Flooring Installation

Installation

Making sure your floor is installed correctly is vital, to give you the best results and longevity. Below are guides for the most common installations, and you can also download more information in our Download Centre.

Installing Quick-Step Laminate Flooring

Preparation

Let the planks acclimatise for 48 hours in the unopened packaging at normal room temperature, in the middle of the room where the floor is to be installed. The ideal conditions are 15-20°C (59-68°F) at a relative humidity of 50-60%.

Fresh screed must dry for at least 1 week per cm for up to 4cm, and 2 weeks per cm thickness over 4cm, with sufficient ventilation. For example, a 6cm screed must dry for at least 8 weeks. For any thickness over 6cm you must add 3 to 4 weeks. The moisture content must be less than 2.5% for cement-bound screed (CM method) and 0.5% for an anhydrite bound screed.

Remove any damp-open floor covering (carpet, needle felt, etc.) first. Damp-proof floor covering (PVC, linoleum, etc.) does not have to be removed. Always use an underlay. We recommend the use of Quick-Step underlay.

Installing Quick-Step on a Wooden Subfloor

Remove any existing floor covering first.

No signs of mould and/or insect infestations should be present.

Make sure the subfloor is level. Nail down any loose parts.

If your plank floor is on the ground level, lay a plastic foil first (Quick-Step Screen). Apply a levelling floor (Quick-Step Softboard) on top of this. For a perfect subfloor preparation, it is recommended to lay an underlay on top of the Softboard to level any unevenness between the Softboard planks.

Install the new floor at ninety degrees to the existing subfloor. The crawl space under the plank floor must be sufficiently ventilated. Remove any obstacles and make sure there is sufficient ventilation (minimum 4cm2 total ventilation openings per m2 of floor). The moisture content of the wood must not exceed 10%.

Make sure the floor base is flat, clean, firm and dry. Any unevenness greater than 2mm over a length of 1 metre must be smoothed out. Check whether the old skirting-board can be removed. You can also leave the skirting on the wall and finish the floor with Quick-Step profiles.

Check that the doors can still open and close after the floor and underlay have been installed (minimum + 1cm).

Inspect all planks in sufficient light before and during installation. Planks with visible defects must never be used. The floor should preferably be installed parallel to how the light enters the room (visually more attractive). Make sure the panels are mixed sufficiently when you install them, so that you do not end up with too many identical, light or dark panels next to each other.

Uniclic is a revolutionary system for installing floating laminate floors without using glue. The panels can be clicked together easily thanks to the ingenious shape of the tongue and groove. Wood is the main component of this Quick-Step floor.

Because room humidity can vary – for example, between summer and winter – it is vital that the floor is able to expand and contract. That's why you must leave an expansion joint on all sides of the floor of minimum 8 to 10mm, also around pipes, under doors and at doorsteps. Remember that the floor may move in one direction. In any case, make sure there is an expansion joint between different rooms (under doors, for example). These expansion joints are sealed with a profile attached to the subfloor. Large rooms must have expansion joints every 13m breadthwise to the panels and every 13m lengthwise. Expansion and contraction are linear, so the greater the surface area, the greater the tolerances need to be. Uniclic panels are not suitable for use in damp spaces like bathrooms and saunas.

You can choose where you want to begin laying. Think about what will be the easiest way to install the floor. We will demonstrate the installation for right-handed people, from left to right. You can work in the other direction if you want.

First lay the underlay across the breadth of the room and then gradually as you lay the planks. It is vital that you use a levelling underlay to smooth away any unevenness in the floor base. The specially developed Quick-Step 2in1 underlay floors have a damp-proof, insulating, noise-reducing and levelling function. The level top layer ensures easy laying of the laminate panels and facilitates ample expansion afterwards. If the underlay is already attached to the floor panels, you only need to install 150 μ plastic foil with the adhesive tape provided. Let the foil extend upwards against the wall before cutting it to size. A skirting-board can be attached to the wall later.

