2 Preparations

Keep it in style - conservatories have their value

Homeowners who are looking to vamp up their home should know adding a conservatory can up the value of their property, according to idealproperty.co.uk.


Stephen Dyer, managing director at idealproperty.co.uk, explained that so long as they are appropriately built to reflect the character of the home, conservatories are a welcome additional.

They also create more space in the home, as does relocating excess items from the home into a self storage unit.

"If they are of sufficient quality, carefully planned and properly funded and well constructed they [conservatories] can add significant value," said Mr Dyer.

"They should blend in and be part of the main property, not a room that's too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer."

He stressed that good planning is needed to ensure the ultimate outcome of a conservatory is positive to the home's character.

Integrate by same floor covering


If your living room has a wooden floor, adding this type of floor covering in the conservatory too will give this new room a more integrated feel.

Wood-Engineered boards are highly suitable to be installed here, due to their construction they can tackle changes in temperature and humidity much better than solid floor boards.

Quick fix before restoration can start

DIY conversation in our email inbox: (do you have a question yourself - use this form to ask us)

We have a 1950's-1970's parquet flooring in the kitchen and dining room which is in need of some tlc, however as we plan to lift it and re-lay it at a later date when we knock the two rooms into one, for now we would like a 'quick fix' for the kitchen area which is damaged.
The floor has a small area which has been covered by furniture which appears to be bare wood, small areas of grey wood where the current surface (wax, polish or oil, i'm not sure) has worn and small areas of water damage.
We do not want to sand it at this stage and were planning on using white spirit and wire wool to remove the existing surface coating. What would be the best product to then apply to match the original surface coating?
Many thanks in advance.

Hi Kay

Nice floor! And worth restoring - when the time is there.
For the time being you could treat the floor with a suitable maintenance product to keep the wood protected against more water spillages. Wire-wool etc will not completely shift the original finish so there might be colour differences until you can sand everything back to its bare wood again.


The best product to use for now - which does mean "hand and knees" work - would be the Power Wax (Solid wax). In the olden days this was used to treat bare wood (a coat of 4 - 5 applied), but in this circumstances you could apply 1 coat over areas still "covered" by the existing oil/wax finish and 2 coats (at least) on the bare areas.

Available in small tins or in 2.5 kg tins.

Hope this helps

Kind Regards
Karin Hermans - Wood You Like Ltd

Many thanks Karin.


Porch: solid or wood-engineered?

DIY conversation in our email inbox: (do you have a question yourself - use this form to ask us)

Last stage of flooring project

Wood You Like's famous buffing block - eco-friendly and effectiveNow that I have finished restoring all five of my parquet floors following your sound advice and fitted new oak skirting, architraves and doors(I have many photographs which I am going to send to you) AND after using your polish and buffer (bumper in RAF parlance) the floors are really looking terrific.

Last stage is to fit an oak floor in my small entry porch which measures only 2.5m x 1.5m (less than 4sqm) and is currently tiled and quite level.For this I would like some advice.Is it better to fit a solid oak timber floor or an engineered wood one?I would like to fit something like 18mm thick by 90-105mm wide by varied lengths.

Thank you for previous great service and courteous understanding,

Sincerely Yours, David H - Sussex

Wood-engineered for areas with rapid changes in temperature

Hi David

Looking forward to you pictures!

In a porch you normally have rapid changes in temperature (no heating I guess) and even lots of moist when people are coming in from the rain.
Wood-Engineered would be better there, is more stable than solid. Although narrow Solid Oak could be an option too, but with the widths you suggest you do need to fully bond the floor to a suitable underfloor. You can't really easily glue over tiles, so they have to come up or have plywood screwed down first.

Is that something that can be done in your situation?

Thanks for reply to my query. If I just fit an engineered floor can it be just laid straight over the tiles(glued) or do I need to put down the plywood as well? Seems like engineered flooring is good quality these days.

The oak strips you sent to me arrived safely in the long tube-no damage and are just the thing I needed.


Floating installation - simplest solutions

Hi David

When you use Wood-Engineered boards you can install them floating on a combi-underlayment (contains a DPM to prevent any sweat and condensation of the tiles reaching the wood) by glueing the T&G's correctly.

Glad to hear the strips arrived safely.

Kind Regards and have a very nice weekend
Karin H - Wood You Like Ltd

(This very week, David kindly sent the following feedback:

As usual your answer was succint, well ventilated and appropriate. In addition the speed of your replies were quite brilliant. Your service overall can hardly be bettered in my opinion. However, the fact that you are always trying to improve is reflective of your business and great credit to your whole team and the philosphy that drives you. You deserve to succeed (as you appear to be) in your chosen field.
David H

Wood-engineered highly recommended for

SolidFloor TM Vintage Range 15/4 wood-engineered Oak floor highly suitable for kitchens

all areas where there is more chance of moist and/or high humidity, for instance in:

  • kitchens
  • kitchen/dining area (open plan living)
  • bathrooms
  • hallways
  • porches

Floor show in above image is SolidFloor (TM) Vintage - Jura - Oak rustic - scrubed knots - edge distressed - hand scraped - smoked - natural oiled - 15/4 range (15mm total thickness with 4mm Solid Oak top layer)

More hand-on tips for DIY installation

160 pages Wooden Floor Installation Manual by Wood You Like

Thinking of installing your own wooden floor? The "Wooden Floor Installation Manual", written and published by Wood You Like Ltd, contains 160 pages of hands-on practical tips.

Very frequently asked: removing bitumen from blocks

One of the questions we frequently find in our inbox or hear on the phone:

How do I remove bitumen from my wood blocks?

Wood blocks covered in bitumen

In the olden days, bitumen was considered The product to stick down wood blocks or original mosaic floors (and plastic tiles). Simple, cheap and doing its job, until....

The bitumen gets brittle and looses its grip between block/fingers and the underfloor. Leaving you with more and more loosening blocks (and we've heard plenty of stories of little fingers disappearing in vacuum cleaners). Plus more often than not, reclaimed blocks are offered with bitumen still attached.

If it wasn't for the fact that:

  • bitumen is no longer allowed to be used in the house
  • modern adhesives do not bond with bitumen residue

the problems wouldn't be so difficult to solve.


remove bitumen from wood blocks in a nature friendly way

If the blocks are thick enough, the best way to remove the bitumen residue, specially if it is a thick and.or irregular layer, is to use a thickness planer. You might lose the tongue and groove, but with the modern adhesives this is not such a problem. Once firmly stuck down in their bed of adhesive (applied with a notched trowel to a clean floor) and given 24 hours to bond the blocks will go nowhere and are ready for sanding.

Or, using the features of bitumen to your advantage, you place the blocks in a freezer. The cold will make the bitumen even more brittle and easier to chisel off. A stain of bitumen left on the blocks after the chiseling is not a problem, the only thing to be aware of is that it then might take 48 hours for the blocks to fully bond when stuck down with adhesive again.

What not to do:

Trying to sand the bitumen off. This will cause friction = heath = melting bitumen = clogging up your sanding paper and even spreading bitumen back onto just cleaned areas of your block.

Remember two things:

  1. the more bitumen you can remove, the better it is in the long run
  2. although it can be quite a bit of work, you are restoring a wonderful and long lasting floor of which you will be proud of once the hard work has been done, plus are re-using a hardwearing floor covering and saving the planet's resources.

Call it a work of love, love for natural products and nature, all in one.

If you need information and "7 easy steps" to repair/restore your own original parquet floor, read our special and much read/used guide.
Beneath the steps you will also find highly recommended products to use, but none of the chemicals some recommend to remove bitumen the "quickest" way. Chemicals are not really quicker and definitely not "user or nature" friendly!

All the way to California

DIY conversation in our email inbox: (do you have a question yourself - use this form to ask us)

Would love to use Elastilon, but am advised against it.

Our "reach" online goes a long way.

I am planning to install 5/8" x 5 & 1/8" T&G Maple engineered hardwood flooring. I will be installing over concrete in a 20 year old home. An installer friend said I need to either glue down plywood and then nail the floor to this or glue directly to the concrete. I would like to use Elastilon as it sounds easier and would add some sound barrier and cushion. He said this will ultimately not work as you can not float a T&G Engineered Wood floor. It will buckle or gap after a few years.

In researching Elastilon, I am having trouble finding any good reviews, most say they like the concept but no one seems to have used it. I am stuck as to which way to go. Can you help? I am located in the US - California.
Mark W.

International Reviews on Elastilon

Elastilon self-ashesive underlayment for wooden flooring, available from Wood You Like - Kent

Thank you for your question. Your fitter friend is mistaken (but this can be down to regional difference in installation methods and experience of course). !5 x 130mm Wood-engineered can be installed using the floating method, if the boards are longer than 400mm average.
With Elastilon you do not really "float" the floor, the boards are truly stuck down - on the underlayment, not on the concrete floor.

