This article is about ” How to level a floor , Sand a floor , Lay flooring, Wooden Floors and Carpet“.
How to level a floor
You will need
– Spirit level
– Try square
– Punch tool
– Hardboard sheets
– Bucket of clean water
– Paint brush
– Straight edge
-headed panel pins
When laying carpet or installing tiles, you need to ensure that the surface you are laying them on is completely level. You may not notice a slope at first but you will become aware of a slight slope as time goes by, creating a very annoying and rather disappointing result. Take a spirit level and use this to check the slope of your floor before tile or carpet laying commences.
If your floor does have a slope, this can be easily corrected using hardboard sheets. Before you begin, remove your skirting boards, these will be fixed on again after you have levelled the floor. Also, check the ventilation of your floorboards by looking for the room’s airbrick. If you cannot find the airbrick and your flooring does not have sufficient ventilation, install an airbrick and look for signs of mould and damp, this should be treated before you install your hardboard.
It is useful to mark out the location of underfloor pipes and electrics on your old floorboards using a try square. When it comes to the installation of the hardboard sheets lay narrow strips of board on these marked areas so that they can be easily lifted for emergency repair or maintenance.
Next prepare your old floorboards by driving in any protruding nails using the nail punch and screwing down any loose boards. Due to the humidity being different in every room, it is essential that your hardboard sheets have time to acclimatise to the room in which they’ll be placed. Bring your hardboard sheets into the room and brush around one litre of water onto the rough side of each board. Leave the boards in the room for 24 hours so that they can adjust to their new surroundings.
Once the boards have acclimatised for a full day, saw to the desired size using the straight edge as a guide. Lay the boards rough side up and fix using the diamond-headed panel pins, pin every 100mm for a secure finish. After attaching all the sheets, the floor will now be ready and level enough to house your new carpet or tiles to a highly professional standard.
How to sand a floor
You will need
– Dust sheet
– Dust mask
– Ear protectors
– Drills and screws
– Nail punch
– Timber cuttings
– Wood glue
– Wood filler
– Wide-bladed chisel
– Floor sander
– Sanding sheets
– Round-edged sander
– Cold chisel
– White spirit
– Varnish/ clear finish
Having authentic wooden flooring in your home creates a look that is beautiful and timeless, but this feature must be successfully maintained via sanding and staining to preserve its quality over time. Prepare the room for sanding by removing all furniture, furnishings and floor coverings, all the items which cannot be removed, cover with a canvas sheet to protect them from dust.
Don’t forget to protect yourself too – put on a dust mask, goggles, ear protectors and overalls before you begin work. Ensure that there is an appropriate level of ventilation in the room during sanding by opening all windows and exterior doors. Now prepare your floorboards for sanding; screw down any loose boards and use the nail punch to sort out any protruding nails.
Close up any large gaps between floorboards by removing the floorboards and pushing them closer together. Alternatively, you can cut a small strip of timber to fit within the gap, smear both sides with wood glue and hammer into the gap to fit. Fill all dead knot holes in your floorboards with a good quality wood filler. Any broken or damaged floorboards should also be removed with a wide-bladed chisel and replaced with a similar wooden board, matching quality as closely as possible.
Hire a professional sander
You can hire a professional sander from a local rental shop or invest in your own. Use the sander with a medium grade sanding sheet if your floor is in a relatively good condition and is not stained. More heavy duty sanding sheets may need to be utilised if your floors are in bad condition and have been treated or painted.
Initially work diagonally with the floor sander, keeping the same pace as you work your way across the room. It is important to keep moving at all times to ensure even coverage. Once you have covered the whole room, replace the sanding sheet and start again.
Now move in the direction of the boards, finish by going over the boards once more, this time with a fine abrasive. The room’s edge needs a bit more attention to detail and precision – using a round-edged sander work around the edge of the room, keeping as close to the skirting board as possible. Use a cold chisel to remove any dirt congregating in the corners of the room, between the floorboards and underneath the skirting.
Vacuum the room to remove any dust and wipe the boards with a cloth dampened in white spirit. Seal the floor with a clear or coloured varnish, brush on at least two coats and leave to dry.
How to lay flooring
Laying any flooring, from laminate and wooden floors to tiles and carpets, can be a tricky job but it really doesn’t have to be left to the experts. Let’s start off with how to lay wooden flooring, whether it is an engineered or laminate product you are looking to fit…
Wooden floors expand due to the humidity of the room so it is essential that you allow time for your flooring to acclimatise to the room’s atmosphere.
Move your flooring into the room, open the pack and lay in sunlight for the flooring to get the full impact of the room’s temperature. Leave the flooring for 24 hours before you start installation. Remove skirting boards with a crow bar, these are refitted during the last steps of laying a wooden floor. Vacuum the floor then fit the underlay; use a utility knife to cut the underlay to size and secure by taping around the edges.
The tape will also ensure that any moisture residing underneath the underlay doesn’t rise and damage your flooring. Now position plastic spacers around the room, this will allow some extra room for expansion as the wooden floor will swell after fitting. Now lay the first board, ensuring that the groove is facing the wall.
Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see whether the flooring should be fixed using nails or glue. Cut this first board to fit and use the cut end to start the second row to stagger the joints of the adjacent rows for a truly professional result. When fitting the rest of the boards, continue to stagger the joints and push the sides of each board using a fitting tool for a snug fit. Work your way across the room and cut the final board lengthways to fit, again force in with the fitting tool.
Cut any boards that conflict with pipes or corners to fit. To finish remove the plastic spacers and refit the skirting to cover this gap, this allows enough space for expansion as well as providing an expert finish with no gaps!
See our section ‘Tiles’ . The same rules apply when it comes to fitting tiles for wall and floor; the only thing that differs when fitting floor tiles is that you have to leave the adhesive to dry for up to 12 hours, without walking on the tiles. You also have to seal the tile surface to protect from damage and finish by grouting.
Start by removing any old carpet or flooring and fit gripper strips around the edge of the room, ensuring they are positioned at least 1/5 inch away from the edge of the skirting board. This small gap between the skirting and the gripper strip ensures there is sufficient room to tuck the carpet under neatly when you have finished the fitting.
If you are laying onto floorboards, nail in the grippers, however, if you have concrete floors glue the grippers to the floor with a quick setting polyurethane product. Fit the underlay next, roll out the underlay across the room and join the edges with doubled side carpet tape. Trim the underlay so it fits perfectly within the gripper strips.
Now unroll the carpet and fix to the grippers, smoothing out any creases by stretching the carpet to fit. Fix all sides of the carpet to the grippers to secure. Next tuck the edges of the carpet into the space between the gripper strip and skirting board, use a bolster chisel to push the carpet into this tight gap. Finish by trimming off any excess carpet from the edges with a Stanley knife.
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