Different methods of timber flooring installation

Wood floors are making a strong comeback, and with good reason, too. The aesthetic aspect they bring into a home or office is something to strive for and, on top of that, it raises the value of the building they are installed in. Timber is also a very durable material, and even after it has shown signs of wear and tear, it can be restored. One other thing that contributes to the popularity of timber floors is the fact that it is environmentally friendly and easy to maintain.  Timber flooring never looks old fashioned. It always look great!

There are more than a few types of timber flooring options to choose from:

?      Parquetry

?      Bamboo floors

?      Solid Hardwood Timber Flooring

?      Engineered Hardwood Timber Flooring

?      Wood mosaic floors

?      Laminate


As far as the installation process goes, some of these may be tricky to set up, and it might be wise to contact someone who has experience with this kind of work. As far as installing hardwood floors is concerned, things are a bit simpler and it can be managed. Of course, you need to go step-by-step and if you are not sure whether you are doing something right, ask for some professional opinion or assistance. Even if you don’t plan on doing the work yourself, it would still be a good thing to know how it should be done properly, so as to avoid being tricked by substandard work.


mistake installation of timber flooring gold coast

Question: what kind of installation mistake is shown on the picture?


Preparation period


In order to install your wood floor properly, you need to make sure that your subfloor is perfectly leveled. This can be achieved through either sanding or filing. Another important thing you should focus on is making it perfectly smooth to ensure easy installation. Solid wood should spend at least three days within the room you are planning to install the floor in, so it can acclimate to the temperature and moisture level.

Conduct a visual inspection for signs of moisture possibly resulting from dishwasher leaks, bathroom/laundry overflow problems, pipe leaks, window seal leaks, ceilings leaks or rising damp. You should fix any problems with water access before installation of your flooring.

The subfloor must be dry and free of impurities including but not limited to oil, grease, dust, metal shavings, little stones shringle.

The subfloor is to be fully scraped with a wide blade scraper to remove all cement render spoil, gyprock setting residues and mortar excess at the base of walls.

The subfloor must be tested for flatness. Deformations to the surface greater than 3mm over 3m are to be filled with a self levelling compound following manufacturers’ recommendations. Deviations in the subfloor greater than 3mm over 3m should be ground smooth to conform to the aforementioned specification for flatness.

Timber substrates such as particleboard, plywood or existing timber floors should be sanded to create a clean flat surface. Plywood or particleboard should be a minimum of 5 ply or 12mm.

A concrete subfloor should be moisture tested in accordance with AS1884-1985 to ensure the concrete subfloor has a moisture content (MC) of less than 5.5%. If MC is greater than 5.5%, a moisture seal must be applied as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

If the installation is to be a direct stick job, the selected adhesive should be applied to various areas on the subfloor prior to commencing installation, to confirm that suitable adhesion can be achieved.

Timber flooring is not recommended for installation over heated subfloors.


Tools & Equipment


You will need to gather all the tools before you start. You will definitely need a saw, spacers, a mallet and some tapping blocks. Having a pry bar is a must, since you will need it to fit the floor boards correctly. Some kind of wood cutting tool is also a necessity as you will need to adjust the lengths of the boards. Naturally, you will need measuring tools. Make sure that you don’t drop your tools on the floor boards since they can scratch and damage it. Use a sheet of cardboard to protect your floor.


The installation process


Timber flooring is installed starting from the longest wall of the room. Make sure you take door jambs into consideration when taking measurements.

Please check all material prior to installation. Should there be concerns about the material please ring Zealsea Timber Flooring on (07) 5528 2777

It is also important to note that the most common cause of complaint with timber flooring installations is an uneven subfloor and damage or distortion due to the lack of adequate expansion gaps. Particular care must be taken in preparation and planning to address these issues prior to installation so that the timber flooring is allowed to perform as designed.


Expansion gaps


Expansion gaps and perimeter fixings should be planned before commencing the job. Expansion gaps are a requirement of timber flooring.

Due to the hygroscopic nature of timber the flooring will expand and contract with changes in moisture content. The allowance of expansion gaps at the perimeter walls and around obstructions will allow the floor to move as required. If sufficient expansion gaps are not allowed for, buckling and deformation of the flooring can result.

We recommend a minimum expansion gap at all perimeter walls and obstructions of 10-14mm. In areas of high humidity and for floors exceeding 8m in width it may be necessary to increase the size of the expansion gaps, and/or include expansion joints within the flooring in order to increase the total expansion allowance for the floor.