Begin the first row with a whole plank. Saw off both the long and the short tongue from the first panel. Put the plank with sawn off sides against the walls. Put spacers from the installation kit between the planks and the wall. This will ensure that your expansion joint is wide enough; 8 to 10mm. Position the panel to be installed at an angle of 20 to 30° to the panel already laid. Move the panel gently up and down and at the same time exert forward pressure. The panels will automatically click into place. Position a tapping block over the short joint between the panels and tap carefully until the panels fully align. Of course you also need to saw the panels. To obtain a clean cut, the top surface should face down when you use a jigsaw, or circular handsaw and up when you use a handsaw or a crosscut saw. Ensure that the end joints of the panels in two successive rows are never in line. Always ensure that the joints are staggered by at least 15cm. Tap the cross joint between these panels snugly together using a tapping block.

There must also be an 8 to 10mm expansion joint between the last row and the wall. Keep this in mind when sawing the last row of panels. In places where it is too difficult to install the planks with the tapping block (e.g. against the wall), you can tap them together using a crowbar and/or a hammer.

In rows where there is a pipe, make sure the pipe falls exactly in line with the joint between two panels. Take a drill bit with the same diameter as the pipe plus 20mm. Click the panels together on the short side and drill a hole centred on the joint between the two panels. Now you can install the panels on the floor. For a perfect finish around pipes, use pipe covers or an elastic paste.

When sawing the panels ensure that the expansion joint under the door is at least 10mm. If you cannot lift the panel, use an adapted tapping block or crowbar and hammer to tap the panels together.

You can walk on the floor during and immediately after installation. Ensure that humidity in the room is always at least 50%. Use a humidifier if necessary.

Installing Solid Wood Flooring

It is not recommended that solid wood flooring be installed in any way as a "floating” floor. It must be fixed to the sub floor by using the recommended Sika adhesive or secret nail fixings using an appropriate nailer.

The floor should be installed from several cartons at the same time to ensure good colour and shade mixture. Be attentive to staggering the ends of boards at least 150mm in adjacent rows. This will help ensure a more favourable overall appearance of the floor. A minimum of an 18mm expansion gap around all perimeter edges of the flooring and fixed objects must be left during installation. Further in floor field expansion should be installed where a continual run of flooring exceeds 8 linear meters in length or width.

Note: Lack of adequate expansion may cause buckling and lifting of the flooring during normal seasonal movement of the product.

Large spans (i.e. 8 linear metres or greater) or flooring laid in areas of high humidity, require the addition of internal or field expansion. This can be accomplished by inserting a "T" expansion bar which allows for a minimum of 18mm expansion either side. It is further recommended that an expansion "T" bar is installed between all doorways to allow for potential varying movement of the floors within separate adjoining rooms.

Doorway & Wall Preparation

Undercut door casings and frames allowing for the minimum 18mm expansion gap. Remove any existing base or doorway thresholds. These items can be replaced after installation.

Insert an expansion facility at all doorways by use of a complement "T” moulding strip.

Establish a starting point - Wall to Wall Installation

Where possible, installation parallel to the longest wall is recommended for best visual effects. However the floor should be installed perpendicular to flooring joists, or perpendicular to existing wooden floorings unless the sub floor has been reinforced/ overlaid with plywood to reduce sub floor sagging. For random or alternate width products, use the widest plank for the first row. An 18mm minimum expansion gap must be left at all walls and any fixed item within the floor area. Using this 18mm measurement, in at least two places, measure out and snap a chalk line.

Note: Always end glue only all boards that are 100mm or more in width with a PVA wood glue. This is to minimise the risk of header joints gapping after installation during seasonal environmental changes.

Installing first rows - Wall To Wall Installation

NAIL DOWN METHOD

Use the longest, straightest boards available for the first two rows. Align the groove of the first board against the chalk line. The groove should be facing the starting wall.

Pre-drill the nail holes 25mm from back (groove) edge, 25–50mm from each end, and at 150mm intervals at a 45 degree angle down through the nailing "pocket" on top of the tongue.

Face nail the groove side where pre-drilled using a minimum 38mm length nail for this initial fixing. When complete, manually nail at a 45 degree angle through the tongue of the first row using 50mm barbed cleat nails.

