Click together flooring is an easy way to get a wood-look floor without forking out the big bucks. The name says it all. The pre-finished planks just click together; no messy glue or nailing is needed. It’s a simple job that’ll transform your home as well as adding durability.
Start by removing your existing floor covering. This process will vary depending on the type of flooring you have. Carpet should just pull up whereas tiles need to be chiseled off. If you have a lot of tiles or you find they don’t come up very easily you might need to hire a breaker or jack hammer to make life easier. You want a level surface to lay your flooring on so make sure you remove any adhesive build up and pull out any carpet tacks and nails. Preparing the floor properly before laying the surface boards will make a difference to your end result.
When your floor is clear, check it is level. Lay a straight edge over your floor. It should not have more than a 3mm deflection over 1m. If your floor has a hollow of more than 3mm per metre you’ll need to fill it. To do this you can use a self levelling compound. If your floor has any large humps you will need to grind these off if it is concrete, or sand down if it is wood.
Remove any skirting or use an undercutter to remove the bottom of the skirting to allow for the flooring to fit underneath it.
To remove skirting, run a utility knife around the top of the skirting where it meets the wall. This will prevent any paint or wallpaper from peeling off when you remove skirting. Then slide a flat bar behind the skirting, hammer then gently pry off. A sabre saw is also a pretty handy tool for removing skirting. Be gentle when removing skirting if you are planning to reuse it as you don’t want it to split.
Check the room for any architraves that are going to obstruct your floor planks. You may need to cut these architraves down so your flooring can fit neatly underneath. To do this, first check how much you need to cut off. Place an offcut of your flooring on top of an offcut of your underlay to get the height of your floor. Then use a hand saw or multi-tool to trim the architrave to length.
Give your floor a good vacuum to remove any bits left on the floor.
Roll out underlay then tape it together using the tape edge on the side. Do not tape underlay to the existing floor. The underlay should fit snugly up to all the walls without overlapping at any point. Take your time to lay underlay smoothly as you don’t want any crinkles or folds in it.
Now lay your flooring. Start along the longest wall. Start at the left-hand end. Ensure the tongue side of the flooring is facing out and lay planks end on end. Insert wedges or packers in-between the wall and flooring to create a gap at least 10mm wide. This will allow for any expansion of the planks.
The trick to laying click together flooring is to slide planks into each other, lightly push until you hear a click and then push down into position.
When you come to cut the last plank in the first row, rotate it 180° so that the tongue is facing the tongue of the installed plank and place 10mm away from the wall. Make a mark where the two planks meet. This is where you need to cut. Cut the plank to size and clip into place. Use the offcut of this plank to start the next row.
Continue to lay out the planks in the same way as the first. Stagger your joins so that there is no obvious laying pattern. Allow a minimum of 400mm between joins for strength. Remember to slip the wedges or packers in occasionally to keep the 10mm gap all the way around the room.
When you come to laying the last row in the room you will probably need to cut the plank to a new width. There are a couple of different ways you can go about this.
You can measure the gap of where the last plank will go and transfer this measurement to your new plank– remember to allow the 10mm gap.
The second option is to lay out a row of planks directly on top of your last row, move the planks 10 mm towards the wall. Take a full width piece of flooring offcut, lay this on top of the plank to be cut and push up against the wall. Move the offcut along the wall scribing a line along the edge to mark where you need to cut. Cut out the shape using a handsaw or drop saw and click into place.
Remove old nails from skirting and lightly sand before fixing back to the wall with finishing nails and a hammer.
Anywhere the new floor meets existing flooring it’s a good idea to install an aluminum cap or fill the join with silicone to help with any expansion. To neatly apply silicone, place tape along both sides of the join and apply silicone in-between.