Expansion gaps can be readily increased by under cutting plasterboard walls or through the use of thicker skirtings or beading. The greater the expansion allowed while installing, the better.

Expansion joints are best placed at doorways or in line with internal walls. Expansion joints help to break large floors into smaller sections thereby maximising total expansion gaps.


Installation - direct stick method



Conduct the necessary preparation to the substrate as described earlier.

Under-cut door frames if applicable at this point.

Concrete keeps moisture for 25 years. If your concrete is relatively new, please apply a moisture barrier as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Care should be taken to confirm compatibility between the vapour barrier and selected adhesive.

Plan the location and type of any trims to be installed, as some trims are easier to install prior to installing the flooring.

Set out the first run of floor boards using chalk/ string lines and measuring tools. Alternatively,
lay the boards parallel to the longest wall in the room, leaving a minimum expansion gap of 10-14 mm along all walls. Place 10-14 mm blocks/wedges along one end to maintain the gap while boards are being placed. Be sure to remove wedges upon completion of the installation so that the floor is allowed to expand without restriction.

Using a polyurethane timber flooring adhesive, apply enough adhesive for the first run of flooring as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Care should be taken to ensure glue is applied correctly to prevent variation in sounds from tapping or walking on the floor, squeaking boards or separation of boards.
Check the transfer of adhesive to the boards by inspecting the underside of boards during installation. In order for direct stick systems to perform at their optimum levels it is a requirement that at least 85% transfer of adhesive to board is achieved during installation.

Start the first row of boards with the groove facing the starting wall, remembering to allow at least a 14mm expansion gap. Measure and cut the last board of the first row, remembering to allow at least a 14mm expansion gap. Use the pull tool to tightly fit the last board of the row. It is important to work from five opened boxes so that the full range of colours and features can be mixed within the floor.

Weight or fix first run in place. It is best to allow this first run to set before working against it to minimise any shifting during installation.

Start new rows with a board at least 450mm shorter or longer than the strip used in the previous row. This will prevent end joints from clustering throughout the floor.

Measure and cut the last board to fit, allowing for at least a 10-14 mm expansion joint along its whole length. A pull tool will be needed to fit the last board closest to the wall.

Once laid the boards should be in constant,
firm contact with the adhesive until cured. The application of appropriate weights, such as unopened boxes of flooring, will assist this process.

Excess adhesive should be removed quickly using the appropriate adhesive cleaner – this may vary depending on the adhesive used. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: For further details regarding the direct stick method refer to adhesive manufacturer’s instructions.


The finishing touches


The expansion gap left between the wall and timber floorboards will need to be covered. This can be covered with an appropriate skirting, which should be nailed to the wall and not fixed to the floor. If timber floor is installed with existing skirtings in place, use a fillet mould or scotia to cover the gap, fixed to the skirting and not the floor.

Upon completion care should be taken to protect the timber flooring from damage during the final stages of construction. Installation of the timber flooring should be completed at the final stage of the project so as to minimise any damage. However, the use of protective sheeting such as MDF (medium density fibreboard) to cover high traffic areas is appropriate where required. Care should be taken when installing the protective sheeting that no loose grit or obstructions get trapped underneath, as these will damage the coating when stepped upon.

Note: DO NOT cover the flooring with plastic sheeting of any kind, as this can cause the floor to sweat, leading to expansion of the flooring and possible damage to the coating.


Blackbutt timber flooring Gold Coast, Brisbane


The advantages and disadvantages of timber floors


First of all, they look great. I mean, when you enter a home that has wooden floors it, kind of, feels warm, natural and inviting. Timber flooring is also very durable, and there are homes in Europe that are more than 100 years old and still have their original wooden floors. This is possible because wooden floors can be re-sanded and re-polished to bring out their original beauty. They are also easy to maintain and are hypoallergenic, which means that they do not retain bacteria and allergens.

The primary disadvantage is the price, but if you consider what you are getting, it is more than worth it. Also, wood has a tendency to warp and swell if exposed to extreme change of temperature and humidity, but I need to stress that this only happens in extreme situations and in cases where the flooring is badly installed. It is also worth noting that underfloor heating is not recommended in situations with wooden floors. There are some that can take this change in heat, but not all of them so, make sure you follow your manufacturer’s instructions.


I hope I managed to help you out a bit. I need to remind you again that if you have no experience with housework or you are not sure you can manage this task, don’t be shy to ask for professional advice or help. After all, you don’t want your investment to go down the drain.


Zealsea Timber Flooring Gold Coast