If you’re new to laying engineered timber flooring, there may be a bit of a learning curve if you’ve only ever installed traditional timber slats — or laminate flooring and tiles for that matter.
Though engineered timber flooring has come a long way over the past decade, with its easy click system and some self-aligning grooves, it’s still a good idea to make sure you’re doing your research when it comes to installing it correctly.
There are a few different methods of installing engineered timber flooring, and some specific to Sydneysiders to explicitly suit their homes, weather and lifestyles. Some of these engineered timber slats need to be either glued, nailed or are self-adhering.
Have a look at our guide below on how to install engineered timber flooring, and we’ll help you avoid some rather common, costly mistakes.
What You’ll Need Handy
- A Pencil
- PVA Glue
- Measuring Tape
- Wood Flooring Glue
- A Flooring Nailer and Nails — for Nail Install Only
- A Hand Saw
Some Specialist Items — They help, but aren’t essential.
- A Pull Bar
- Knee Pads
- A Spacer
- Spirit Level
Know Your Site Conditions
To kick things off, you need to know your site conditions.
If you ignore this step, you might be laying your engineered timber over a reactive flooring, or an area that’s too damp - making way for splits, gaps, creaking and worse.
That said, be sure to thoroughly check over your site first!
Ideally the following few aspects apply for a site check and you can either do this on your own with a moisture meter or you can have a professional over just to check things:
- You want the humidity to be between 45 per cent and 65 per cent. Higher or lower than this and you might see some lifting from your boards.
- If you're installing the timber flooring on a concrete subfloor, this floor will need to have a moisture content of less than 12 per cent, or 3 per cent on a concrete moisture meter.
- For those installing atop a timber subfloor, the moisture content will need to be at 12 per cent or less.
- To end, your subfloor (the floor below the engineered timber flooring) has to be as level as possible. You can check with a 1m long ruler to see whether there’s a big level variance, and it should be 3mm or less.
Acclimatise the Flooring
Once the site has the go-ahead, you’ll have to acclimate your engineered timber flooring to make sure your timber is balanced with the room it’s being installed in.
The easiest way to do this is open the box of engineered timber in the room you’re installing it in and simply leave it there for around a week. This is to ensure you’re not laying timbers that will expand and lift over time.
Installing the Timber Flooring
Now you’re ready to install the flooring.
The first thing on your to-do list will need to be stripping the existing floor of all covering and prepping it for the engineered timber flooring to sit down, or to be glued down on the surface.
Be sure that there’s enough space for a 10mm gap around the edge of your flooring too as you’ll want room for expansion. FloorVenue have stated that engineered timber is rather stable, hence a smaller 10mm gap is fine, rather than larger 20-25mm gaps for other timber types.
With a clean subfloor and room for expansion, you can then begin laying your timbers. Determine whether you have a click system or a tongue and groove variant, a click system will need an underlay sheet.
A tongue and groove, however, can be installed atop a subfloor and nailed, or simply glued down.
For the click system, simply work toward snapping your timbers together and laying them on the floor. This method is rather simple, just be sure to max out your timbers at 7 metres.
For the tongue and groove, add your glue to the groove and not the tongue and glue the timbers together. This will improve the hold and reduce risk of separation.
- Look over each slat or board before you click it to the next or glue it down. Sometimes there are imperfections you want to avoid.
- Always be mindful of the expansion gap and also make sure your flooring doesn’t extend beyond 7 metres.
- An underly should not be used when gluing or nailing an engineered wood floor.
Always be sure to check your site and follow manufacturer instructions. And with all that said, you’re on track to correctly and safely installing your engineered timber flooring in your Sydney home!