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How To Lay Timber Floorboards

Timber floorboards will not only transform the look of your home, but they're also economical and easy to maintain. With some basic carpentry skills and proper preparation, you can even lay them yourself. There are three stages to laying a wooden floor: Preparing the room, laying the underlay, laying the flooring.

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Preparation

Having a clean, flat and dry surface to lay your floorboards on is very important. If you’re laying your floor onto concrete, use an underlay to stop moisture coming through and damaging your wooden boards.

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Underlay

Once you've chosen your underlay, roll it out in the same direction you're going to lay the floorboards. Typically, most floorboards run the length of the room but if you have floor joists, running them perpendicular will make the floor stiffer and the joints less likely to separate. Roll out the underlay with the adhesive side up, so that each length overlaps and sticks to the layer next to it. Pull the clear plastic on the underlay five centimetres up the skirting board and hold it in place with duct tape. This is important so that the all of the floor is covered and moisture can’t reach the floorboards.

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Flooring

Start laying the floorboards in the left hand corner of the room. Place spacers between the wall and the boards at regular intervals, which allows the floor to expand without buckling or warping. To lay the other boards, put them on an angle of 30 degrees and push them firmly into the end of the other board. Stagger the floorboards so that they’re not the same length across the room. This will strengthen your floor overall and look more appealing. To do this, start each row with the last piece left over from your first row. Regularly stop and check the floorboards after you've laid them. Continue this process of laying and checking until you have finished your wooden floor. Hide the gap around your walls, using timber trim stained in the same colour as your flooring.

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Handy Tips

When your floorboards arrive, unwrap and put them on battens in the room where they will be fitted. This helps them to reach the same moisture level as the room. Wear kneepads when laying your floor. Use a string line to ensure your floorboards are laid straight. Wear a breathing mask and safety glasses when cutting floorboards. Cut them outside the room you’re working in, so that wood particles don’t get stuck between the boards you’re laying. When cutting your boards, saw along the upper surface of the panel to prevent splintering the edges. When using a jigsaw or hand held circular saw, make sure that the patterned side of the floorboards are facing down. Don't hammer the boards directly. Use a piece of scrap wood and hammer to knock together any loose joints.

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