Floor laying

With the week off work I’m finally getting into the tough stuff. It’s been a hard day but I didn’t forget to take some pictures for the blog.

For anyone thinking about doing their own flooring, I’ve put together the following guide for laying yellow tongue.

This is by no means the finished floor, but is an excellent base for laying floorboards on top. Gone are the days of floorboards fixed direct to joist; they creak & move, plus have a terrible energy rating. The plan is to lay 19mm hardwood boards over the top when time and money permits, until then the yellow tongue is somewhat liveable.

To remove the skirting boards, score the paint with a knife first so the paper face on the plasterboard doesn’t rip. Then pry off the wall starting at a join if possible, and where a stud is so you don’t break into the plaster. It’s best to use a wide chisel for this.


Start by cutting the boards parallel to the joist, so they are a manageable size. This will help lifting them and disposing of them. Make sure you set the saw depth to no deeper than the thickness of the boards; you never know what’s lurking beneath (wires, gas lines, water pipes)


Being an old home, there’s always surprises. Most floorboards should stop at the wall, as the bottom plate of the wall frame sits on the joist. This snapped instead of just lifting, which means I found an old doorway where they did the framework on top of the boards.


This needs to be cleaned up In line with the wall. I cut as close to the wall as possible with a circular saw, then finish with a sharp chisel. I’m sure there is a tool out there to do this quicker (Dremel maybe?) but I have done it the the old fashioned way.


Where the old doorway was, the joist ran away a bit, so to ensure the flooring is well supported I glued and nailed an extra length on.


After removing the boards, you need to de-nail the joist, a tedious job indeed. The claw couldn’t get these without hacking all the plaster (I know it gets hidden and has loads of previous damage) so I bought a new toy for the compressor. A good pair of pincers would also do the trick.


Sweep any dust and debris off the joist then apply a good bead of construction adhesive to the joist. The adhesive does make walking on the joist difficult (without making a mess) so measure where the next sheet is going and only apply enough for one sheet at a time.


Sheets get laid across the joists, spanning a minimum of 3 joists. Any smaller and you will need to add trimmers for more support. Nail 200mm apart along the joist, and 100mm at the ends of the sheet. I like to put in two nails on the sides that are slightly skewed away from each other to really lock the sides down.


Use a heavy rubber mallet or block of timber to beat the new sheet into the previous one, to really secure the tongue and groove joint together.

All sheet cutting is done with a circular saw. Remember to measure twice; cut once!

The finished product is a sound and solid substrate, ready for a finished floor.



2 thoughts on “Floor laying

    • Yeah I’m going to be a noisy neighbour this week, sorry. I should throw a huge party at the end to celebrate (joking), but you could come over for a glass of wine.

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