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Engineered wood flooring is renowned for its beauty, durability, and most notably, its ease of installation. Unlike other types of wood flooring, engineered wood can be installed by a determined DIYer. However, there are certain things to be aware of before beginning this process. Below we'll explore the key steps and considerations involved in installing engineered wood flooring.

Acclimatisation Process

Before initiating the installation process, it's highly recommended that you let the engineered wood flooring acclimatise to its future environment. Although not mandatory for engineered flooring, this step ensures the boards adjust to the temperature and humidity of your home. The acclimatisation period can prevent potential future issues such as warping or gapping.

To acclimatise your engineered wood flooring, leave it in the box in the room where it's going to be installed for approximately 48 hours. The temperature during this period should be consistent, preferably mimicking typical living conditions.

Preparing the Subfloor

The next key step in the installation process is to prepare the subfloor. It must be clean, dry, and level to ensure the success of the installation and longevity of your flooring. Sweep, vacuum, or wash the subfloor to remove any dirt, dust, or debris. If necessary, use a levelling compound to correct any unevenness. Remember, moisture can cause considerable damage to wood floors, so make sure the subfloor is completely dry before you begin.

Underlay Installation

Using an underlay is a crucial step when installing engineered wood flooring. An underlay provides several benefits, such as additional comfort underfoot, improved soundproofing, and enhanced thermal insulation. Additionally, it can also serve as a moisture barrier, especially if it has a built-in damp-proof membrane (DPM).

To install the underlay, unroll it from wall to wall across the room, trimming any excess with scissors or a utility knife. Ensure that the edges meet but do not overlap, as this could result in an uneven floor surface. If the underlay doesn't include a DPM and your subfloor is concrete, you'll need to install a separate DPM to protect the flooring from potential moisture damage. In this case, ensure the DPM sheets do overlap to create a fully sealed barrier.

Expansion Gap

One essential aspect to remember when installing wood flooring is the requirement for an expansion gap. All wood floors will expand and contract slightly due to changes in temperature and humidity. It's crucial to allow room for this natural movement to prevent warping, buckling, or cracking.

If your room is wider than 10m, it may be necessary to separate the floor into sections to accommodate for these changes. An expansion gap of 10-15mm should be left around the perimeter of the room. These gaps can be concealed with baseboard trim or quarter rounds, creating a neat finish while allowing your floor the freedom to expand and contract.

Installing the Floor

There are different methods of installing engineered wood flooring, depending on the type of boards you've chosen. This could include floating (where the boards aren't attached to the subfloor but instead, attached to each other), gluing, or nailing. Each method has its advantages and requirements, so it's crucial to understand which one is best for your specific floor and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

By adhering to these steps and considerations, you'll be on your way to successfully installing your engineered wood flooring. Remember, patience and attention to detail are key for a DIY flooring project, and when in doubt, don't hesitate to seek professional advice. This will ensure your new flooring is not only beautiful but also structurally sound and built to last.