You can find reviews here - even some from "your neighbourhood" in Northern America
(Elastilon has its own US based website here)

Decision made - Elastilon it is

Based on your answers and some comments I received from others, I have decided to use Elastilon. My friend is not sure it was the right decision but since I will be doing most of the work, I am comfortable with it. I do not yet have the wood so have not started to install. I will let you know how it goes in about a month.

One concern I have is the largest room is 20 feet wide. Will this be OK? On one of your pages (I think, I have looked at a lot of information) I saw that the limit is 5-6 meters wide which puts me right there. Any thoughts?


Rules of Thumbs

The "rule of thumb" on that particular page is for Solid (Oak) flooring, with wood-engineered boards you're good up to 11 meters wide.
(Side-note, do keep in mind these rules ar on width of the actual wooden floor, not just on the width of the room. See also our article "Keeping your wits about widhts!"


Thanks for your help. I will let you know the outcome next week.
Mark W - California

Here are a couple of pictures of the first room in the works. I think it turned out rather well considering it was our first try. I particularly like the way the floor has a slight “spring” to it so it does not feel so hard when you walk on it.

Rolls of Elastilon rolled out to start the installation of Maple Wood-Engineered flooring
Progress on the installation of Maple Wood-Engineered flooring over Elastilon self-adhesive underlayment
The finished result of the Maple Wood-Engineered by Mark W from California

Nice work, Mark. You deserve a place in our DIY Showcase Gallery

Looking for suitable underlayment, you will find various types of underlayment in our secure webshop, including Elastilon Basic

Stunning unique convex and concave pattern - one year in the making!

As far as we know, this must have been the absolute ultimate DIY project: one whole year from "thought to fruition" and not without a set-back once in a while. But determination has paid off and we can only congratulate our persistent DIY-er Cyril and have the deepest respect for the task he had set himself.


Cyril's first idea for a design parquet pattern

Early May 2010 (06.05.10) we received Cyril's first email about the above pattern: would this be feasible in wood strips glued down to a concrete base? Once we discussed the options there were (making sure the strips would be as long as needed to avoid joints in places not wanted) Cyril visited our showroom (driving down from the south coast on his bike) where Maple (his preferred wood species) grades were further discussed.

Back on the south coast Cyril had a rethink and thought, why keep things simple:

When straight lines are not simple enough

Now, I'm not a mathematician but that does look very complex, but nice. A bit like a 2 dimensional "Wovin wall".

I guessed (correctly, see Cyril's reply) the amount of saw-waste for this pattern would be tremendous:

I have worked out the saw waste. In fact a did this very early on. Your phrasing 'an over average percentage of "saw-waste"' made me laugh. When I worked out the percentage of the wood that is wasted by this design I almost cried. There will be an most as much saw dust as pattern wood.

Even when it turned out our Design Parquet manufacturer can do many shapes and patterns, as long as the lines are straight, Cyril pressed on.
It not ready-made, then hand-made is the way forward. He "simply" made his own jig to cut the desired pattern out of specified on width solid Maple tapis parquet.

The making of this bespoke jig turned into a project of its own.
As Cyril explained to me it he turned it into a complete "factory line":

The principle of Cyril's factory line with jig number 3The Jig is design to take a plank. When making the first cut of a plank, it is inserted into the jig (as shown by the dotted line) and the three sides of the piece is cut. I then slide the plank into the jig until it hits a stop (as shown by the dashed line). At this point I can cut the last side of the first piece and the first three sides of the second piece. With the first piece cut I can remove it and slide the plank to the stop. With the plank once more against the stop I can then cut the last side of the second piece and the first three side of the third piece. I continue in this manner until I am left with a off cut that is between 40 - 138 mm long. This off cut will be used for the soldier.

The plan the cut three planks at a time. I will stack three planks and place then in the jig. This way I speed up the cutting process by a factor of 3 (every little help when you have 2584 piece to make). So having three plank the same length will help keep the factory line going for longer.

2 "prototypes" further down the line the jig was ready:

The third jig for the Convex and Concave maple design parquet floor The plate was made by a design engineering company called Safire, based in Southampton. I mounted the plate on a wooden base and added two quick release clamps, to allow me to quickly release and secure the wood between cuts.

The first test of this clamp revealed a few teething problems. At first I was not getting a consistent shape tile. I worked out the wood must be moving very slightly dew to the force of the router cutting bit. This problem was fixed by gluing sand paper to the bottom of the Jig plate and to the jaw of the clamps. The next problem was that the wood would not sit flat against the jig plate. I believed this was caused by the clamps not applying even pressure to the wood when locked. I managed to get a more even pressure by applying tension between the two clamps (see the red string put under tension by a piece of wood under the jig).

In the process of getting to this point I found that using the router created a lot of dust. So I looked at how I could attach a dust extractor to my router. I found the simplest way was to attach the hose of the dyson to the router. I was surprised at just how well this worked. You can see wood chips on the floor of each picture so it did not capture everything. But it did capture all the small Particles of dust. So when I finish the test the wood was on the floor and not in the air.

So with all of this done the jig is ready to go. It still has one problem but I think once I start using the real wood it will not be an issue."

He hoped. But as it turned out (being September 2010 by now) the router bearings he used were not up to the tasks at hand. After waiting for what seemed like ages new bearings finally arrived only for him to discover there was a problem with the collar - holding the bearings in place. Off to order a new collar only to find out that had a defect and off to order a replacement.
All the while the "factory" stood still.

"So the saga continues. I am takeing bets on whether I will get it done by Christmas...... I am not saying which year"

Subfloor down - November 2010

We always recommend to install an Industrial Grade Oak 7-finger mosaic subfloor first when you plan to install a Design Parquet floor onto a level and dry concrete floor. This subfloor will enhance the stability of the complete floor, plus provides the smoothest surface you can have - sanding the subfloor smooth will save you time and effort sanding the design parquet floor, illuminating many height differences before you start the installation of the (valuable) top floor.

And besides, it's a simple job:

I have laid the wooden sub floor and plan to sand it this weekend. Can you thank your suppliers for me? Having the fingers lay out on the string latis make laying it very simple.

Christmas came and went

The bearing kept breaking, no matter what. Even the manufacturer couldn't find faults and a second cutter - different brand this time - broke down too.

So once more I am looking at the jig to try to determine what is causing the router cutter bearing to break. I have an idea about what is causing the bearing to brake on the jig. I will be making some minor adjustments to the jig. When I get some new bearings I will give it another go.

I may take you up on your offer at a later date. But for now I will wait to see what effect the change to the jig makes.

By the way I was able to cut 32 pieces before the bearing broke. I have laid the pieces out and I am very pleased with what I see. The light is reflecting off the pieces just as I imagined. Using the jig gives a very accurate cut so the pieces fit together very well. Keeping them in place when gluing will be a problem but I will cross that bridge once I have cut out all the pieces.

So when I said "I just wanted to update you on my progress over the holiday" may be I should have said "I just wanted to update you on my lack of progress over the holiday".

Two weeks later: hooray!

The first result of the Convex and Concave Maple Design Parquet FloorWell..... The revision I had made to the jig seem to have worked. I used the jig for over 8 hours and the router cutter bearing did not brake. I used a jig saw to cut the piece to a rough size before using the router to cut the finished piece. I am glad to say that about 95% of the pieces are as I expect. Hopefully this will be good enough.

I was hoping to cut 60 pieces an hour but because I have to cut each piece to a rough size first, I am making 27 pieces and hour. Therefore, it will take me a while to cut the 2584 pieces I need. At least now I seem to have worked out all the problems and can start the production line.

It was a minor change to the jig that make all the difference. The outside corners of the jig were pointed. I notice sparks flying off the corner with a double circle, in particular. So I got these corner rounded off.
If I am not careful it will still spark. But it looks like this simple change has made a big difference. Here is a picture of the pieces I have cut so far.

Cutter not cut out for the works:

Factory line standing still on the Maple floor project Luck run out again for Cyril, once again caused by the bearings. Different make of cutter, while both brands using the same bearings, meant they broke after 6 pieces. The first brand cutter was out of stock, hence the switch to brand two. With the result of having to shut down the factory line again until the "old" cutter was available again.

"So just when you think the end is in sight the plot takes an unexpected twist"

A hundred working hours later

Then, end of April:

Well I am pleased to say that I have cut all the pieces for the central section. It has taken over 100 hours of work ( my fingers are feeling a bit stiff from the work out of holding a router trigger for so long). In fact I have finished gluing them down too.

