Fitting an engineered wooden floor (floating system) is a labour and cost effective way to a new floor, as few tools are needed to lay it, and it usually comes with a finish applied by the manufactures. Because of the way it’s engineered these floor are more stable than solid floors so can be laid over concrete subfloors, and are the only realistic wooded choice to be laid over under floor heating.
The first step and most vital step is to ensure that the subfloor is dry and does not have damp issues, this can be easily checked with a damp meter that can be purchased cheaply for any DIY shop. Assuming the floor is dry, prepare the subfloor. In the case of a wooden subfloor, walk over the entire floor checking for squeaks and loose boards. Wherever the floor is loose secure it with a screw to keep it down. In the case of a solid subfloor ensure the subfloor is not crumbling and is secure. Once satisfied, check the floor is level and flat by sweeping a 3m straightedge across the floor. If the floor is not level or uneven, it will require levelling with sanders, planers or levelling compound. Once satisfied that the subfloor is prepared, it is recommended that all skirting boards are removed (though edge mouldings can be used if preferred).
After that, trim the bottom of any door frames by placing one of the floor boards next to it and marking how high the board comes to on the frame. Then slowly saw through the frame to the required height.
Next you need to lay a damp proof polythene membrane and a 3mm foam underlay, you should lay the underlay in the same direction as the new flooring (usually the longest wall). You are now ready to lay the wooden floor.
Cut the first row of boards to length along the chosen wall, ensuring the grooved edge of the board is facing the wall. This row is then pushed against the wall leaving a 10mm gap. This gap is then filled at 300mm centres with 10 mm packing spacers (please note if the wall is out these spacers maybe 13 or 14 or 15mm etc but never under 10mm, it is vitally important that the row of wood is straight not the wall). You are now ready to lay the second row of boards, ensuring a 10mm gap at the ends of the row, slot the groove of the wood into the tongue of the first row using a knocking block and hammer. Using a floor jimmy, crowbar or knocking block to push the boards into the tongue and groove at the butt end of the board continue this process using the waste piece of one end of the previous board to start the next row until the floor is covered.
Once the floor is down remove all edge spacers and the floor is ready for the skirting boards to be refitted, if skirting boards where not removed a finishing moulding would need to be fitted to cover the edge expansion joint.
Please note with engineered flooring there are several tongue and groove systems, either the classic tongue and groove or self locking systems. In the case of classic tongue and groove, the tongue and groove will require gluing, with a PVA adhesive along the groove as you lay the boards.