Prepare the old floor
Before you start laying your new floor, there’s a bit of prep work to be done. Use a hammer, chisel and pinch par to pry the skirting boards from the wall. Take care that you don’t break the skirting so you can re-use them when you’re finished. Another option is to make new skirting boards part of the makeover! If you’re laying over an area that was carpeted, make sure any staples or nails that were holding the carpet down are removed.
Set out your new floor
A bit of planning before you start laying will make all the difference to the look of your job. Choose the longest run of flooring boards, which may be the longest wall of a room or down a hallway, as your starting point. If you just start against the nearest wall, the line of boards might get crooked at the point where it is most obvious. Set up a stringline along this line.
To cushion the floating floor it sits on foam underlay. Roll it out, taping it together at the joins. Start laying the boards along with your stringline, clicking the ends together as you go. If you’re using a wall as your starting point, cut the tongue off the boards on the first row and lay this side to the wall. Use plastic spacers to leave a 10mm gap to the walls to allow for any expansion. Where the end of the row meets a door, cut the last board to length, not forgetting to leave a 10mm gap to the wall.
Make the transformation
Continue laying rows of boards, occasionally checking that your first row is still on the stringline. The boards simply click together but may need to be persuaded together with a gentle tap. If this is the case, use an offcut of board to protect the edge from the hammer blow. Stagger the joins between boards on adjacent rows to avoid a long line of joins across your floor. Use the offcut at the end of one row to start the next so there’s less wastage.
What to do at a door
Where your boards are running through a doorway, you will need to cut the door jamb and architrave so the flooring can just slide under them without having to worry about a gap. The easiest way to do this is with a powered multi-tool. Push an offcut of flooring against the architrave and jamb, sit the blade of the tool flat on the board then cut the architrave and jamb at this level. When you get to laying flooring here, simply the new boards under jamb and architrave, hiding the edge.
The door may also need to be cut to suit the new floor level. Use the board to mark the new floor level on the door, remove it then use your circular saw to cut a further 10mm up the door to give it a bit of clearance to the floor. Rehang the door.
Once the floor is laid and cut in at the edges, finish off by reinstalling the skirting boards, which also covers the gap between the floor and walls. In areas where it’s not practical to put skirting, such as against the kickboards of kitchen cabinets, use a small cover strip that matches your boards. Where the new floor meets a different flooring surface or an external door, transition the edge of the board using a cover strip made by the same manufacturer as your boards.