Before sanding

Hiring a decent sander to finish the works came with its own problems Cyril discovered:

The unsanded Convex and Concave Maple Design Parquet floor When I spoke to you on Friday the floor had been laid and glued. All I had to do was sand and polish. With a extra long weekend it looked like I would get it finished. What can I say, nothing ever seems to go as you would expect with me.

On Saturday I went round a few hire shops to hire a re-finishing sander. Only one shop had one available so I took it with some sand paper. I could not start on Saturday because I had an appointment but I thought I would set up the sander and test it ready to start work Sunday morning. Just as well I did. Would you believe the sand paper would not stick to the bottom of the sander!? I contacted the hire shop. They had given me the sand paper from a new batch they had just opened. They checked the remaining sand paper in the batch and sure enough the batch was faulty. They found 3 sheets of 60 grit sand paper. But this was no way near enough paper for me. So the floor is still unfinished. I hope to finish it this weekend. In the mean time here are some pictures of the floor in its un-sanded state.

One year and three days after initial email:

09.05.11 Ta-da!

It has been a long while coming but it is here. I have now laid to main section of the floor and here are the pictures.
I just have to do the transitions and I am finished.
A friend came round and had a look at it. He suggested I rebuild the house and the floor, as the floor was too good for the house!

Thanks for all your help and advice. Your book was very helpful and I would recommend it is anyone.

Cyril, it has been an absolute pleasure to help you any which way we could (unfortunately we're wood people, and know absolutely nothing about bearings, cutters and collars I'm afraid). Don't think many would have continued a huge project like this with all the problems thrown your way, but you kept on going regardless and you have every right to be absolutely proud of the results: it looks stunning!
You've earned your place in our "Hall of Fame" more than anyone else as far as we are concerned.

THe Convex and Concave Maple Design Parquet floor in its full glory! The finished result in detail: Convex and Concave Maple Design Parquet Pattern


Down the drain?

Installing a wooden floor is not rocket science - as our Wooden Floor Installation Manual can tell you all about - but the correct preparations can save you a lot of time, money and problems.

One of the main things to prepare before you - or your professional fitter - start installing a wooden floor on a concrete underfloor it is good practice to check the moist content of the concrete.

Moment in time

More often than not this check for moisture gives you either the green or right light to start the actual installation. But never forget, the result only tells you the moist content of the concrete floor at that moment in time! So if you suspect moist problems, or had had problems before, even if the moist check now tells you to "go ahead" with the installation, make sure the cause of your former problem has been solved properly.

And on the other hand, a dry concrete floor now does not always mean it will stay dry for ever. Think of leaks, rising damp etc.

Drain problems

If, in the event there is a moist problem later on and the moist check carried out straight before the installation gave the "all clear" it pays dividend to investigate all possible causes, as we ourselves discovered recently.

A solid Oak mosaic floor was installed a few months ago, concrete floor checked for moisture conditions and readings showed the concrete was below 2% moist content. However, the floor did come up after a while. We suspected a moist problem and investigated. Not just inside the house, but we also had a good look around the house. Often patios are build incorrectly where (rain) water runs towards the house due to the slope of the patio, leaking or damaged gutters can have an effect on the in house situation too. And, as we thought could be the reason here, large plants, trees or shrubs planted or gowning too close to the walls.

When plants are more than beautiful


To cut a long story short, a Drain Doctor confirmed our suspicion the old Wisteria planted very close to the wall outside the effected room had managed to grow its roots right through the drain and was causing a blockage - causing moist to enter the concrete floor from below.

From the Wisteria Website by Francesco Vignoli we have to following information on these very strong roots of this beautiful shrub/plant:

The roots: The wisteria roots spread so strongly and abundantly that if planted near walls or pavements they can easily grow into them causing serious damage . To prevent this from happening it is advised, whilst planting, to insert a corrugated plastic panel which will force the roots to take other directions, as they are unable to pass through it. Place the plastic panel (at least 2m long) 80cm deep, between the plant and the wall or pavement (or the surface to be protected). In the case of walls and pavements made with cement this problem does not exist.

The clients are now waiting for "the Doctor" to repair the drain and then the wait begins for the concrete to dry out completely before the mosaic floor can be reinstalled again.

So, be warned: moist checks only give you a result of that specific moment and be careful when planting large, beautiful shrubs. They can turn around and bite you! (Well, they can bite their way through your drains.)

Select Your Floor - unique guide

Selecting a wooden floor for your home, with its specific character and your own specific interior design wishes, can be a daunting task. Specially now there are so many different wooden floor types, wood-species and finishes around.

So, if you "can't see the trees for the wood", Wood You Like's "Select Your Floor" guide will give you a helping - guiding - hand.

How to use this guide


The guide starts with a few simple multiple choice questions where each answer you select brings you "deeper" into guide - helping you to fine-tune your choices.
Simply select the answer you think most suits your wishes and/or circumstances and we'll bring you to the next "level" of options, again with a next multiple choice question drilling further down on your personal preferences until you've found the most perfect floor type and finish for your home - solely based on your own answers.

And when in doubt, you can always go back to the last question you answered and "try another route". You're definitely in the lead here, we're just helping you to navigate towards your goal.

So, put your most comfortable "walking shoes" on - slippers will do, fill your thermos flask with your favourite beverage and "off we go".
Click here to start the voyage into the wonderful world of natural wooden flooring. Let's find your (proverbial) tree in the woods!

Underfloor heating 'an attractive renovation'


People who are planning to carry out renovation work on their property may be considering trying out underfloor heating.

Installing heating under floors and real wooden floors is currently very popular among homeowners, according to a spokesman from QEP Vitrex.

He explained that one of the most attractive things about having the flooring in the home is that it has a large "comfort factor" as no-one likes having cold feet.

It is also good for people who plan on selling their properties, as "it is seen as a positive factor in the housing market and it is a positive feature in the house," the expert added.

The current lull in the housing market makes the present time ideal for carrying out renovation work, in the view of Joe McLoughlin, director of OurProperty.co.uk.

When installing UFH and wooden floors, you have to be aware of certain issues: solid floorboards are a no no, wood-engineered floors are much stabler and suitable for this. The only solid wood floor you can install safely on UFH is (design) parquet 10mm. Always follow the UFH manufacturers guide-lines. Start-up procedures should be followed before, during and after the installation of your wooden floor, you can request these steps here.

In our showroom you will find the widest selection of UFH suitable wooden floors, give us a call now on 01233 - 713725 to discuss your options.

Is your home improvement adding money?

Eighty per cent of UK residents think that renovating or improving a home is better than selling in the current environment 


  • New families may want to create extra space it they cannot afford to move to a bigger property
  • Others may simply want to make the best of their home while they are unable to move up the ladder
  • Some homeowners may be planning to boost their property's value before an eventual sale

Be careful with the last reason

Some renovations are just money down the drain

Trying to add value with a renovation project needs careful consideration as it is easy to spend more on renovations than any gain in house price you may make.

Before increasing your borrowing to fund renovation plans you should decide whether your main aim is to add value to the property that you hope one day to recoup, or whether you simply want to improve your living space.
If your aim to make a profit over time, you need to do your research on the types of renovations that add the most value for the least outlay.

  • Loft conversions and extensions can add up to 20 per cent in value. However, they can cost anything from £ 13,000 to £ 37,000, which means you might not make a profit when you sell.
  • A new kitchen will typically cost about £ 20,000 but the value that it is likely to add varies between 5 and 20 percent.

(source Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Building Cost Information Service - BCIS / estate agent Savills)

Do not expect to get your money back immediately, as much will depend on wider house price trends. If you are looking on renovations as an investment, aim for a quality finish, but do not get carried away or you will wipe out any potential return:

If you have a really dowdy kitchen, replacing it can make a big difference, but upgrading your kitchen when it is already good-quality is unlikely to make much of a difference to the property's value.

Simple changes, biggest impact - but...

Cheap cosmetic changes, such as redecorating, often give the biggest value boost relative to expense, typical costing about £ 1,500 but with the potential to increase a property's value by up to 12% (see also Abbey National's - nowadays Santander - survey results).

Dodgy DIY can decrease the value of your home

DIY-renovations may seem to make money-saving sense, but if the finish is not up to scratch, you can damage your property's appeal.

A recent survey of estate agents by the insurer LV= found that poorly executed DIY could lower a property's value by up to 5% and invalidate home insurance.

Use the professionals when in doubt


Using professionals as part of a home improvement project may well be a good idea, the findings of a new study suggest.

Santander Insurance found that, with families looking for ways to cut costs in the current economic climate, 72 per cent of people planning to undertake home improvement work intend to do it themselves. It quizzed respondents about their capabilities and 37 per cent said they were confident they could fit floor tiles, while 13 per cent even said they were happy to tackle bricklaying or concreting.

