Installing Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood floors give all the beauty of real wood but with some added advantages , many of which will vary depending on which engineered floor you have chosen.
NB The final responsability for your floor installation is with the installer. Please check accrediation and ensure they are suitable trained. Below is a guide line to help our customer understand the requirements for preparation and installation.
Important information before installation
Please check humidity and moisture levels in room of installation. Any experienced fitter will be able to use specialist tools to test the humidity and sub-floor moisture in a room.
No matter which engineered flooring you buy , it needs to become acclimatised to the temperature and humidity in your house. Engineered wood floors will naturally expand when exposed to an increase in moisture. They will shrink when the moisture decreases or the heat is reduced.
Before doing anything it is important to make sure that the room is okay for installation and ready acclimatisation of your floor. The sub-floor must be level and dry with a moisture content of below 12% on a "reference" moisture content scale (MC%) or on a spike meter. If your are getting readings more than this seek qualified professional advice from a building consultant.
The room of installation must also have adequate ventilation and maintain a humidity of around 45%-65%. This is thought to be in line with normal living conditions. Before storage for acclimatisation, ensure all wet trades such as painting and plastering are finished and completely dried. The extra humidity created by wet trades may affect your floor badly during acclimatisation and result in exagerated movement after installation.
When a room is inside our recommendations you are then ready to acclimatise the flooring. Place the flooring into the room of installation. They should closed in their box and be in piles of at most 4 high. Leave a minimum 6cm gap between all boxes of flooring. Don't open any boxes or remove wrapping as this could aid warping or cupping . The room should be at approximately 18-22degC. Boxes should then be left for 5-7 days to acclimatise. Following these steps will reduce expansion and shrinkage in your floor.
For acclimatising for under-floor heating, it is important to ensure that the concrete and humidity in your room of installation is as detailed above. Once these conditions are satisfied and wet trades have been completed and correctly dried , you can begin the acclimatisation of your engineered floor onto underlfoor heating. NB Please check with the underlfoor heating supplier for suitablity for use with engineered flooring. Ocassionaly some systems cannot be used with engineered wood flooring. To acclimate your floor it should be spread out closed inside the boxes around the floor.The heating should be switched on and running at a low temperature and gradually increased over 5 days to a high but comfortable living temperature. Then gradually decrease the temperature to a lower rate over 2-3 days. Repeat this process twice to acclimate the wood floor. The end result should see the moisture content (%MC) of the wood fall from around 9-11% down to 6-8%. THis would indicate that the wood floor has been correctly acclimated to the room and installation is ready to begin.
Sub-floors must be level before commencing installation. We recommend no more than 3mm over a 1m distance in any direction. This should be checked and measured before commencing installation. Uneven floors should be suitably levelled using levelling boards, plywood or self levelling products.
Installation Requirements and Wastage of Engineered Woods Floors
We always recommends using professional wood flooring fitters. Your choice of fitter can often be the most important person to the end look and performance of your floor. It is also important to consider while many joiners may be qualified, not all are qualified to fit wood floors. Always ask for recommendations , examples of work and speak to more than one installer.
Important Engineered Flooring Guidelines :
It's very important to work from a few boxes at one time. This allows the fitter to decide on the best mix of board colour and grains to as to give the best looking installation possible. Different boxes can and will vary in colour and mixing up boxes throughout the fitting will give a better overall finish. NB. Wood is a product of nature and in most species a natural wastage of around 5% is likely. EG 5% of the product may not be suitable for purpose or not visually acceptable to you. For this reason we always recommend adding 5% to accommodate for natural wastage and up to 10% on rustic or distressed flooring.
When it comes to cutting and fitting it is advisable to allow for a further 5%. EG if you need to cover a floor of 10m2 , buy 11m2 of flooring to allow for wastage.
Wood flooring is best laid in the direction of the length of the room. For example a room measuring 6x4m would have the long length of the boards running with the 6m length of the room. The maximum length an engineered wood floor should run without any gaps for expansion is 7m and the maximum amount for width is 5m. In bigger rooms it could be required to build in internal expansion gaps. Speak with your installer if this may be required.
If fitting onto a concrete sub-floor it needs to be dry (below 12%MC),level and free from oil , dirt or dust. A qualified fitter will be able to test the moisture content of your sub-floor using a moisture meter.
Engineered floors should be installed onto a suitable underlay. For concrete floors an underlay with built in moisture barrier is essential.
Expansion gaps are essential. If fitting in winter the floor will shrink more during acclimatisation, so an expansion gap of 12-15mm is needed. This must be left around all edges where the floor meets walls or fireplaces or any fixed object that the floor is installed beside. During fittings in summer a different expansion gap of 10-12mm is required as the floor will have expanded during acclimatisation. At all other times a 12mm gap is enough. All expansion gaps are covered by the use of skirting, door bars and beading.
Maintaining Your Engineered Wood Floor
- Use door mats at external Doorways
- Use protective felt pads or castor cups on all furniture
- Always lift when moving heavy objects.
- Vacuum or sweep your flooring for daily maintenance.
- Remove dirt or staining with a certified wooden floor cleaner and a damp (not wet) mop
- Clean up all spills from your floor immediately. Do not allow liquids to sit on your wood floor.