There are so many benefits to DIY flooring installation. Not only is it a chance to develop new skills and gain a sense of accomplishment, but let’s be honest... it’s nice to save some money too.
The first thing you need to know is that there are a variety of different ways to install flooring. However, the installation type will depend upon the flooring you choose and the materials it’s composed of.
While there are numerous benefits to doing the installation yourself, such as experience and cost savings, you should adequately research your options to avoid running into complications. This is why we've put together a step-by-step guide to advise you through the process of DIY flooring installation.
Choosing your new flooring can be a difficult process with plenty of aspects to consider, from the cost of the boards to whether it needs to have underlay or can accommodate underfloor heating.
If you are thinking of installing it yourself, then the complexity of installation can help narrow it down. For example, you will want to avoid choosing a solid wood floor for the bathroom because it is less suited for high-humidity areas.
Instead, to get the most out of your flooring, you will want to choose a flooring type that won't be impacted by your home environment. Take a look at our graph below to compare the pros and cons of each flooring type and check which is most compatible with you and your needs.
The easiest type of flooring to install is a floating floor. This is when the boards are linked together on top of the subfloor with an underlay beneath the boards to even out the surface, which helps to prevent damage. It also provides other benefits such as comfort, noise reduction, and insulation.
Laminate, LVT, and Engineered Wood can all be installed as a floating floor. However, should you choose to buy your LVT from us, you will not need an underlay (because we've already incorporated it within the board for you).
Laminate and LVT often feature a ‘click system’ which allows the boards to snap together and lie in place without any nails, grout, or adhesives. Whereas engineered wood features tongue and groove joints which are held together with glue, making the process slightly less beginner friendly.
If you plan to install your flooring to concrete or another moisture-prone material, the flooring manufacturer might recommend a moisture barrier to protect your flooring. Some types of underlay are also moisture barriers, while others will require a thick plastic sheeting beneath the underlay to provide a moisture barrier. If your flooring manufacturer doesn't mention this to you, then make sure you ask the question before taking on the job yourself.
Once you’ve picked your flooring, you will need to ensure that you have the right tools for the job. Below is the basic equipment you will need for a floating floor:
Always make sure you give your flooring enough time to acclimatise to the room it is going to be installed in. Otherwise, changes to the humidity could cause problems for you later down the line.
Give your boards enough time and space to breathe. You can do this by leaving them laid out in the same room you plan to place them in.
When acclimatising your boards, it is best to not stack the packs and never store them leaning against a wall, as this can lead to them warping or bending. If you are installing the flooring onto underfloor heating, you should take them out of the pack and lay them on the floor to acclimate.
The type of flooring you choose will decide how long you need to leave it to acclimatise. See below a list of flooring types and how long each one requires to acclimatise to your home.
Laminate Flooring: 48 hours
LVT: 48 hours
Engineered Wood Flooring: 48-72 hours
Solid Wood Flooring: 5-7 days
Test fitting is an important step to ensure you will be happy with your installation. At this stage, it helps to cut a tile to experiment with how your flooring can look. It is important to note that with a click system, you can lock the side joints together, but you should be careful not to lock them end-to-end; this process is difficult to undo and forcing them apart can damage the boards. Once you are happy, make a note of your favourite layout and neatly stack the boards somewhere nearby and out of the way.
If your chosen flooring requires underlay, simply roll out the sheets across the floor in one direction. You will want to do this in a way that they are touching but not overlapping and secure the seams with tape as recommended by the manufacturer. Using your knife, carefully trim the underlay to fit against the walls.
To install a ‘click system’ floor (also known as a floating floor) start at a straight wall and click the boards into place along the wall, making sure to leave a 10mm gap.
Repeat this process for the rest of the floor, ensuring you follow the same pattern from the test fit. Always be sure to leave a 10mm gap for each edge - this includes walls, radiator pipes, door frames, stairs, and any other flooring. Don't worry about how this looks for now - you can hide this gap later with beading or skirting. Just remember that this will need to be at least 12mm thick to allow for any shrinkage.
The process is nearly identical for a ‘tongue and groove’ floating floor; however, glue is required between each board.
To be able to glue your flooring you must have a suitable subfloor. Flat, wooden floorboards or concrete work best; and you must ensure that the moisture levels are suitable for your chosen flooring.
Use a flexible flooring adhesive to allow the flooring to expand and contract with temperature and humidity changes. Apply the adhesive to the subfloor and place the first board on top of the adhesive leaving a 10mm gap from the wall in every direction. Place the next board down, pushing it to the first. There is no need to glue the boards together as they are secured to the subfloor. Repeat this process until the floor is covered.
When it comes to DIY flooring installation, laminate, and LVT are the easiest types to install without compromising on style or durability. They're also the most cost-effective to buy; making them the perfect budget-friendly option, whether you are a DIY enthusiast or not.
Still stuck? Give us a call and we will happily talk you through all the flooring options to help you decide on the best one for you.