However, the insurer estimated that DIY mishaps cause more than £330 million worth of damage a year in the UK.

Santander Insurance UK's chief executive Miguel Sard said he understood why homeowners wanted to save money, but urged them to consider their limitations before embarking on any renovation work.

"When it comes to the electrics of the house or major construction work, it is just not worth taking the risks. Get it done professionally," he added.

Homeowners looking to install new floors may find that a flooring contractor is the best option for them. As well as fitting the new flooring, a good contractor will also provide advice on the best surfaces for the space.

Changing trends?

Renovate with your own taste in mind, you'll get the best results

Various interior designers predict a change in trends, not as in look and colour, but in reasons for renovating/redecorating:
Renovate properties 'to express your taste'

Giving a home a new look should be about expressing yourself and showing off your taste, according to one expert.

Writing for Mercury News, interiors author Marni Jameson explained that while in the past people have decorated their homes in a bid to attract potential buyers, now the time has come for homeowners to indulge themselves.
She explained that since many homeowners do not have a choice at present about whether or not they will move house, Ms Jameson said that they may as well make their home improvements for themselves alone.

Recently, Anna-Marie DeSouza, editor at Build It, suggested that many homeowners will be buying big items in the coming days to beat the tax increase on January 4th 2011.

And Phil Spencer (Location, Location, Location) advises homeowners to consider fitting wood floors.
According to the television program host, installing wood floors can be a good way to make a home more attractive to property buyers. Wood floors are a particularly good choice for families, as they are easier to clean than other flooring materials.

However, the property expert advised homeowners to carry out work now rather than waiting until just before they are ready to sell up and move on.

"There is no point improving your home just before you sell. You might as well do the work straightaway if you can and get the benefit out of it yourself."

Wood floors can be a popular choice for homeowners looking to add a defining feature to a room, as they are capable of adding character and warmth to any space.

Herringbone patterns are set to become the next big thing in wooden flooring fashions.

According to the designer Wendy Cole, wood floors are set to remain one of the most popular options for people redesigning their homes.

However, the huge choice of products and finishes now available means that wood flooring trends are bound to change from time to time. Ms Cole said new fashions are already developing and explained:

"From a design standpoint, large herringbone patterns are replacing boards."
However, anyone who does not like the herringbone look need not worry about getting left behind, as some styles of wood floors are timeless.
"Linear strip wood remains a stalwart, as it gives the illusion of a larger, more open space," Ms Cole added.

DIY expert Bridget Bodoano recently told the Guardian there are several affordable engineered wood flooring products available which could be suitable for people who want to install a herringbone-patterned floor in their home.

Wood - what's not to like?

Natural Wooden Flooring, Oak Rustic brushed and oiled wood-engineered flooring

When choosing for Natural Wooden Flooring you will start to enjoy the many benefits this floor covering gives you from day one on:

  • easy day-to-day care and maintenance with the knowledge that a clean wooden floor is really clean and doesn’t hide house dust mites etc
  • a ‘solid’ investment that keeps its value over years to come and is a quality feature to promote when the time might come you start thinking of selling your home
  • one of the most anti-allergic floor coverings you can have, a real benefit for Asthma, allergy and even eczema sufferers
  • eco-friendly, for every tree used in wooden flooring from sustained forests new trees are planted and trees are nature's way of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and producing the oxygen we breathe.

Having natural wooden flooring installed creates not only beauty, durability and an upgrade in the value of your property; it is also means you have a floor covering that is hygienic, anti-allergic and only needs the minimum of easy maintenance.

Selecting the perfect natural wooden floor for your own home from all the different floor-types, wood-species and finishes available can be a daunting task. Some suppliers are more than willing to send you small samples, but these will never be able to show the full and varied character natural wooden flooring has.

You could of course traverse to a selection of retailers to see what's on "show" in their showroom and try to remember which floor from which store you and/or your partner liked best.

But there is another, easier way!............................. "Sample" in the comfort of your own home

Which floorboard thickness to select: when and why

With so many different floor types to chose from, we know it can sometimes be rather a challenge to know which one to go for and which ones to avoid.
We can't select your ultimate look of the floor, grades and finishes are down to personal taste after all, but we can give you a guideline in determining what floorboard thickness you can get away with to create the right ambiance in your home without going "over board".

Traffic and levelness

Two main considerations to keep in mind when deciding between the main 3 floorboard thickness now commonly available in the market: expected traffic over the floor and the levelness you have under the floor. A third consideration is Underfloor Heating (UFH)

13/3 boards (13mm total with 3mm Solid top layer)

Traffic: light to normal
bedroom, study, tv-room
homes without small children or big pets
homes with "semi-retired" owners

Levelness: flat to very gentle slope
10mm thick boards will flex (bounce) when the underfloor suddenly dips.

: no

15/4 boards (15mm total with 4mm Solid top layer)

Traffic: normal to heavy
normal household
small offices, specialised small retailers/shops (5 - 6 visitors a day), reception areas

Levelness: flat to slightly uneven
15mm can take on more unevenness without flexing, slopes should not be more than 3mm per meter and in one direction

UFH: yes on concrete or level plywood floor using flexible adhesive to fully bond the floor - no on battens

20/6 boards (20mm total with 6mm Solid top layer)

Traffic: heavy to intense
busy households
large and busy offices, shops and other commercial premises with many visitors/shoppers a day
village & school halls
gyms and dance schools

Levelness: slightly uneven to directly onto joist
20mm is load bearing and - depending on the backing used - boards are very rigid

UFH: definitely yes

Price Range: £ 55.00 - 76.00 ex VAT per sq m

Examples of choice - same grade, same finish

Floorboards 10mm thick, Oak Rustic, oiled natural

13/3 Rustic Oak, oiled natural

Floorboards 15mm thick, Oak Rustic, oiled natural

15/4 Rustic Oak, oiled natural

Floorboards 20mm thick, Oak Rustic, oiled natural

20/6 Rustic Oak, oiled natural

Floorboards 10mm thick, Oak Nature, oiled natural

13/4 Oak Character, oiled natural

Floorboards 15mm thick, Oak Nature, oiled natural

15/4 Oak Character, oiled natural

Floorboards 20mm thick, Oak Nature, oiled natural

20/6 Oak Character, oiled natural

See more options

You can see many of the options in our online shop

Too hot to handle

We love to sell a wooden floor, to anyone who enquirs after one of our quality products. It's our business, so no surprise there then.

But sometimes you have to say: no, sorry, in this situation we strongly advice against installing a wooden floor.

Wood You Like's speciality - design parquet flooring

This week a lovely couple came to our showroom to look at our design parquet floors. Oak Rustic herringbone was firmly on their mind, which is of course a lovely choice. With them I discussed how we would install the wood blocks on their concrete underfloor: first a subfloor of Oak Industrial Grade mosaic on to which the individual wood blocks would be glued and pinned down in the required pattern. Sanding, filling and applying a natural HardWaxOil finish would follow the works.

The estimated measurements of the area (large hallway) were translated into a hand-written quote and an appointment for Ton to carry out a survey, to measure more precise and check the underfloor, was made for today (Friday 26.11.10).

After the survey Ton returned to our showroom, where normally all the details are turned into a specified quotation, mailed (or emailed) as soon as possible to the client. Except today it didn't go that way, Ton discovered the concrete floor was "too hot to handle"!

When winter exposes a "weak link"

Too hot to handle, central heating pipes blocking wood floor installation

The concrete was hot enough to bake an egg on it! Presumably, when installing the central heating many years ago, not enough insulation was used between the water pipes and the concrete surface, or the pipes were not laid deep enough. Makes you wonder sometimes where British Building Standards stand for or why some plumbers get away with this type of shoddy workmanship.

Installing a wooden floor which needs to be glued down in this situation would end in tears. The adhesive will sooner or later (sooner no doubt) fail and blocks will start to come loose and/or shrink and buckle. Ton advised them to consider tiles, which are better suited for these "hot" circumstances. The client were both disappointed and glad this issue had come to light.

If the survey had taken place in Summer this "too hot to handle" situation had not come to light. Central heating works completely different than water underfloor heating systems, where the temperature of the water in the pipes is set to a maximum in order not to cause problems to the floor covering and is switched on continuously. Central heating water pipes transport hot water to the radiators when the demand is there, getting really hot and then again cooling down, making any wood floor very, very nervous.

So, when your floor is installed in Summer and starts behaving strangely at some places when the central heating is switched on, check the surface temperature to see if hot water pipes are running beneath it before you call your fitter back to complain. Although all professional fitters try to for see all situations, some tricky situations come only to light when you least expect them. And if you know water pipes could be running close to the concrete surface: tell your installer, no matter what the season is.

