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How To Lay New Flooring Effectively, Without Causing Any Damage

Part 4 of our series on avoiding DIY mistakes and protecting your home from unnecessary damage looks at laying flooring. Check out the previous posts on painting & decorating, gardening and tiling.

With several home improvements shows on TV making it look effortlessly easy, one DIY project that’s been gaining in popularity is laying down your own flooring – whether that’s wood, vinyl or laminate.

With specific products geared for the DIY market, it should be fairly simply to throw some boards down, fix them together, and have a brand new floor over a weekend, right?

Well besides making sure you actually know what you’re doing and having all the right tools for the job (you may need quite a few), if you’re going to tackle a new floor this spring, you’ll want to follow these key tips:


Always prepare the floor in advance

With most jobs, preparing is a key part of the project, but with flooring, it’s essential. Not only do you need to strip back any existing flooring, you’ll also have to ensure the subfloor is suitable for laying on.

That means taking the time to smooth out and level the whole area, ensuring it’s firm and dry. All boards should be secure and flat, and you might want to consider underlay to reduce noise. Without this prep, you’ll find everyone clatters over the new flooring and makes a racket!

Don’t forget to let the flooring acclimatise to your room too, or you’ll find the wood can warp or bend with changes in temperature. If you’re bringing it from a cold warehouse, you’ll need to just let it sit in the room for a couple of days before attempting to install it.


Account for the expansion gap

Yes, you’ve heard of the expansion gap, but you don’t actually know what you need to do about it. This is a big mistake with DIY flooring.

Flooring will naturally expand and contract with changes in temperature and moisture levels. It needs space to do this, otherwise it will cause damage in one way or another.

You’ll need to make sure you leave a small gap all around the room to account for this. But don’t leave an excessive gap, as it will look silly and unnecessary. You don’t need to leave gaps between boards either, which some DIYers try and do. 


Allow plenty of time to finish the job

Perhaps the most common pitfall in DIY flooring is just underestimating how long it actually takes. And that doesn’t just mean the fitting itself. Once complete you’ll need to leave it a few days before walking over the floor, especially if you have new wooden floors that need to cure.

That means planning ahead, and being prepared that a full room in your house will be out of action for a number of days.


Make sure you protect your floor

You should consider protecting your newly laid floors too, as if you do have to walk across them, you don’t want to cause any damage until they are fully ready. Breathershield is ideal for protecting floors whilst allowing them to breathe and cure, and is really simple to lay.

We have also created our own unique range of temporary protection for flooring – Proplex. It comes in all shapes and sizes, and is perfect for protecting your floor from any damage, whatever the occasion.

If you’ve gone to all the hard work to lay new flooring, you’ll want to keep it looking great for as long as possible.

Our blog on choosing the right type of Proplex will help you decide the best options for your floor and your circumstances, but if you need any extra help or advice, just send our team an email, or call them directly on 0800 834 704.


The final post in our series on DIY projects and how to protect your home from accidents is on rearranging furniture and moving homes.

Next post: Rearranging Rooms Or Moving Home? Protect Your Furniture And Your House!