Continue manually nailing using this method with the following rows until the nailer can be used. End joints of adjacent rows should be staggered to a minimum of 150mm to ensure a more favourable overall appearance.

Dry Laying / Racking The Floor

"Dry" lay (rack) the flooring to cover approximately two thirds of the room. This is to give a visual check of the flooring for suitability and to ensure correct header joint spacing’s are achieved and to avoid installing unacceptable or inappropriate boards. Begin dry laying (racking) the boards and visually inspect each board before locating it with the previous laid boards. Following location of the boards check for any unacceptable gapping or run out between boards and trim or remove objectionable boards before commencing fixing of them.

Avoid pulling boards too tightly together on the sides, as they must move freely when fastening begins.

Visually inspect the flooring, setting aside boards that need to have natural character or manufacturing flaws cut out.

Use these boards for starting and finishing rows after objectionable characteristics have been cut out / removed.

Mark the final board in each row and cut to suitable width and length allowing for 18mm expansion gaps.

Installing The Floor - Nail Down Method

Fasten a sacrificial board to the floor. This is to check for surface damage, air pressure setting or manual hammer pressure, tongue damage etc. before proceeding. Make all adjustments and corrections before installation begins. Once proper adjustments have been made remove and destroy the board.

Begin installation of the dry racked rows, in the order that the boards were checked and dry laid, using the nailer with minimum 50mm barbed cleat nails, fastening each board with at least two nails, proportionally more depending of board length, spaced 200 – 250mm apart and at least 38mm from the ends (to avoid splitting).

End joints of adjacent rows should be staggered 150mm when possible to ensure a more favourable overall appearance and to ensure structural weakness or squeaking boards are avoided.

The last 1-2 rows will need to be face nailed where clearance does not permit blind nailing with the nailer. Pre drill and face nail on the tongue side following the nailing pattern used for the first row. Rip final row to fit and face nail. If the final row is less than 25mm in width, it should first be glued to the previous uninstalled row and the two joined boards should be face nailed as one.

Complete The Job

Remove all installation debris from the floor and brush off all dust etc.

Clean the floor with the recommended wood flooring cleaner.

Lacquered floors – use Bona cleaner

U.V. Oiled floors – Clean the floor as necessary using a specialist cleaner for oiled flooring.

Re-install / install any transition pieces that may be needed, such as reducer strips, T-mouldings, or thresholds. These products are available pre-finished to blend with your flooring.

Installing Engineered Wood Flooring

Floating Floor Installation

Tools Required 

Hammer (1000g) 
Tape measure 
Fine hand saw or electric saw 
Wooden wedges / spacers 
Tapping block for final positioning of boards 

The direction in which the boards are to be laid is normally determined by the dimensions of the room. If none of the sides of the room exceed 8 linear meters, it is recommended that the boards are laid parallel to the longest wall.

Having established the direction, the width of the room should be measured. This number should then be decreased by 30mm (i.e. an expansion gap of 15mm at either side), and divided by the board width of the chosen product. This will then give the number of rows of boards to be assembled and the width of the final row. If the final board width is narrower than 70mm, then the first row of boards should be width trimmed accordingly to ensure the last row of boards exceeds 70mm in width.

Following installation of the recommended combination damp proof membrane or combined underlay, insert a spacer(s) of 15mm thickness against the starting wall to ensure a 15mm expansion gap is left. The first row of boards should be laid tongue facing the wall. The individual boards should be joined at their shorter ends by locating together the profiled elements of the joint into the adjoining boards. Use the tapping block to locate the short edge tongue into the short edge groove of the previously laid board. The last floorboard in the row should be length cut to suit, remembering to maintain an expansion gap of 15mm into which wooden wedges/spacers should be inserted, and located along its long edge and its end joint tapped into the previous board end joint using a heel iron. The following row of boards should commence with the cut-off fragment of the board remaining from the first row, provided its length exceeds 50cm. It is important to maintain a minimum of 50cm overlap between the ends of boards in the adjacent rows of flooring. The cut fragment of board from the previous row should be located into the grooved long edge of the previous row by inserting its tongue into the groove to commence the next row and pressed by hand towards the floor. Once this board is located correctly into the groove of the adjacent board, the next new board can be placed and located in the same manner and finished by tapping the end of the board into the end joint of the previous laid board.