Solid Problem

DIY conversation in our email inbox: (do you have a question yourself - use this form to ask us)

Ash lifting, despite screws

We received the following details on a flooring project giving the owners a few headaches:

Hello, we found your website this morning and are very impressed with all the content! We have been searching for a few days for some info regards our recent purchase of ash flooring so wondering if you could help?

We bought 110 sq m of 18mm solid ash, lacquered, 135mm wide with lengths 600-1800mm to do the whole house that we are rebuilding. They have been acclimatising inside the house since april (although without heating), when we opening the packs the long top planks almost sprung out and were bowed by about 5cm at each end which has settled down over the summer.


In July we laid two rooms (3mx2.5m and 2.5m by 2.5m) with expansion gap of 10mm around all edges using tongue tite screws on every board, 3mm foam underlay onto the floorboards. Last month the last few planks started to lift at the end length edges and it had appeared to use up the gap at one small section, so we lifted and relayed again using screws but this time leaving a 3mm spacer every third board (as advised by our joiner friend) as well as an increased gap at the edges of 15mm. We also didn't screw down the first and last rows of boards.

Within a few days it has started to lift at a similar place to before but not as badly (about 3mm up). These sections appeared to have used up the spacer gap on each side of them but not the edge one. As it is happening at the ends does this mean that we should try to seal the cut ends to try to stop the moisture getting in? As I believe Ash moves more than oak is a 3mm spacer every 3 boards sufficient for it?

The biggest room to lay is the lounge which is 7.5m x 6m, would the same plan work for here? And lastly as the floorboards are level does it really matter if we lay the floor at 90 degrees (if we do this in the lounge it will mean that the width will be the longer dimension.)

I know from your site that you PVA glue the tongue and groove so it may be hard for you to comment on this technique, but any general pointers relating to ash would be most gratefully received.

Kind regards, Gregor and Miranda.

Know your nervous wood-species

Hi Gregor

Thank you for your question. You are right, we have no experience with those screws for the simple - perhaps too simple - reason we don't believe you can screw a floor down.
(One of our purchasers of the Installation Manual gave us feedback on the tongue-tite screws here)

It is indeed worrying the boards jumped out the pack the way they did. It could indicate a problem with the wood it self. When a floor keeps expanding after having acclimatised for that long it can also indicate a moist problem in your home.
Ash can expand and shrink much more than Oak - it's therefore one of the wood-species not recommended to use on UFH.

With Oak the rule of thumb is 3mm gaps per meter width of the room with a minimum of 10mm. For Beech - another "nervous" wood this is 7mm per meter width. 10mm in a room 2.5 meter wide is not enough for this species but reading that even creating a gap of 15mm AND using spacers between every third boards did not help does look like a moist problem in the home.

Not sure what to suggest really. For the larger room you should consider a divider in the middle (with Oak 6 meter wide is the maximum you can go with a solid floor - knowing Ash works more I would be reluctant to say it can easily be done without a divider in the middle - where you "turn direction" of the T&G so that the Tongue faces the other wall in one half than in the other half of the room).

Are you able to take moist readings? Both of the floor already down, floor still in packs and the air humidity?

Feedback and update


Thank you for your prompt response, it probably helped confirm what we were thinking.

Just to give you more information, we ended up relaying the 2 small rooms where it lifted - lifting by shearing the screws having expanded and touched a wall. Though as the first row were fixed it must have snapped some screws in order to move far enough to touch the wall. Possibly not enough screws used? Maybe, but I have used similar style screws before with no problem.

I am more inclined to believe that the quality of wood is more to blame. It was purchased as a cheaper grade but I think it was either not dried properly or was dried to such an extent that sitting (for weeks) in a house in the UK it absorbed so much moisture that many of the planks had bent up by 10-15mm at the end of a 1.8m length. Now the heating is on there seems to be no problem (earlier the house was weather tight but unheated) we shall await summer to see what happens then as humidity inside rises.

Using a 2mm spacer every third plank was recommended by colleagues who are joiners and is supposedly common practice when the floor is fixed with screws or nails. Obviously leaves small gaps but it is a safer installation, especially over a large width and if the planks are dark it is not very noticeable.

Hope this helps if others come to you with a similar situation.


Further thoughts

6a00d8341c660f53ef013488946bef970c-piAs mentioned before and here again, we're not in favour of using screws to install wooden floors - especially not with nervous wood-species like Ash and Beech. These wood-species require more expansion room and correct acclimatising preferably in the room where it is going to be installed.

Acclimatise always to normal circumstances no matter what wood species or floor type you have: leaving them in a room without glass in windows or unheated during colder periods does not work. Not even for wood-engineered flooring.

Installing a wooden floor isn't rocket science - all it needs is some common sense, patience, the right preparations at the right time and of course quality materials and the right tools.

Solid wood floors and UFH: take care

DIY conversation in our email inbox: (do you have a question yourself - use this form to ask us)

When installing Underfloor heating systems and deciding on the floor covering on top, many recommend to use Wood-Engineered flooring. These types of boards are more stable and can handle the changes in both temperature and air humidity better than solid wood floorboards (solid design parquet is a different matter all together).

When we received the following question we advised to take care - it is not impossible to install solid wooden floorboards on UFH systems but there's a but....

Random width boards

"This is a new build & we plan to lay solid oak floorboards (random widths) onto a self-levelled screed. There is underfloor heating & the screed is well dried out now. We've been told that gluing is the way to go, but reading thru some comments on your site I'm getting questions ... can we put the glue just into the groove thereby effectively having a floating floor? or do the boards need to be glued underneath? do we need floorboard crampers or could we use some softwood and rubber mallet?"

Words of caution

Thank you for your question. With wooden floors and UFH it is recommended to fully bond the floor to the concrete underfloor to avoid air gaps. For this you should use flexible adhesive that is suitable to be used on UFH.

Word of caution: UFH and solid wood floors are only agreeable when the solid floorboards are narrow. Otherwise there is a great chance the floor will shrink too much during the heating season.
Wood-Engineered floors are better suited in this situation due to their construction, see our Duoplank range page for more details.

"Many thanks for this Karin. Yes of course, very silly of me, couldn't do 'floating' as it would compromise the UFH!
We've had the boards for over 12 months indoors, they look pretty good ie not bendy.
Max width 160mm - would you say?"

160mm is rather wide, it depends on the other sizes and the number of 160mm boards. Try to keep away from installing two wide boards next to each other and leave a wide enough expansion gap all around.

"The widths are 100; 120; 140;160 up to 200mm. The wider ones we'll keep for upstairs to nail.
My other question tho is do we need the crampers or could we knock them 'home' with a long piece of soft wood & rubber mallet? "

100, 120 and 140mm should be ok, as said before, try to avoid placing 2 x 160 or even 1 x 140 next 1 x 160mm and you should be alright.

If the quality of the T&G is good you won't need crampers, just "knock" them home indeed.

I take the liberty to also email you - separate email through our automated system - our special leaflet with how to treat your UFH before, during and after installing a wooden floor.

"Thanks very much for your comments. We have had the solid oak flooring for a few months now. It's getting the time to do it."

Further info - because it's summer


When you install a wooden floor over an Underfloor Heating System in the summer months you often don't have the system switched on (if it is a new system, it will have had its pressure test to check for leaks no doubt). Our special leaflet - see link above - tells you how to start up the system gradually before installing the wood floor.
Doing this before installation when the temperature outside has reach Mediterranean level would be a bit OTT indeed.

Instead, raise the temperature of your UFH system gradually once the Autumn arrives, so your wooden floor (all wooden floors) can adjust gradually to the changes in "climate".

Renovating and extending an original parquet floor

We received the following question through our "Ask Personal Advice on Wood" form.

1950's house renovation and new extension

We are renovating the parquet in our 1950's house. We have parquet blocks in our lounge (not T&G) that are stuck with bitumen (3 fingers per square approx 11x11cm per square). We have extended the lounge and I have reclaimed the parquet from another room and would like to lay it in the lounge extension to complete the floor. Then sand and redo the whole floor as one. The new floor will be concrete screed.

My questions are: Can I glue the blocks directly to the screed or should it be sealed or leveled out first? If so with what? The screed is pretty flat but is quite sandy/gritty. Is there a product I can use to glue the parquet which will bond even with the residual bitumen on the old parquet so I don't have to remove it? It's only a thin layer of 1-3mm? I was intending on leaving the existing floor alone as it is sound.
Thank you.

Primer and bitumen advice (again)

Thank you for your question. Starting with the dusty concrete floor, this needs a primer to prevent any adhesive only bonding with the dust and not the concrete. 

