DIY SOS - Laying floorboards on joists - Tips/Advice

WeegyAVLover

Distinguished Member
Hi All,

The House DIY projects continue and hopefully this year will see the house completed in time for us starting all over again to redecorate (I am bloody jokin about that one! :)). This year we are hoping to get the spare room and the study/3rd bedroom and hall./stairs/landing completed this year.

I have lifted the carpets in both the rooms and the 2nd bedroom floor is not great so we need to patch in floorboards to get it looking good. The guy we have used before has said we need additional floorboards to get the flooring done. Our plan is to lift the floor in the study so it matches the wood in 2nd bedroom and hopefully any such patching work that needs to be done hall/stairs/landing can use this same wood.

I plan on lifting the floor this weekend plan to order more wood from the timber merchant afterwards and laying this myself. Now I understand about staggering joists and having joins on joists sitting half way for each. However what I am looking for is for anyone who has done this before or is in the jonery trade that can give any tips for achieving the best results.

- where is the best place to start laying the floor i.e. the corner next to the door? furthest away corner from the door, etc?

- I have a chimney breast on one wall, does this affect anything in the plan on laying the floorboards?

- obviously no room is perfectly square how do I make sure my boards are laid straight and not running off?

- should there be a gap left around the room walls to allow for expansion/contraction - is there a general guide on how big/small this gap should be? 5mm/8mm/10mm/12mm for example?

- Should I use screws or nails? If so any recommendations on either?

Is there any other general hints and tips you have ( NO I WILL NOT GET SOMEONE IN TO DO IT FOR ME :D) that I have not asked or considered above.

Thanks
Col
 

aVdub

Distinguished Member
Is the flooring going to be on display?
 

aVdub

Distinguished Member
Yes it will be sanded and finished by a sanding company.


Oh OK, that sounds nice.

If possible take off skirting and board wall to wall and allow 5/10mm and place skirting back on.
We used a pulley (similar to drivers straps) to pull boards together, which works on the first board being dead straight and well fixed down, and then pulling other boards towards this first board (only if needed)

We used nails and with another area (Caberdek) we used glue and screws.

I'm not a professional by any means and is only what we did.
 

has2mow

Well-known Member
My top tip would be to buy the timbre and store it for a few weeks before fitting, this will give the moisture content of the new floor to be time to adjust to its new environment.

The new floor could expand or shrink depending on the moisture content of the new boards and your home.
 

brunation

Well-known Member
Another DIY-er ....

obviously no room is perfectly square how do I make sure my boards are laid straight and not running off?
Set square - will make it true to the joist.
You can check the existing ones, once you have a few off.

Room square - will mean finding the centre and working back from it. See floor tiling sites on how to do that.


- Should I use screws or nails? If so any recommendations on either?

If screws, use an impact driver.

Since it'll be on display, all screws/nails in the tongues. Also, make sure the gaps between boards (i.e. tongue joint) are regular - maybe make a shim (?) for this.

I would centre drill any dwangs and put in string pull-throughs.
 

WeegyAVLover

Distinguished Member
So you can see what I am dealing with
A0B0B740-01BA-4895-AEDA-90833E9B5160.jpeg
D3FDE390-E8A6-42AC-AC8F-1BB6E288E928.jpeg
0CB2A4CC-C7AE-4CA2-BE19-8387B23DD212.jpeg
3F7E06F3-580A-43C9-A3F1-C5F893A6B058.jpeg
 

brunation

Well-known Member
Is the pipe work on left at the socket staying?

I would just repeat their layout ... starting from the door or the landing behind it.

Good luck with salvaging some of those boards ....
 

WeegyAVLover

Distinguished Member
Oh OK, that sounds nice.

If possible take off skirting and board wall to wall and allow 5/10mm and place skirting back on.
We used a pulley (similar to drivers straps) to pull boards together, which works on the first board being dead straight and well fixed down, and then pulling other boards towards this first board (only if needed)

We used nails and with another area (Caberdek) we used glue and screws.

I'm not a professional by any means and is only what we did.

As you can see skirting boards are off already so good to go on that front. As moving the T&G joins closer together I had planned on using an off-cut, hammer and brutal precision tapping.

My top tip would be to buy the timbre and store it for a few weeks before fitting, this will give the moisture content of the new floor to be time to adjust to its new environment.

The new floor could expand or shrink depending on the moisture content of the new boards and your home.

I was going to try and arrange this so the wood was in the house for about a week or so. Just struggling for space in the house at the moment with the 2 rooms out of action, so find places to put 16sqm is a challenge so we are not tripping up over it.

Set square - will make it true to the joist.
You can check the existing ones, once you have a few off.

Room square - will mean finding the centre and working back from it. See floor tiling sites on how to do that.

By this you mean place floorboard on joists, then use lip of set square to sit on joists which will give me a 90deg angle then use this to see how off the wall is before I start. I can then cut wood accordingly so it sits straight and maintains gap along wall?

If screws, use an impact driver.

I am looking at these screws:

pack of 200 - probably need a few packs

Since it'll be on display, all screws/nails in the tongues. Also, make sure the gaps between boards (i.e. tongue joint) are regular - maybe make a shim (?) for this.

So rather than put the screws through the top of the board, put them in through the tongue? Obviously (I assume) at an angle back into the board so not to prevent the next board being able to slide into the tongue.

I would centre drill any dwangs and put in string pull-throughs.