In the case of having to overcome an obstacle, such as central heating pipes, a fragment of the board needing additional manoeuvring or facilitating ought to be marked and appropriately cut out whilst remembering to maintain the 15mm expansion gap around the element to be avoided. The resulting gap between the pipes and the floor may be covered with a pipe rosette.

At door thresholds it is recommended to install an appropriate "T" mould expansion profile to accommodate any varying movement between floors in different rooms.

The last row of boards should be very carefully measured prior to laying. The final row of boards should be located and pushed together with the help of the heel/tapping iron. A 15mm expansion gap must remain between the edge of the final row of boards and the wall.

Having laid the floor, all spacers / wedges used must be removed and the remaining expansion gap should be covered with skirting boards or an appropriate edge trim or scotia bead. These must always be fastened to the wall - NEVER to the floor.

Immediately after installing the skirting or edge trims, the new floor is ready for use.

Additional Installation Notes

When assembling the floorboards, it is recommended that the maximum laid floor area without additional in-floor expansion facility is 8 linear metres across the width of the laid boards, and 20 linear metres down the length of the boards.

The following microclimatic conditions should exist within the end use room both prior to and following installation:

- Air temperature - 18-24°C
- Relative air humidity - 45-60%

Damage to the flooring caused by incorrect assembly or excess moisture / damp does not constitute grounds for complaint. Noises due to natural seasonal movement or heating cycles when using the floor are a natural feature of wooden flooring and should be regarded as such - therefore they also do not constitute grounds for complaint. Colour variation and change of hue (darkening) - which is the result of exposure to light & sun rays - is also a natural feature of wood and as such is also not grounds for complaint.

The subsequent rows of boards should be installed in the same manner ensuring that the 15mm expansion gap is left at all perimeter edges of the flooring and around pipes or any other obstacles. This is to accommodate normal seasonal movement of the product.

Glue Down Installation

Sub Floor Checking and Preparation

The sub floor must be checked for suitability in all respects as per the information previously stated above - including flatness, soundness and suitable moisture content - with the appropriate equipment and as per guidelines given in B.S. 8201: 1987 / B.S.5325:2001 & B.S. 8203:2001.

Take appropriate measures to resolve any sub floor issues prior to installing the flooring.

Note! An unsound or un-level sub floor could result in the flooring deflecting excessively, and squeaking or creaking of the joints may occur.

If the appropriateness of the moisture content of the sub floor cannot be determined or guaranteed, install an appropriate liquid damp proof membrane that is compatible with the adhesive to be used. Failure to protect the boards from unsuitable levels of moisture can result in the flooring cupping, expanding and distorting.

The sub floor should also comply with the following resistance requirements:

- Peel strength min. 1Mpa
- Compression strength min. 25Mpa

Adhering The Boards

A moisture dispersion cure adhesive must not be used. If in doubt confirm the curing action of the chosen adhesive with the adhesive manufacturer.

Ensure an appropriate engineered wood flooring adhesive is used and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for it. The glue should be applied and spread with the recommended trowel. The boards should be laid in the same manner as the floating floor method previously advised.

Locate the click profile and firmly press into the adhesive ensuring that a minimum of 80% of the reverse of the board is in full contact with the adhesive. If necessary weight any boards that may have a slight bow or springiness in them.

It is important to avoid getting adhesive onto the surface of the boards, and any adhesive or "finger dabs” of adhesive that do get on the surface of the boards should be removed immediately (while uncured) with an appropriate adhesive cleaner before installation commences.

The freshly-laid floor may be walked on after the recommended curing time of the adhesive used has been reached. Please refer to the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions in this respect.

The adhering of the boards directly to the sub floor does not eradicate the occurrence of natural movement of the wood flooring. Therefore the recommended 15mm expansion gaps must be retained at all perimeter edges of the flooring.