If the concrete floor is very new, you have to be aware it takes time - 30 days per inch of new concrete - for it to dry out sufficiently before you can install any floor covering on it.

As for the bitumen, remove as much as possible (leaving just the "stain" of bitumen on the blocks, not actual bits of bitumen) because any residue will have a negative effect on the bonding time of the adhesive.

Have you had a look at our "7 easy steps to repair/restore your original parquet"?

Hope this helps

Kind Regards
Wood You Like Ltd

The 18 x 120mm Solid Floor question

Wooden floors come in many types, wood-species, constructions, sizes, quality and prices. One of the more "common" ones is the 18mm thick Solid Oak floorboard, 120mm wide and with random lengths. Popular priced too at many DIY-sheds like B&Q, Wickes or even Floors2Go, but in our opinion the boxes in which they come should carry a big red exclamation mark on it: random lengths, nice but.... know what you are buying can restrict your choice in installation methods.

The problem is, the boxes do not come with that warning. So if you are in the same position as the person who asked the following question in regards of the "infamous" 18 x 120mm you might like to hear this too:

Question received:

Hello , Hope you can help me ? Ive just bought a new solid 120mm wide 18mm thick wooden floor to be fitted in the kitchen/dining room and the sub floor is concrete what would be the best way to fit the wooden floor?

Answer - includes warning

Thank you for your question. Question for you in return: does your floor come in so-called random length, for instance the known 300 - 1200mm? If so, you first have to check how many very short lengths are in a box.

If too many then it is not advisable to install such a floor using the floating method and it would be better to fully bond the floor with flexible adhesive to the level and dry concrete floor. See this article about the short end of the stick/board. Solid Floors - what to note

Hope this helps
Wood You Like Ltd

And flexible adhesive is - compared with combi-underlayment and a few bottles of PVAC-wood glue - higher in price, turning your "cheap" or cheaper wood floor into a more expensive (but not necessary better quality) floor.
See example of what's on "offer" here:


Would you care to count the number of long boards in the image above? Many short boards mean many joints = many hinges when you install this type of flooring floating, making your floor rather unstable and prone to movement.

Once more: battens - too low and your floor will rattle!

This subject seems to be a recurring "problem": battens on a concrete floor.

9mm battens

I am laying 21mm thick solid French oak tongue and groove floor boards on a stable 21-year-old concrete floor. I've been advised to fix battens to the floor and then nail the oak floor boards to the battens through each tongue. What I am unsure about is whether I need to lay any insulation between the battens and if so, what sort? The battens are 9mm thick - just enough to secure the boards to. The planks have been in the room for about 3 weeks to acclimatise.

Recommended height of battens: 50mm

Thank you for your question. Are the battens really only 9mm thick?? That's way to thin for this method of installing a wooden floor, the nails alone should be 50 - 60mm long for the best and long term problem free result - and on 9mm battens the nails will hit the concrete, turning your wooden floor into a rattling one.

Various options here - depending on the width of your floorboards

Install "floating" on a combi-underlayment glueing the T&G's correctly (only if your boards are 100mm or wider and the whole floor does have many long lengths)
Recommended reading on the subject of Solid Wooden Floors: Solid Floors - what to note
Glueing your floor down with flexible adhesive
Using self-adhesive underlayment like Elastilon
Or installing higher battens first (at least 50mm thick and preferable 75mm wide)

Hope this helps

Kind Regards
Wood You Like Ltd
(check out our new Wooden Floor Installation Manual)

Wood You Like's Wooden Floor Installation Manual - everything you need to know about DIY wooden floors

14 days left to pre-order Installation Manual

Planning to select a wooden floor? Planning to install a wooden floor in the near future?

Not sure where to start? Look no further than Wood You Like's new publication:

"Wooden Floor Installation Manual" - paperback

Official launch of the comprehensive manual which contains everything you need to know about DIY wooden floors is second half of March 2010.

This is your chance to pre-order the paperback for reduced price and without any p&p to pay! Pre-order price only £15.97

(Official price for the manual: £17.97 plus £3.97 p&p)

See here for all details on the book and here to pre-order now.

Please note: This offer ends Sunday morning 14 March! (OFFER HAS NOW EXPIRED)

Wood You Like's Wooden Floor Installation Manuul - everything you need to know about DIY wooden floor installation

Do you like the taste of a bargain?

This week we had the following conversation (by email, through our "Ask Personal Advice" system).

Question: I am a DIY-er who has laid a solid wood floor onto timber batons successfully (secret nailing 15 years ago and no problems). I have also laid a couple of floating laminated floors successfully.

However, I have been asked to lay a solid oak floor onto a concrete base. The boards are of variable lengths from 400mm to 1000mm. I have only seen one pack opened and it contained 17 @ 400mm, 4 @ 500, 4 @ 800, 4 @ 900 and 6 @ 1000mm. What would be the best method of laying the floor. Would Elastilon self adhesive underlay be OK.

I am concerned that there are a lot of small pieces. What is the minimum overlap of the boards? Thank you.

Our answer:

You are absolutely right, this type of product (cheap offer?) should not be installed floating. Due to the many short lengths it will have many too close together joints (300mm apart is the minimum when dealing with a "normal floor that has all long length, but a lot of 400mm long boards does not make it better)
You're best bet is indeed Elastilon, giving it the best support. You have to install a DPM first (sheet) because the Elastilon does not contain one.

On which we received the following reply:

Hi Karin,
Thanks for the advice you gave. The floor is for my brother-in-law and I have told him that I am not happy doing the job, because of all the small pieces. I don't think it would look very good, even if Elastilon solves the problem of it being unstable.

I would prefer him to take it back and buy engineered wood with a real oak surface and all of the same length. His problem is buying this for the same bargain price he paid for the oak.

Thanks again.

We know it is the best advice he can give his brother-in-law and these stories always remind us of one of our favourite quotes:

“The bitter taste of poor quality remains much longer than the sweet taste of a low price.”

Buyer beware, cheap offers are often just that: cheap with 9 times out of 10 an awful end-result.
Good quality wooden floors will give you value for money for a very long time and will be your trusted assistant during the installation.

UFH and wooden flooring: it's all in the preparation!

Last week we received a question from a rather frustrated home-owner:

"Hi, I am having trouble in getting my floor leveled. Got the builders to remove the floor joists and lay concrete layer. I went on holiday post this and when i returned, builders suggested this was topped with insulation, and then followed by the UFH pipes. They say it was then topped by Latex screed, which by the time i came back was very unleveled and had cracks all over.

To get it to level, builders use self leveling compound wherever it was needed (in large parts), but to my dismay just after 10 days, the floor has started cracking and unleveling again because of these cracks.

I am so damn frustrated with all this leveling thing, and we have already got the engineered wood we want to lay on top of it. But my floor layer says, if he lays the wood on top of this floor, it will move quite a bit and be wobbly and also showed me the movement by placing a few pieces together.

I have no clue as to what we should be doing now, even though builders are very nice i guess they are clueless as well. They are thinking of topping it with another layer of some kind of mixture, and I am just concerned that with 2 layers already on top of UFH, a third layer of a compound, which if everything works ok will be topped by engineered wood - which will make the UFH pretty useless or extremely expensive to heat up the floor in my view.

Would you be able to advice what you think we did wrong and how can we get our floor to be leveled so the wood floor doesn't wobble and UFH remains effective too.

Thank you for your question and sorry to hear about your problems. However, very glad to read that your wooden floor fitter refuses to install the wood floor on this crumbling underfloor, 'cos he's absolutely right.

If the crumbling layer is patched up again your UFH system will never work properly - as I fear it will not do this anyway at the moment due to the cracks (patching up solutions on patched up solutions never works!)

A floor can be unlevel, but only 3mm maximum over 1 meter and only in one direction. Presumably your fitter plans to fully bond the floor to the concrete with flexible adhesive and if the floor is too unlevel (dips and hills) this will never work: there will be air-gaps underneath the wood everywhere, rendering your UFH system useless indeed.

I'm afraid you have to re-call your builders and tell them to start over with the screed - preferably back to the insulation. Your concrete/screed ontop of the UFH needs to be smooth and whole (no cracks!) in order to work and in order to provide a proper surface for your wood floor fitter.

Sorry we don't have better news for you and I recommend you also get advice from the manufacturer/supplier of the UFH system.


An installation of a wooden floor starts with the correct preparations, especially when there is new concrete or screed involved. Like in the case above, when you also add Underfloor Heating to the fro - a sound, dry and level concrete/screed surface is even more important. A defect surface will definitely mean a defect or at least inefficient working of the UFH.

Always get advice from the supplier/manufacturer of the UFH system about the correct preparations, follow this (have this followed by you builder) and prevent aggravation, frustration and extra costs and/or delays.