Do not think there are any dwangs between joists, but could be proven wrong when I lift the floor.

You have prompted me to ask another question:

- for each floorboard should I screw it into each joist? every second joists? and obviously at each end of the floorboard.
 
Last edited:

WeegyAVLover

Distinguished Member
Is the pipe work on left at the socket staying?

I would just repeat their layout ... starting from the door or the landing behind it.

Good luck with salvaging some of those boards ....

No and yes. Its for a radiator which is going to be moved to nearer the window, so those pipes (which again are awful) will be removed and new ones installed, once the floor is lifted.

I have also been thinking about that as well and using the old old boards as a template.

As for the other comment, I would say about 20% of the floorboards are already going to be thrown out as previous owners have used expanding foam to fill gaps and had a few of them up already so the tongues are long gone
 

aVdub

Distinguished Member
Any reclamation yards near you?

You might be able to do the whole lot in decent period wood at a lower price than you might expect....Hmmmm, well...perhaps.
 
If you are planning to sand and finish the floor look up secret nailing online. You can do this with a secret nailing tool or with screws and joist/floor board clamps.
You will then not have any nails or screws that will damage a sander.
 

has2mow

Well-known Member
@WeegyAVLover

From someone who is 2.5 years on a renovation project I fully understand.

People who have never undertaken a full house restoration and living in it will never understand why you keep such a clean house afterwards.

I have watched your house build for some time, got to say well done sir, and I doff my cap to you.

Cut some packers and stack it up so the air will get between, otherwise you may regret it if you don't.
 

its_all_Greek

Distinguished Member
Haven't the other floors that you have sanded got the nail holes in them already?

Are you happy for this floor to look newly laid or would you prefer a more reclaimed type look?
 

WeegyAVLover

Distinguished Member
Any reclamation yards near you?

You might be able to do the whole lot in decent period wood at a lower price than you might expect....Hmmmm, well...perhaps.

There are and they sometimes have old floorboards in but rarely in the widths or quantities I am looking for plus I live in Glasgow which has a large Victorian Housing stock so reclamation yards are pretty pricey.

If you are planning to sand and finish the floor look up secret nailing online. You can do this with a secret nailing tool or with screws and joist/floor board clamps.
You will then not have any nails or screws that will damage a sander.

I think that is the technique that @brunation was referring to.

Haven't the other floors that you have sanded got the nail holes in them already?

Are you happy for this floor to look newly laid or would you prefer a more reclaimed type look?

Yes they do but the floors do not have a rustic look so I am not overly concerned about whether the nails or screws are visible or not.

What do you need advice on? replacing the full floor with floorboards or just patching up.

i am lifting the floorboards to be used elsewhere. I am looking for advice on laying a new floor.
 

27neth

Distinguished Member
Start off on the straight wall on the left side. Find the straightest longest lengths you can find. If nailing through the face use 65mm lost head nails, if secret nailing hire a floorboard nailer.
The plaster should not reach down to the floorboards so you can start inline with the line of the plaster so your skirts will cover the floor Boards.
To keep them straight and parallel measure off the opposite wall at both ends of the floor then use a string line along the length of the floorboard. Hire a pair of floorboard clamps (They hook over the joists ) to keep the boards very tight. When you join boards on a joist, pre-drill the floor boards or they will split.
When you reach a sleeper wall make sure there is no bounce on the joists as packers may have come out when you have ripped the original floor up. If there is bounce re-pack the joist.
Probably more but that’s all I can think of at the moment 😁
P.S if your not used to using a hammer you will have a lot of hammer dents in your floor if surface nailing it...
 

outoftheknow

Moderator
So rather than put the screws through the top of the board, put them in through the tongue?
I see you were looking at secret nailing so no not the tongues :) you nail (actually look more like staples) through the bottom of the groove. I suppose the screws will dig in with an impact driver without any countersinking (which would extend time somewhat).

I reckon you nail/staple/screw on every available bit of wood underneath. No way you want to find and fix squeaks with secret fixing I reckon.

Personally I think the staple things delivered from a nailing gun on every available joist will last fine. Go for the screws if you prefer a bit of peace of mind (assuming they do what they claim) :)

Finally check for dodgy gas pipes and electric cables through big holes close to the top of the joists before fixing into said joists. They shouldn’t be there but I’ve seen them when lifting floorboards.
 

aVdub

Distinguished Member
OH And run as many cables + more than you can think of before fixing the floor down for good. I ran some rope in mine to chase cables I forgot about in 15 years time as well 😀
 

Wahreo

Distinguished Member
Pop some Wood effect LVT down. It looks so good nowadays and won’t require any maintenance whatsoever. It’s embossed so looks like real wood. Not many people would be able to tell the difference.
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
Pop some Wood effect LVT down. It looks so good nowadays and won’t require any maintenance whatsoever. It’s embossed so looks like real wood. Not many people would be able to tell the difference.
Agree, any wood from a timber merchant is likely to shrink and twist like b*. Personally I would fill gaps with plywood and use LVT. Much warmer and easy to clean
 

WeegyAVLover

Distinguished Member
I know this thread is about me laying the new floor but I am lifting the old floor today and I am
Hitting an issue with the lifting.

it would seem the floorboards have nails through the tongue so they are hidden and a nail on top at the groove side.

so I am finding the tongue is snapping off with each board I am lifting.

I am using various sized crowbars but wonder if one of those pallet bars might be more useful.

Any advice?
 

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