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How to lay wooden flooring

How to lay wooden flooring

One of the biggest flooring trends of late is textured hardwood. Distressed and hand-scraped patterns, in pale shades of washed grey and oak – it’s an easy way to give your home a modern and stylish look. And the best part? You can fit it yourself, without the help of a professional.

Follow our step-by-step guide on how to lay wooden flooring and the job will be done in no time.

Six steps to hardwood floor installation 

1. Remove old flooring

First things first, you need to empty the space of furniture and remove any existing floor coverings. This includes carpet, laminate, vinyl and tiles, as well as any gripper rods or adhesives. Ideally, you should aim to start the hardwood installation with bare concrete or basic wooden floorboards.

2. Prepare the subfloor

To achieve the best results, preparation is key. Start by inspecting the subfloor and making sure it’s as smooth and level as possible. Look for any damage and vacuum away surface dirt and debris.  

It’s also important to check for moisture. This can be done using a moisture meter, but if you don’t have one to hand, a sheet of polythene works just as well. Simply tape it to the floor overnight and, in the morning, check for discolouration of the concrete or condensation on the polythene. If you do find any signs of moisture, be sure to invest in underlay with an in-built damp proof membrane.

3. Acclimatise the hardwood

Before you lay the wood floor, store it in the installation room for around 48 hours. Each pack must be sealed and laid perfectly flat, with a 4cm gap between each to promote air circulation. This may seem like a pointless or even silly exercise. But, we guarantee, it’s a worthwhile step – that will help to minimise expansion or shrinkage of the wood after its installation.

4. Lay wood floor underlay

The next step is to put down underlay. This can significantly enhance the look of your new hardwood flooring, whilst also improving its acoustic and insulation properties – so it’s worth investing in a good one. Here at the Carpet Underlay Shop, we recommend either the Royale 7mm Fibreboard Underlay or the Royale Sonic Gold Foil 5mm Wood Underlay, with its effective moisture barrier. For more information on how to lay underlay correctly, you can also check out our ultimate beginner’s guide.


underlays that are ideal for a hardwood installation


5. Start the wood floor installation

Once the underlay is down, you can then start the hardwood installation process.

Lay the first board in the left-hand corner of the longest wall, with the tongued-edge facing towards you. Be sure to leave a 10mm expansion gap between the flooring and wall. Then, move horizontally across the room. Introduce the next board to the end of the first at an angle of 30°. Lower it into place and, when the two are connected, you will hear a small click.

This process should be repeated until you reach the other side of the room. You may need to cut the last piece to size and, if the off-cut measures 30cm or more, this can be used to start the next row.  

Hold the piece at a 45° angle and push the groove into the tongue. Continue throughout the room until the entire space is covered and make sure all joints are at least 200mm apart.

6. Add the final touches

The final stage is to add a skirting board or floor trim. This is, essentially, to hide the expansion gap. Measure each piece carefully and cut the corners at a 45° angle, so that they fit together neatly. Finally, apply adhesive to the back (not the base!) and hold in place until it sticks to the wall.


room after hardwood floor installation


Get in touch for further guidance

If you would like to stay on-trend and lay wooden flooring for the first time, please feel free to get in touch. Our team are always on hand and happy to help. Not only can we offer useful tips on how to lay wooden flooring, but we can also advise on the best underlay for your specific hardwood floor installation. Either give us a call on 0203 887 0994 or send an email to

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  • Carl Smith