Laying engineered flooring

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help a DIY enthusiast install an engineered wood floor over a concrete base. 

First, you need to do a moisture vapour transmission rate test. This test will determine the moisture levels of the slab. Concrete is porous in nature and the water vapour from the ground below may get trapped under the wood flooring and cause mould to grow.  

If the results from the test show a significant amount of moisture, a concrete sealer should be installed to block the pores and reduce water absorption. 

Then, you need to place the engineered wood flooring in the room where it will be installed - ideally for around 3 or 4 days - so it can get used to the room temperature and humidity.  

Next, ensure that the concrete slab is thoroughly cleaned and dried before the installation. 

After cleaning, you can begin fitting the engineered flooring, which can be done in two ways: 

  • Glue-down installation – This installation method uses a bonding agent (adhesive) over the subfloor (concrete in this instance) before fitting the wood flooring. The adhesives we sell include Sika T54 Adhesive, the Sika AcouBond system and our own Tradeline range. 
  • Floating installation – This installation method relies on the weight of the wooden flooring to keep it in place.

Before commencing the installation, make sure to fully read the manufacturer's guidelines and use their recommended installation method. It is important to note that if engineered wood floor is not properly installed, it will not be covered by the manufacturer's warranty.  

Both solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring can be laid onto a concrete subfloor. The installation process is slightly different for each, but by following the correct steps it can be done without any problems. Solid wood flooring is made from one single piece of wood, and can be highly sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity as this can cause the wood to expand and contract.

how to lay solid wood flooring over a concrete subfloor

Both solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring can be laid onto a concrete subfloor. The installation process is slightly different for each, but by following the correct steps it can be done without any problems. Solid wood flooring is made from one single piece of wood, and can be highly sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity as this can cause the wood to expand and contract.

The first consideration you will need to make is how you are going to attach your planks to the floor.

  • Floating - A floating floor doesn’t require any glue or nails, although you may use glue between the tongue and the groove to keep the planks together. A floating floor is usually laid over a sub-floor or over an existing floor after laying the right underlay.
  • Glued – Gluing your floor is often the most popular installation method as it is usually the most simple. To glue a wooden floor, a full coverage of flexible wood adhesive must be applied to the sub-floor and the boards. A glued floor feels as solid as a nailed floor underfoot, and can handle the contractions of the wood thanks to the flexibility of the glue.
  • Nailed – Until the invention of strong adhesives, nailing was the common way to secure solid wood flooring. Using nails means installing them carefully so they are hidden from view when the floor is finished by putting them through the tongue of the planks. Those nails are then covered when you insert the next plank as the groove locks with the tongue.

Now you must ensure that the subfloor you are laying onto is prepared properly for installation. This most importantly means the moisture content of the wood, which should be no more than around 7-8%. You must also check that the floor is clean and clear from debris and is completely flat otherwise you may have issues with the floor after installation. If you find that the moisture content of your concrete sub floor is too high then you might want to invest in a damp proof membrane. This will help keep the floor stable and prevent any warping or shrinking of the wood every time there is a change in temperature. For any type of solid wood flooring installation the preparation is equally as important as laying the planks themselves, and can make a difference to the durability and life of your floor. Whichever installation method you are using, make sure you tape each plank together with masking tape after you have laid them so they do not set out of place and avoiding any unwanted gaps.

Installing thresholds for wood flooring

Every room you walk in that has wood flooring installed is likely to have oak door thresholds installed at each doorway. They are easily unnoticed, but without them your wood flooring will have unsightly gaps each time a new area of flooring meets, which can also be very uncomfortable to walk on. Here is our guide for installing thresholds for wood flooring: 

