To keep the wood in excellent condition it is imperative that the humidity level be controlled at all times, from delivery to laying the floor and during the years that follow installation.
The optimal humidity range for hardwood flooring is 45 – 60%; temperature should be maintained at about 18◦C.
Flooring should never be stored outdoors, on a cement floor, in a garage or in any damp conditions. Care should be taken to store the wood flat; packs should never be lent against a wall. Pre-finished boards should be left in the packaging in the room where it is to be laid until you are ready to lay the floor P(at least overnight). Unfinished flooring packs should be open and the boards spread around the room in which they are to be laid for at least 5 days.
In a new construction all windows and doors etc should be installed and all wet trades should be completed. Where a new concrete slab has been laid, the moisture content must not exceed 5 and the humidity level of the building must not exceed 60%.
Due to the variety of installations we can only generalise. We would always recommend that the floor layer satisfy themselves of the suitability of the conditions before laying the floor.
Do not lay the flooring in areas that are wet or humid eg. Bathrooms, shower rooms etc
It should also be remembered that the floor layer is the last person to inspect the flooring. Care should be taken to ensure that a balanced look is maintained when laying out the floor; any pieces that are suspect should not be laid. The manufacturer cannot be held responsible for defects due to incorrect installation or boards with defects that have been installed. A waste factor of between 5 – 10% should be taken into account.
As a general rule we recommend at least 12 – 18mm expansion around the perimeter of the room and at doorways. At least 12 – 18mm expansion must also be left where the floor comes into contact with any other vertical surfaces. These expansion gaps can be covered by mouldings after installation.
In areas where the engineered wood flooring comes into contact with a fireplace, stove, heating system or un-insulated hot air vents a layer of asphalt or wax paper should be laid first. This will prevent excess drying out of the wood flooring.
The appearance of spaces between boards indicates a drying out of the wood and an insufficient degree of humidity.
The appearance of waves or noticeable swelling in the finish of the wood flooring indicates the presence of excessive humidity. Heating systems may have to be utilised throughout the year to maintain the correct humidity level. The installation of a humidifier or an air exchange system can prove indispensable in controlling humidity.
Above all don’t forget that wood is a natural, living material and that we must look after it for life. A proper maintenance program should always be carried out.
Barrier matting should be placed at all exterior doorways.
Remember that pets running around, stiletto heels and dirt and grit left on the floor can scratch wood; regular maintenance should be carried out to prevent this.
Also Read: 7 Tips for Cleaning Real Wood flooring
For full maintenance guidelines please refer to the individual maintenance guidelines that apply to the finish of your floor.
To help installation, the following tools are required:
Professional knocking block
Professional pull bar
- Ensure that the subfloor is sound, level and free of debris. Cover the area with an appropriate underlay as recommended by Flooring365. If fitting over existing floorboards ensure that they are fixed solidly, this will avoid creaking.
- Lay out the first board ensuring the groove is towards the wall. Place a wedge between the end of the boards and the wall, this will ensure that you have an expansion gap (minimum 12mm). Complete the first line of boards, do not glue the boards at this stage.
- Turn over the last board of the first row, its tongue facing the tongue of the preceding board. Mark the cutting line on the back of the board and cut to length. Fit the board without glue.
- It is important that the boards follow the line of the wall. If the wall is not square, make a line parallel to the wall and cut the board accordingly.
- Lay out the boards along the wall (groove facing the wall) and insert wedges between the boards and the walls. PVA adhesive should be put into the groove on the header joints (end of the board). The final board will need to be fitted using a pull bar; this should be fitted over the end of the board and then tapped into place.
- Providing the off cut from the first row is at least 300mm in length, this should now be used to start the second row. Care should be taken that the header joints are staggered across the floor.
- A continuous bead of PVA adhesive should be placed on the upper edge of the groove on the board; the header joint should also be glued. Join the boards by placing the tongue into the groove of the previous board; ensuring that the header joint is closed, they should now be knocked home with the use of a knocking block. The knocking block should be used on the tongue in a flicking action. Hold one end of the block against the board, the other should be at an angle of aprox 45 degrees away from the board. Flick the block against the tongue with a sharp action, this will knock the board up; continue down the full length of the board, if necessary tap the board home using a hammer on the knocking block. Continue across the floor making sure to clean any PVA adhesive off the face of the floor with a damp cloth.
- Wherever there is a central heating pipe or anything else that protrudes from the floor, place a board into the next row, take exact measurements and mark the sections to be cut on the back of the board.
- Drill or cut out the area needed, remembering to leave an expansion gap.
- Cut the board at an angle of 45?.
- Apply PVA adhesive to the edges of the cut board and fit into place. Care should be taken to leave an expansion gap between the board and the wall.
- Door frames and other wooden elements should be sawn off to allow the board to slide underneath.
- To calculate the exact width of the last board, lay the board over the last but one line of boards (tongue facing the wall). Place another board face down over the board to be cut, remembering to leave the expansion gap, mark the board to be cut.
- Place the last line in place and knock up using a professional pull bar.
It is important to leave expansion gaps around the perimeter of the room, in doorways between rooms and at all vertical surfaces.
Perimeter of the Room
If the skirting board has not been removed, the expansion gap can be covered using a scotia or quadrant moulding.
At doorways the floor should be broken with an expansion gap. The expansion gap should be covered with a twin or ramp moulding. This will allow individual rooms to expand and contract within their own Areas. Which moulding to use is determined by the floor covering on the other side of the doorway. Floors equal in height should use a threshold T bar or flat Threshold, if floors have differing heights a ramp should be used.
Pipes, Vents and other fixed objects
Each can be unique, but the general rule is to measure very carefully before you cut and remember to leave a 12 – 18mm expansion gap between the object and the flooring. Cover the expansion gap with mouldings, vent covers or pipe rings when the floor is complete.
Installations on stairs
Flooring on stairs must be fully nailed to the stairs. Stair nosing mouldings should be installed suing either screw type fasteners or nails.