the different floorings to be under the door.

18

Mark where to trim either end, allowing for the length to slide under the cut architrave. Make this cut with a jigsaw.

19

Carefully slide the first two rows of boards away from the doorway so that you can easily join the cut piece to the edge, in front of the doorway. Ensure that the trimmed ends are lined up to slide under either side of the cut architrave.

20

Push the two rows back in position, allowing the cut piece to slip neatly under the architrave, either side, where required. Continue with the third row of boards, and subsequent rows, to cover the floor area of the rest of the room.

21

For pipes, mark off pipe position on the end of the board, by measuring pipe width and distance to the wall.

22

Drill a hole with a bit large enough to allow a gap around the pipe. For a 15mm pipe, use a 32mm bit.

23

Carefully cut out the marked board between the hole and skirting. Use a hand saw, or a jigsaw. Keep piece.

24

Position the board in the normal way. Apply grab adhesive to the small cut piece and press in position to fill gap.

25

Fit a pipe surround around the base of the pipe. Use a small dab of grab adhesive to keep it in place.

26

In the final row, trim the boards to fill the gap width, allowing for 12mm expansion. Fit them using the pull bar.

27

To neaten the join of the two floorings in the doorway, trim the threshold bar to fit using a junior hacksaw.

28

Fit threshold with grab adhesive. Remove spacers around perimeter. Fit cork expansion strips if specified.

29

Measure the lengths required for the flooring trim. Use a mitre box to cut ends that will join at the corners.

30

Apply contact adhesive along the back edge of the trim (the skirting board edge) and press into place.