  1. Remove any damaged or old thresholds from the hardwood floor with a small pry bar or flat head screwdriver. Loosen the old threshold carefully to ensure you don’t scratch the wood. Vacuum away dirt and dust from where the old threshold used to be so the area is clean.
  2. Measure the width of the doorway with a measuring tape, then mark the measurement on your threshold. If you need to bridge from one material to another, such as from wood to vinyl or carpet, buy a threshold with a recessed section on the bottom.
  3. Clamp the threshold down and then cut it to the length you have just marked using a circular saw. Then use 60-grit sandpaper to make the edges smooth.
  4. Place your threshold in the doorway, keeping the holes on top of your wood flooring. If you are installing the threshold over carpet on one side, tuck the carpet beneath the threshold so it can’t slide about after installation.
  5. Test your installation by opening and closing the door. Make any adjustments by filing down one side until you have created a perfect fit.
  6. Drill pilot holes that are slightly smaller than the mounting screws into the threshold, and then put the threshold back in its intended spot and use a hammer to nail finishing nails through the holes into the subfloor.

If the subfloor is concrete, you may need to glue the threshold down. To do this apply a strong adhesive to the edge of the wood flooring, and then place the threshold over the gap between the two sections of floor and push down on the piece to glue down. Place heavy weights on the threshold while the glue dries, which is typically two to four hours.

Door thresholds 

An internal door threshold is simply a connecting piece of material that evens out the transition from one flooring to another. An internal door threshold is also installed in doorways to make transitions from room to room more wheelchair-friendly, for this however, the bevelled door threshold becomes more viable. 

There are plenty of choices for door thresholds aside from the most commonly used oak door threshold which has been said to go well with most materials used for door jambs. But for a more extensive collection of door thresholds, Source Wood Floors UK is an excellent source for all home essentials from wooden flooring to door thresholds, installing tools, and flooring accessories. Along with our broad collection of products comes an even broader variety of oak flooring and oak door thresholds with finishes that will suit even the most discriminating tastes.

How to install door thresholds for different levels of flooring

  • 1.    Measure. The first thing you have to do is measure. Measure the distance from the bottom of your door to the floor. This measurement will be the maximum height of your threshold; otherwise, you will not be able to close your door.
  • 2.    Find a material to work with. The internal door threshold is placed inside the door jamb but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the door threshold has to be the same exact material as your door jamb. In fact, in most cases, it would look best if you find a material that complements the flooring more than it matches the door jamb. For an easier take on finding the best flooring and door threshold to suit your taste, find both in complementing shades. Choose from the extensive collection of rich oak and timeless wooden material in a posh finish at Source Wood Floors UK.
  • 3.    Fit. Once you’ve found the material for your internal door threshold, fit the threshold inside the door jamb. Make the necessary adjustment like cut either side of the door threshold until it fits snugly inside the door jamb.
  • Once you’ve done that, fit the threshold between the flooring. Chances are, the higher leveled flooring will be at approximately the same level as the door threshold. If it isn’t, use a pencil to line mark the top of the flooring on the door threshold.
  • 4.    Adjust. You can do this yourself or, for safety purposes, you can take the threshold to your nearest woodworker or hardware store and have them make the necessary adjustments for you. Be sure that your mark on the threshold is followed.
  • 5.    Double check the dimensions. Once you’ve fitted it between the floors, the door threshold has to be flush on the same level of the higher floor, if you’re using a beveled door threshold, it should look like a miniature ramp. Once the fit works, sand the adjusted parts and polish or paint it as pleased.

It actually sounds more complicated than it really is! Especially when you’ve got Source Wood Floors UK to give you everything you’ll need to install a new door threshold. Check out what’s in store for you here at our online store.

five steps for fixing cupped flooring

The moisture content of hardwood flooring is influenced by the humidity and temperature of the surrounding air. Wood will lose or gain moisture until it is in balance with its environment. Higher humidity often causes the expansion of wood, because the wood absorbs the increased water moisture from the air. Lower humidity usually causes wood to shrink as it releases the excessive moisture back into the air. These changes can happen through seasonal changes which occur naturally, but also through a water leak from, for example, a faulty dishwasher or washing machine. Fortunately you do not need to replace your flooring if you have a cupping problem, as following the correct steps can fix the issue and prevent it happening again.