And never accept patching up solutions, no matter how nice or hard working your builder seems: it is bound to end in tears.


If you are thinking of using Underfloor Heating and install a wooden floor, request our start-up tips here.

From underlayment, to direction and thresholds

An 'live' example of "asking personal advice on wood", a conversation by email - see our form here

At 21:41 13/01/2010, you wrote:

Question: Hi I hope you can help me. This is a really stupid question and one that you'll be telling your mates down the pub for weeks to come!!! I'm about to lay an oak finished engineered floor in my hallway and I've bought some Timbermate Silentfloor Gold underlay. But I'm standing here scratching my head because I can't work out whether the gold side should face up or down!!!! Please could you help??? Thanks Ian

Hi Ian

Stupid questions don't exist, only stupid answers and even worse: not asking when you're in doubt

Rest assured, we scratch our heads too once in a while when thinking the manufacturer would make life easier for a fitter and produce the roll in such a way it is being rolled out with the bottom side down (and not as happens with some products you have to roll out the length you need and then turn it over because the roll is produced with the topside under!).

In your case the gold side should face down (according to the image of the manufacturer itself in their catalogue).

Hope this helps and here's hoping they rolled it up to make your life easy, because Timbermate can be quite heavy to handle.

At 13:24 14/01/2010, you wrote:

Hi Karin

Thank you very much for your advice and your very prompt reply. You’re right this stuff is very heavy! I had enough trouble carrying it from the car into the house, so laying it probably isn’t going to be much fun!!

Thanks again for your help.

Hi Ian

How are you getting on with the installation for your floor? Any problems or queries?

At 11:07 18/01/2010, you wrote:

Hi Karin

I intended to make a start this weekend but I’m afraid my ‘better half’ had other ideas and we ended up entertaining her family instead – ah well, maybe next weekend!!

But, since you ask, I’m wondering if I could perhaps ask your advice once more?
The hallway I am intending to install the timber flooring in is L-shaped. Obviously, the timber boards will fun lengthways along the longer branch of the ‘L’ and widthways along the shorter branch. At the end of the shorter branch is a small cloakroom in which I am also intending to install the new flooring. Do I stop at the flooring at doorway to the cloakroom install a threshold and run the boards in the cloakroom lengthways or do I keep the boards running width-ways in the cloakroom to match the part of the hallway immediately outside???

I’d be very interested in your opinion.
Very many thanks once again.

At 11:16 18/01/2010, Wood You Like Ltd wrote:

Hi Ian

The best plans to tend to go haywire during weekends

We always recommend to install a thresholds especially in small areas and cloakrooms (different temperature and humidity). Because of this you can decide for your self how to run the boards in the cloakroom, what looks most aesthetically in you (your wife's) eyes. The door of the cloakroom will be closed most of the time no doubt, so no 'clashing' with how the floor looks in connection areas.

Hope this helps

Have you had a look at our Installation manual?

Hi Ian

Any progress on the decisions about directions or have you completely finished the job already? If so, are you happy with the result, any problems encountered and tackled?

At 14:41 03/02/2010, you wrote:

Hi Karin

At last the job’s all done!!

I think it’s turned out OK and I’m really pleased with the results – it seems a shame to walk on it!!
The main problem I had was getting the individual boards really tightly together. I’d bought some ratchet clamps made for the purpose, so that when I had glued the tongue and put the boards together I could tighten everything up and let it set. Although the clamps were really tight, some of the boards were still not as tightly together as they could be. In the end, I found the best way was to knock the boards together using a hammer and an offcut of flooring. This seemed to get everything really tightly together. The problem here is that when you get close to the wall of the room you don’t have enough room to use a hammer. I tried using a ‘pull bar’ without much success – it just seemed to damage the boards too much. But all in all I’m pleased with the job and wouldn’t hesitate to put timber flooring in the other rooms of the house.

With regard to the direction of the boards in the cloakroom, I decided to keep them running in the same direction as the hallway and to use a threshold too. Having laid the flooring in the hall, it looked a bit odd when you opened the cloakroom door to see the boards going the other way. The chances are nobody else would ever have noticed, but I know it would really have got to me after a while.

Many thanks for all your advice – I couldn’t have done the job without you.

Ian R

New: Planning to Install a Wooden Floor?

Planning to install a wooden floor?

"How do I install the last row?"..... "My room is part chipboard, part concrete. What do I do?".... "Can I install a wood floor in a kitchen?".... “I've got underfloor heating, can I have wood flooring?".... "Do I glue or float my wood floor?".... . "The pack says to glue it, the supplier says nail it. Now what?".... "I've got two dogs and four kids, my wife likes wood flooring, what do you suggest?".... "How do I know how much wood to buy?".... "There are Marley tiles, can I glue a wood floor on them?”....

Wood You Like's Wooden Floor Installation Manual - everything you need to know about DIY wooden floor installation Just a small collection of questions that has found its way to Wood You Like's inbox over the last 5 years. After answering all questions individually the owners/directors have now created a comprehensive manual on installing natural wooden floorboards for diy-ers based on these frequently asked questions. The manual covers all basics from what to note when selecting your own natural wooden flooring, the schedule of works, three different installation methods to the easy maintenance principles that will keep your floor healthy and beautiful and much, much more.

Installing a wood floor isn't rocket science - all it needs is some common sense, patience, the right preparations at the right time and of course quality materials and the right tools. Wood You Like's Installation Manual for Wooden Flooring covers it all: including tricks of the trade to install your own floor like a professional!

Read on.....
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Keeping your wits about widths

When you need to determine the size of the expansion gap you have to keep around the whole perimeter of the floor, there are a few "rules of thumb". Specially with Solid Oak flooring: 3 - 4 mm gap per meter width of the room. Why? Because that is how much per meter wide Solid Oak can expand during the seasonal changes in air humidity.
It does sound like a simple and easy to follow "rule". Until we received a phone call last week from a desperate DIY-er. He had kept himself to the rule, his room was 4 meters wide and had kept an expansion gaps all around of 18mm but the Solid Oak boards (secretly nailed directly on to joists) had started to lift up in two areas. What could be the reason for this, he had checked for leaks and hadn't found anything suspicious.
When we asked some further questions it turned out that indeed his room was only 4 meters wide, but the joists run parallel the long wall - a massive 21 meter long wall (spread over 3 connecting "rooms") Meaning that over 21 meter "long" the new Solid Oak floorboards run row next to row next to row (perpendicular to the direction of the joists), creating in fact a 21 meter wide area of flooring.
In this case the length of the room had effectively turned into the width of the room and another set of "Rules of Thumb" should have been followed:
never install Solid Oak floorboards in a room wider than 6 meter without adding extra expansion gaps (by ways of installing thresholds or flat dividers in the most logical places, for instances where two rooms have been knocked into one and still have "pillars" or small parts of the old wall)
So, keep your wits about widths and realise that with installing wooden floors the actual width of the room sometimes has to be measured along the length of the room, it all depends on how you are installing your floorboards: lengthways or widthways!

Wood Flooring Info Pack

Looking for wooden flooring but confused about all those different types around? Is your home best suited with Wood-Engineered or can you have Solid Flooring? And what finish to opt for that matches your life style?

Unsure which installation method you (or your professional fitter) should use, which underlayment to buy with your floor in order to get the best result - and the least problems afterwards?

Worried that any sales person is telling you 'porkies' and sells you a floor not suitable for your house circumstances, your interior design wishes or your budget?

Worry no longer, just request our Wood Flooring Info Pack.

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  • check-lists you can use when out shopping, which materials you do need and which preparations you - or your professional fitter - should take and how to schedule the works involved
  • simple tips and advice how to determine which floor type (solid, wood-engineered or veneer), which underlayment if needed to buy and which installation method to opt for
  • when to select a varnish finish and when you are better off opting for an oiled finish
  • and much more

WoodFlooring Info Pack - publication by Wood You Like Ltd (image for illustration purposes only) Requesting the pack is simple: submit your details here, and we will dispatch in by Royal Mail as soon as possible.

Opt for piece of mind - opt for our extensive Wood Flooring Info Pack.

Why not to use DPM over existing floorboards.

We recently received the following question


I'm planning on laying a wooden floor throughout the ground floor of my house (a 1930's terrace), on top of the existing suspended floor boards. I've read your guide and now feel much better prepared!

That said, I do have one question. You state (quite clearly) that when laying a new wooden floor on top of existing floorboards, you should not use a DPM because it might cause condensation between it and the underfloor. But if I don't use a DPM then surely this moisture would just pass into the base of the new wooden floor, potentially causing problems there instead? I'm a little confused on this point! Any chance you could clear this up for me?

