Category Archives: Flooring

Flooring Repairs for the Home Handyman

Timber floors do not often give much trouble, and such problems as do arise are frequently caused by the boards being lifted, for repairs to plumbing or electrical services under them, and improperly replaced. Many of these can be cured quite easily, with a few woodworking tools and a certain amount of upheaval, as carpets and furniture have to be moved to give access.

Repairing holes and gaps

Unless your floorboards will be on show, repairs to holes and gaps are carried out mainly to stop draughts and dust rising through them. Small holes can be stopped up with wooden plugs or wood filler; gaps between boards can be filled with thin strips of wood glued, tapped in and planed flush.

Large holes, usually the result of damage, should be cut out completely and replaced with new wood. If the boards are tongueand-groove, your first job is to use a padsaw to cut along the join between the damaged board and its neighbour, to sever the tongue. Next, the end of the board should be prised up with a claw hammer or floorboard bolster, once the nail heads holding it have been punched in. Wedge the end of the board up so that you can saw off the damaged section at the centre of the next joist along. Cut a piece of new board to fit the gap, remove the lower lip along its grooved edge and slot it into place, nailing it down to the exposed halves of the joists at each end.

An alternative method is to cut out the damaged section using a padsaw, cutting at an angle of 45° between two holes drilled in the board. The new piece of board is cut to fit, and is supported on fillets of wood screwed to the sides of the joists.

If the gaps between boards are sizeable right across the floor, it is better to fit and re-lay all the boards, nailing each One in turn tightly against its neighbour as you work. This process will leave a large gap along the skirting board at one side of the room, which should be filled with a new board cut down to the required width.

Boards that are improperly fixed squeak and bang when trodden on, and may warp, causing ridges to show through your floor-coverings. Nail down all loose boards securely; to force a warped edge back into place use screws, rather than nails which will be pulled up by the spring in the board.

Sanding floorboards

If you want to clean up old floorboards and leave them exposed, you should hire a floor sanding machine. This is rather like a cylinder lawn mower, and rotates belts of abrasive paper against the floor surface, picking up the dust like a vacuum cleaner as it goes along.

Before using the machine, punch down all nail heads carefully, to prevent them tearing the abrasive belts. Then begin to sand the floor at an angle of 45° to the board direction, using coarse abrasive. Change to medium and finally to fine, running this time parallel with the boards. To reach right into the skirting boards, you will need a small rotary or orbital sander, again used with a selection of abrasive papers. Once the surface is completely stripped, sweep up carefully, and if you intend to paint or varnish the floor, wipe it over with a rag dipped in white spirit. Then you can apply the finish of your choice.

Re-screeding concrete floors

You can patch small areas of damage in concrete floors with a cement-based filler or ordinary mortar. But if the surface is crumbling and dusty, the best solution is to cover it with a new screed, using a self-levelling floor screeding compound. Sweep the floor to remove all loose material, mix up the compound with water as recommended, and pour it out on to the floor surface. Trowel it out to cover the entire surface; the mix is runny enough to level itself out, and dries to leave a hard, smooth surface layer a few millimetres thick, and the perfect base for new floor coverings.

Wooden Flooring Installation Techniques

Real wood floor coverings come in a variety of types. Wood mosaic panels — fingers of wood made up into squares — are one of the most attractive, and are easy to lay in a variety of patterns. Woodstrip floor coverings are either small, solid planks, usually with tongue-and-groove edges, or panels consisting of hardwoodContinue Reading

Economical and Practical Floor Coverings

Vinyl floor coverings in sheet and tile form are perfect for use in kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms and WCs where a durable, smooth and easy-to-clean floor surface is required. Sheet floor coverings are now made in widths of up to 4m (13ft) — wide enough to cover all but the widest rooms in a singleContinue Reading

Carpet Laying Yourself

Laying carpets is a job within the capability of many do-it-yourselfers equipped with the right tools and a certain amount of patience. The most difficult part is tensioning the carpet correctly across the room, and for this reason it is probably best to lay your first carpet in a small room free of too manyContinue Reading

Flooring Improvement Ideas

Flooring is one of the most expensive decorative items, so you can’t afford to make mistakes. Be practical first, then make decisions about colour, pattern and texture. Being practical involves thinking about various different aspects of your floor covering. What is it going to cover? – (it’s not usually a good idea to put ceramicContinue Reading

Types Of Carpets And Floor Coverings

These can provide the most comfortable and warm of coverings, but need not be really expensive. You may avoid cleaning problems later by choosing carpet with care. Consider, first of all, how much you intend to spend, and how much traffic there is in the room — high heels, children and pets can all beContinue Reading

Carpeting a Stairway

Measure the total length of stair carpet required by adding the height of a riser (the upright portion of a step) to the front-to-back width of a tread (the horizontal portion that is trodden on). Multiply by the number of risers and then add the height of one more riser. Now add about half aContinue Reading

DIY Tips on Wood Floor Coverings

Original wood floorings laid in older houses were thick in section and required a great deal of expertise to lay them. But their modern counterparts, designed for the DIY market, are relatively simple to lay and most of them are no more expensive than a top quality vinyl or medium priced carpet. Provided it isContinue Reading

Laying Wood Block Flooring

In the past wood blocks were used for the most expensive floors in our great houses. Nowadays this splendid material is used more and more because there are available thinner blocks, cheaper and easier to handle. Old block work was frequently done with wood up to two or even three inches thick. However, since wearContinue Reading

Laying sheet vinyl

Large rolls of sheet vinyl can be laid just as easily as the small tiles. Of course the pieces are much larger and heavier to handle but the basic operations are the same. First we must shape the vinyl pieces to fit the floor area including making the proper shapes around any projections. This partContinue Reading

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