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How to Lay a Tongue-and-Groove Wood Floor (page 1 of 2)

Learn how to install wood or parquet flooring over concrete.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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Although laminate wood flooring is becoming popular, you may prefer real wood, shown here. Boards can be laid as a floating floor, nailed down or installed with adhesive. On a wood floor, you can remove old boards and install new ones, but not if a partition crosses the old boards. Check whether doors need to be trimmed. Remember that a vapor barrier is important, especially on concrete. You may sand a wood floor after installing it.

Laying a Floating Tongue-and-Groove Floor

Wooden floors are usually laid floating, allowing for expansion and contraction. Lay a vapor barrier if necessary, then roll out underlayment.

Position the first board, with its tongue facing into the room. Use wedges to maintain an expansion gap against the wall.

Apply glue to the board's grooved edge (avoid going deep into the recess, as less contact is made here with the tongue of the next board).

Tighten the joints as you proceed, by hitting a knocking block against the boards. Or you may prefer to use a ratchet floor clamp (see below).

Wipe away any excess glue that seeps out between joints after the boards are tightened. Continue adding rows, and stagger the boards in the normal way. Once adhesive has dried, add shoe molding to cover the expansion gap, or replace the baseboard if you removed it before laying the floor.

Using a Ratchet Floor Clamp

This is an alternative to using a knocking block against the boards. Lip the clamp over the end board. Unroll the strap to beyond the nearest board (Image 1).

Position the ratchet section over the edge of the board closest to you. For a large floor area, you may need to position several ratchet clamps (Image 2).

Thread the extended strap through the ratchet section, and clamp it down. You may wish to set up two across a section of flooring (Image 3).

Move the ratchet backward and forward until the strap is taut and tightens the tongue-and-groove boards. Repeat every few rows (Image 4).

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009