If the flooring is being adhered to a sub floor that contains a radiant heat underfloor heating system, then the chosen adhesive must be compatible for use over such heating systems.

Installing Tuscan Engineered Flooring over an underfloor heating system

There are many types and manufacturers of underfloor heating systems, so please ensure that the suitability and recommendations of the particular manufacturer of your system are sought out and adhered to BEFORE commencing installation of your Tuscan engineered flooring. Tuscan engineered flooring is suitable for use over both water and electric underfloor heating systems that are equipped with electronic temperature controls.

You should always consult the manufacturer or supplier of your heating system to confirm its suitability in terms of laying a wooden floor over it, and to confirm if any specific commissioning processes in relation to your specific system should be employed - both when turning on the system for the first time, and for its use after the flooring has been installed.

Wood species of high contraction coefficient react more to temperature and air humidity changes, which, when combined with a light colour species of wood, may create or emphasise gaps more than other species. Accelerated colour change of some light species more sensitive to heat is also possible, so please clarify any queries in this respect prior to purchasing or installing your chosen Tuscan engineered flooring.

Special attention should be paid to evenly distributing either the heating mat or water pipe work under the entire surface of the floor. This will help prevent any irregular heating of the flooring, and therefore avoid any issues relating to board movement between heated and unheated areas of flooring and cold patches within the laid floor.

Prior to Installation of the Flooring

These instructions must be followed in conjunction with the heating system manufacturer’s commissioning instructions. 15 days prior to installation, switch on the normal heating cycle / programme for the underfloor heating system, and gradually increase the temperature setting to achieve 18°C on the surface of the sub floor for the remainder of the specified period. Then switch the heating off for 48 hours prior to commencing installation of the flooring.

The flooring should be located in the end use environment and temperature conditions prior to commencing installation.

NOTE! The maximum recommended underfloor heating unit power output is 100W/m2.

Following Installation

Re-introduce the heating system beneath the flooring in a slow, controlled manner, using incremental staged increases of temperature. Switch the system on in normal operating mode and at a low operating temperature (less than 18°C). Gradually increase the temperature to 18°C at the 8 installed floor surface and leave at this temperature for a minimum 48 hours. Then, if required, gradually increase the temperature by 1 or 2°C a day until your normal / optimum temperature has been reached.

Do NOT under ANY circumstances raise the temperature of the flooring surface above 26°C as this may induce movement and distortion of the boards. Regardless of the heating system within the property / room, the atmospheric relative humidity in the room should be kept between 45– 60% at all times.

 

Installing Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is available in either a tile or in sheet form and is usually installed by a skilled installer. These days there are products available that are easier to install yourself including vinyl tiles that click together and float like laminate flooring, and also there are peel and stick tiles with the adhesive already applied to the tile backing during manufacture. New to the market are loose lay vinyl tiles that in most cases don’t require any adhesive at all.

Vinyl tiles and planks plus any other products such as borders, feature strips, design strips, tozzettos and adhesives should be conditioned for at least 24 hours prior to installation. Boxes of tiles/planks must be stacked less than 5 boxes high and tiles removed 30 minutes before use. The room temperature should ideally be between 18 and 26°C but more importantly should be constant and not varying by more than 2°C. Please follow the manufacturer guidelines. 

For installation of the traditional dry backed tiles the floor base that the vinyl is to be stuck to needs to be dry and level and there are products that help to achieve this such as floor levelling compounds, DPM coatings and floor grade plywood. There is not a problem laying over underfloor heating providing you use a high temperature adhesive and follow manufacturers guidelines. Vinyl tiles can be easily cut with a trimming knife. Adhesives, screeds, DPM and tools required for installing your vinyl tiles are available from the accessories section of the Find Me A Floor website.

At Find Me A Floor the vinyl sheet products we supply are mainly commercial products meant for use in heavy wear locations such as hospitals, schools and offices although some of these products are also suitable for domestic locations including wet rooms, shower or bathrooms. These types of floor coverings would normally be installed by your fitter. 

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