  1. Obtain a moisture level metre so you can measure the moisture content so you can determine the scale of the problem. Use fans and heaters to dry out the wood and measure regularly. A difference of 1% or more between the top and bottom of the planks indicates they require further drying.
  2. Carefully remove the skirting boards so you can reinstall them after you have fixed the floor. Cover all the doorways and windows to stop any dust from spreading into other rooms of the house, and vacuum the floor so you have a clean area to work in.
  3. Obtain a sanding machine which can be rented out from a DIY tool provider. Attach 36-grit sandpaper and then use the machine with the grain of the wood to remove the top layer of finish and sand down the edges along each plank affected by the cupping. Choose a sander with a built in vacuum to stop dust building up.
  4. Attach 50-grit sandpaper to the sander and go over the entire surface of the floor again. This should remove any scratches as well as the remainder of the high areas caused by the cupping. If possible, use a hand sander with the same sandpaper to go around the edges where the sanding machine cannot reach. Then apply 80-grit to your sanders and repeat this step.
  5. Now cover the entire floor with urethane and let it dry out overnight. When applying move from one side to the other so you can ensure an even amount is applied. Now sand the floor again, but this time with a pole sander and 120-grit sandpaper, before applying another coat of urethane. Repeat this process using finer sandpaper each time. Reattach the skirting boards and apply a suitable varnish to protect the wood.

how to create expansion gaps

Expansion gaps can be made in doorways, walls and even heating pipes. Generally, you must create a 15 mm extension gap in places where some objects are fixed. For larger rooms, you must create allowance on extension gaps. There are different methods of installation but whatever it is that you choose, always make sure to create strong expansion gaps. Concisely, creating expansion gaps may cost you extra time and effort but creating them will help you prevent future problems. Without expansion gaps, expect unstable and unsafe flooring in the future. 

how to make expansion gaps uniform

Installation of engineered wood flooring is much easier if you will create expansion gaps. However, expansion gaps need to be uniform for a more successful installation. To do this, you have to make good use of spacers. Spacers are essential in installing engineered wood flooring; thus it is important that you always have spacers at hand. Spacers are one of the most common flooring materials that are often come as you buy the wooden flooring.

Because it is difficult to get the exact size of the expansion gap, using spacers will help you make the gaps identical. However, you have to use spacers that are correctly sized next to the wall. Nevertheless, don’t worry about expansion gaps making the wall look ugly since they will be hidden once the flooring is fitted. 

If you are not satisfied with the result and is still concerned about the expansion gaps, you can fully hide them using curved mouldings or skirting board. Get more great advice from our in-house designers. Call us today here at Source Wood Floors UK!

why do i need scotia trim for my wooden flooring?

Wooden flooring naturally absorbs and releases moisture because of seasonal changes in air temperature. This process causes the wood to expand and contract in size, with it getting bigger during the winter when there is a higher humidity because of heating, but then when the air becomes much drier in the summer the floor will reduce in size again. Having the gap at the edges helps prevent this problem, and so to cover it Scotia trim is used leaving no evidence of its purpose. To ensure you lay it properly you will need your chosen Scotia, nail fixings and importantly a miter saw, which allows you to cut angles accurately for each corner. 

  1. First measure around outside of your wooden flooring to determine the total length of Scotia trim you need, then add around 20% extra for wastage. Find a colour of trim which matches both your flooring and skirting. Also make sure you purchase the right amount and size of nails for fixing the Scotia in place.
  2. Cut the Scotia sections to fit along each straight section of skirting board. To achieve a neat finish, cut each piece of trim to 45 degrees using the mitre saw. When cut and fitted in position, the Scotia should be nailed to the skirting by spacing one nail every 30cm. Be careful not nail the Scotia moulding to the floor as this could create further expansion problems.
  3. Some gaps may appear when your Scotia moulding is fixed in position. This can be because of uneven walls or sections of skirting. To hide this use flexible wood filler like Bona gapmaster which can be used to seal any gaps which are still visible and any holes which are left from the nails.

Refinishing door thresholds

Wooden materials, like doors, doors thresholds, window sills, panels, and more are actually just some of the things that add subtle elegance and beauty to any home. Wood can help walls, ceilings and floor colours pop, or harmonies them depending on the wood, and technique used to stain them.

