Securing loose boards
For suspended wood floors — boards laid over floor joists — start by lifting the old floor covering and checking that all the boards are securely fixed to their joists, and that they are reasonably flat and level. Loose hoards will creak annoyingly: when walked on, and raised edges or pronounced warping may show as lines through the covering.
Use either cur nails or large oval-headed nails to secure loose hoards, and then recess their heads slightly using a nail punch.
Covering the existing boards with a hardboard underlay is an alternative to floor sanding as a way of ensuring a smooth, flat surface ideal for thin sheet coverings. Lay the boards in rows with the joints staggered from row to row, and pin them down with hardboard pins driven in at 15 dojo in spacings. Lay separate strips above pipe runs.
If preparing to lay glazed ceramic or quarry tiles on a suspended wood floor, put down exterior-grade plywood.
Where old floorboards are very uneven, or it is planned to leave them exposed but they are badly stained and marked, hire a floor sanding machine. This resembles a cylinder (reel) lawnmower, with a dorm to which sheers of abrasive paper are fitted. A hag at the rear collects the sawdust; however, always wear a face mask when sanding floors. Also hire a smaller disc or halt sander for finishing off the room edges.
If necessary, drive any visible nail heads below the surface before using the sander. When sanding floorboards, always raise the drum at the end of each pass to prevent the abrasives from damaging the boards while the
machine is stationary
LAYING A HARDWOOD FLOOR
1. If hardboard sheets are used as an underlay for a new floor covering, start by punching in any raised nail heads all over the floor.
2. Nail the headboard sheets to the floorboards at 15 cm/6 in intervals along the edges and also 30 cm/12 in apart across the face of each sheet.
1. Use a floor sander to smooth and strip old floorboards. Drape the flex (cord) over one shoulder and raise the drum before starting the machine up.
2. using coarse abrasive paper, nun the machine or an angle of 4D° to die board direction to begin with, first in one direction and then at right- angles to the original passes.
3. Then switch to 2 medium-grade abrasive and run the sander hack and forth parallel with the board direction. Finish (AI will, fine-grade abrasive.
4. Use a smaller disc or belt sander 10 strip areas close to the skirting’s (baseboards) and door thresholds, where rho larger drum sander cannot reach
PREPARING SOLID FLOORS
Ground floors of solid concrete are prone to two main problems: cracking or potholing of the surface, and rising damp caused by a failure in the damp-proof membrane within the floor structure. Cracks and depressions may show through new floor coverings, especially thinner types such as sheet vinyl, while dampness will encourage mould growth beneath the covering.
Relatively narrow cracks can he patched with a repair mortar of 1 part cement to 3 parts sand, or an exterior-quality masonry filler. It the floor surface is uneven or pitted, it can be covered with a thin layer of self-smoothing compound. The mixture is made up in a bucket, poured on to the floor surface, and trowelled out to a thickness of about 3 mm/Vs in. The liquid finds its own level and dries to give a hard, smooth surface which cane walked on in about 1 hour. For best results, leave it to dry for at least 24 hours before laying your floor covering over it.
An alternative approach is to cover the concrete with a floating floor of chipboard (particle board), if raising the floor level will not cause problems at door thresholds. The boards can he laid directly on the concrete over heavy-duty polythene (plastic) sheeting, which acts as a vapor harrier. If additional insulation is required, put down polystyrene (plastic foam) hoards firsthand lay the new flooring over them. Treat damp floors with two coats of a proprietary damp-proofing liquid.
LAYING A SELF-SMOOTHING COMPOUND
1. Sweep the concrete floor clear of dust and debris. Then scrub away any parches of grease with strong detergent solution. The surface is very dusty or appears unduly porous, seal it by brushing on a generous coat of diluted PVA building adhesive(white general-purpose adhesive).
2. Mix up the self-smoothing compound in a bucket, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure that the mix is the right consistency and is freeform lumps. Starting in the corner farthest from the room door, pour the compound out on to the floor surface to cover an area of about 1 sq mill sq ft.
3. Use a plasterer’s trowel to smooth the compound or to a thickness of about 3 mm or 1/8 in. Mix, pour and level further hatches as required.
LAYING A CHIPBOARD FLOOR
1. You can level and insulate a concrete floor by laying a floating floor of chipboard (particle board) over it.
Put down heavy-duty polythene (plastic) sheering first.
2. Tape the sheet to the walls; this will be hidden behind the new skirting (baseboard) later. Then carefully butt-joint 25 mm/ 1 in polystyrene (plastic foam) insulation boards.
Cover the insulation with tongued-and-grooved flooring-grade chipboard. Use cut pieces to fit as necessary, and add a tapered threshold (saddle) strip at the door.