However, when it comes to wood, you have to remember that it requires maintenance, and constant care. Wood may be layered with protective coating, but that doesn’t mean it is completely impenetrable by the effects of the sun’s rays, rain, spills, and other factors that may affect wood colour. So as much as possible, to maintain the colour of the wood, wipe any kind of moisture off of it as soon as it lands on the surface.

Nevertheless, there are times when wiping moisture off is not enough. As time goes by, you may notice that some parts of the colours of the wood have either started to darken or lighten due to humidity, age, and the weather. Slowly, your wood doors and finishing will become unappealing, boring, and seemingly unkempt, even if you’ve been constantly taking care of them. In these instances, your only real option is to refinish the wood itself.

If you don’t have any idea on how to refinish your Solid Oak door thresholds or any wood, here’s a 3-step procedure that lets you do yourself and avoid unnecessary added maintenance expense:

1. Remove old finish.

One wrong move of people who refinish their own wood is that they don’t try to remove the old finish completely, or at least to the point when the colour becomes even. This is very important as you cannot readjust your staining once you’ve started staining your wood. So remove old finish by using sandpaper. Be sure to make the wood of equal shade on all areas so use your tools to remove old finish from small hard to reach places, like a chisel.

2. Brush a new wood finish.

This is quite simple, you can use inexpensive paintbrushes to do this. The only important thing to do is just apply the finish evenly on all areas of the wood. Just take note that you should choose a finish that’s perfect for the wood you’re using. So if you are unsure which colour of oak would be better, stick to the first wood finish colour applied to it when you first had it. Once you apply the finish, be sure that it is spread evenly, if not, let the wood soak in the finish for 5 to 15 minutes before wiping any excess finish off. Once, you’re done, let the stain dry for at least 8 hours.

3. Finish it off with a layer of protective coating.

Refinished oak can still be ruined immediately if not given an added protective coating. So use good protective coating like polyurethane, varnish, lacquer and other similar products for added wood protection. You can apply this with regular paint brushes or rollers to be even or you can also use aerosol versions if you are not fond of brushing.

Oak door thresholds or other wood material maintenance is important. Not only does it beautify your home, it maintains the wear and tear of it, too. So be sure to refinish your oak thresholds when needed by using these tips.

floating vs glued down engineered wood flooring

Glued down means using a bonding agent, adhesive or glue which is put directly onto the subfloor before laying any of your engineered wood flooring. As an installation method, glued down is most suited for either concrete or wood subfloors. However if you’re installing over a concrete subfloor, you must ensure there’s no damp because otherwise it will slowly damage the floor once it’s laid. One great benefits of gluing engineered wood flooring to the subfloor is that the end result is very stable. However if you’re not a professional it can be a messy process and you must also plan your timing wisely, ensuring you have allowed enough time for the glue to dry before walking on the floor. Floating is where the planks aren’t fixed to the subfloor, but instead uses the weight of the floor itself to keep them in place.

This method works well for engineered wood flooring and can give the wood slight flexibility under-foot. It is also very popular because it is one of the quickest and easiest installation methods; however they are not suitable for kitchens and bathrooms which have heavy objects in them such as appliances as they can damage the flooring. One of the other advantages of floating engineered wood flooring is that if it expands and contracts, it’s less likely to become damaged because it’s not rubbing against nails or glue. It’s also a popular option because it can be installed onto any type of subfloor, which makes it the obvious option for people who want to keep the installation simple. If you are trying to decide between the two, then for engineered wood flooring floating is usually the best option as you can install it quickly and don’t have to worry about which glue to use and how long to wait for it to dry. If you are installing hardwood flooring then using glue may give you a more stable result.

a huge range of solid and engineered wood flooring at source wood

At Source Wood we find and supply a complete selection of solid and engineered wood flooring, with options perfect for any kind of room. We also sell everything you need for installing wood flooring including glues, adhesives and varnishes. We have the best prices you will find online, plus we provide next day delivery on everything we sell. If you would like advice about any of our wood flooring options please contact one of our friendly team who will be happy to explain everything to you. Email or call 01379 642 843.

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