Many thanks


Non-concrete/screed Floors

Thank you for your question.

The reason for not using a DPM when installing onto existing floorboards is that this would block the normal ventilation that should exist underneath the existing floorboards (the void which should have air gaps in the walls). Any moisture that normally evaporates harmlessly through the boards into the air will be trapped against the DPM and might cause rotting of the existing floorboards and even your joists.
Using a normal foam underlayment in these cases makes sure the moisture - every home has more or less moisture during the seasons - will now still be able to evaporate through the whole construction.

When your underfloor is level a 2-3mm foam is sufficient. If you need more sound-insulation it's best to use a thicker underlay (brown roll in picture, also available with DPM attached to it for concrete floors).

Whatever kind of underlayment you need, don't cheapskate with the materials you use: it'll cost you in the end (inferior materials = more time correcting plus the end result of your natural real wooden floor could sound like a 'plastic' Melamine Laminated floor).

Constantly updating our guides


It is thanks to serous DIY'ers like Richard we are able to constantly update our guides when they feel/think information is missing or we could have explain items better. Being professional installers of wooden flooring does sometimes mean we overlook the fact that some terms or methods are daily tasks for us but not for our clients.

We love your input on these matters, so feel free to help us help you.

Solid Floors - between a rock and a hard place

In a previous article you can read what we think about 'Cheap Offers' in Solid wood flooring and what to note. We recently received a question where the buyer ended up between a rock and a hard place.

Solid short lengths on chipboard?

Hi, i am looking to fit solid oak flooring in my lounge (18mm x 125mm x 300-1200mm lengths) the lounge is 6m x 4m, the floor is of chipboard, all skirtings will be removed, what is the best way of fitting this type of oak flooring.???

Mr E.

Double trouble!


Hi Mr E.

Thank you for your question. You're between a rock and a hard place I'm afraid.
9 times out of 10 these type of solid floors have too many short lengths in the pack - and only 1 long length. If that hadn't been the case you could have installed this floor using the floating method on foam underlayment and glueing the T&G's correctly.

In this case you should fully bond the floorboards with flexible adhesive - if it wasn't for the case that modern chipboard (water resistant/repellent) don't bond with the adhesive! Secret nailing on chipboard is never a good idea (the chipboard will 'explode' due to the force and angle of the nails).

So, dilemma. These type of products is what we call: getting the 'short end of the stick'

Not sure if this is still possible, or if you want this: but best to return the product to the supplier and opt for a higher quality floor that can be installed floating without causing you problems and giving you a better result.

Hope this helps

Kind Regards
Wood You Like Ltd

A wide selection of quality natural wooden flooring: From Basic Oak to Bespoke can be found in our secure webshop

More pointers in installing wooden flooring on underfloor heating

Today we received a interesting story about a wood flooring project that involves underfloor heating. The story and questions can be found here, we've copied and pasted the most relevant ones in this new article.

Woodchip asks:

I am in the process of procuring wood for our new house.

New, as in long term project (4yrs now).

We have piped in under floor heating upstairs and downstairs

The downstairs floor is 4" concrete and not perfectly level, so before we lay any wood, we would require to level it with a self leveling compound of some sort. Something I have no working knowledge of. Can someone suggest a good self leveling compound/screed mix that we could use for a fairly large area.  

I did see something in B&Q, but have no idea how good it is, or the brand name.

Acrylic level compounds are always much better - stronger - than latex self-levelling compounds. Especially when underfloor heating in concerned. See here for more information on preparing your underfloor and using levelling compounds.


Our downstairs rooms are (approx.)7.2m x 5m, 5m x4m, 5m x 3.5m & 7.2m x 4m.

The upstairs floor has 2 different types of floors. One room with concrete layed on Lewis plates 7.2m x 4m.

The rest is a biscuit system, with 22m moisture resistant chip board, with 2" x 1" strips nailed to the joists through the chip board, with underfloor heating pipes layed between the 2" x 1" strips & covered with a sand cement mix. These room sizes are (approx.) 6m x 5m, 5m x 3m + a landing 7.2m x 1.2m.

The floors as they are, have all been down for well over a year now, and finally we are at the stage where we want to lay solid wood on all these floors.

I'd rather not put down chipboard upstairs and then lay the wood on top, as I think there is enough weight on the joists already. Obviously we can nail the floor that uses the biscuit system, if need be.

As long as every room is treated as a separate area you don't really have to worry about creating one type of underfloor.
However, we are not in favour of installing solid wood flooring on Underfloor Heating Systems, there is a larger risk in shrinkage and cupping than with wood-engineered flooring. Our Duoplank Oak range for instance has wide boards AND is guaranteed on underfloor heating systems.

We have looked at OAK some at 120mm x 18mm, and 140mm x 22mm. We have been told by some to avoid a wide plank, with underfloor heating but this minimum width seems to have grown wider over time.

The only thing that doesn't seem to have changed is the minimum moisture level of 8% in the wood.

If your heart is set on installing solid Oak floors your best bet is indeed narrower width, we wouldn't recommend wider boards than 120mm. And it is good to read that the minimum moist content for Oak solid flooring is mentioned everywhere correctly. Do note this should be the absolute minimum moist content when your wood arrives in your home. If your home climate is even dryer there is a risk the wood will loose even more moist.
We also hope they also mention the maximum moist content solid Oak wood flooring should have: 11%.

Advice on the floors has varied some saying glue it, some saying float it.

With regard to putting down a 2mm underlay, we have been advised against it "as it tends to stop heat coming through, more than if the floor was first covered with 18mm chipboard and then had the wood layed on top of that". Wood being a poor insulator

I did notice a comment on this site, not to lay a solid floor on underlay if the room was longer than 5m.

With all that I've been told so far, the method I would prefer, is just glueing the floor straight on to the leveled floor.

Most manufacturers recommend to fully bond a wooden floor to the level subfloor where underfloor heating is concerned., specially solid wood flooring. Always use flexible adhesive and a correct notched trowel. The subfloor needs to be as level as possible to avoid air-gaps - adhesive isn't a 'filler', as some may think.
As said above, if you treat every room separate we don't see a need for installing chipboard first (chipboard wouldn't be our first choice for creating one type of subfloor: plywood is much better suited).

You are correct in stating solid wood floors in rooms wider than 5m shouldn't be installed floating on underlayment, much better is to fully bind them.

Do note the rule of thumb in regards of expansion gaps with Solid Oak flooring: for every meter width of the room add 3 - 4 mm gap with a minimum of 10mm. Based on your details this means a gap - everywhere! - of around 18 - 20mm.

We would like to direct you to two of our guides:
Wooden flooring and Underfloor Heating
and our Wooden Floor Installation Manual


Wood Guide turns Ebooklet

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"Wow, thanks for that -- certainly the best how-to guide I have seen to this. It's always helpful, especially, when something says "Ideally, do ABC, but if you can't, then X Y or Z can happen", instead of just "Do ABC." -- i.e. I know I should remove the bitumen from the floor, but it isn't possible to remove all of it, so it is just good to know what happens if I don't."

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Floor preparations over bitumen - guest post

Our British wood flooring Association colleague Matt Bourne brings you the following advice when faced with bitumen on your underfloor or subfloor:

Question: "Is there any way we can screed over bitumen when we want to glue a wooden floor down?"

Matty's advice:

Shotblast1 The bitumen should always be removed and not screeded over. The subfloor SHOULD be shot blasted to remove all bitumen and glue residue.

I prime with a neoprime primer use acrylic leveling compound over the top ONLY if the Bitumen is well stuck down and very thin. This will give you a good flat base. You can then use a epoxy dpm paint to deal with any moister problems.

Now please remember that this is NOT a recommended method by the product manufacturers. You are relying on how well the bitumen paint is stuck to the subfloor!

Do not use a latex flooring smoothing compound! These compounds are good for nothing and normally used by people who have no idea. ( 95% of builders ) They will stick to anything you put them over but have very little strength, so basically you can NOT use a epoxy compound or any sort of glue over the top!

Q and A's on how to lay a wooden floor 3 - materials

Our most popular article: "How to lay a wooden floor, keep it simple" has a total of 3 pages of further Q and A's, in our opinion becoming too laborious for everyone to have to go through. We all know every home, every situation, every interior design style and/or wishes are different so no article on its own will ever answer all questions, but we can but try.

In this (and following) article we have grouped Q and A's from the original article per, we think, related subjects.

I would like to put down solid oak flooring upstairs on top of the existing floor (90mm-18mm – various lengths). I am going to level the existing floor with layers of hardwood plywood and I am thinking of putting 6mm fiberboard underlay for acoustic reasons. I am considering a floating installation, however, a number of websites state that NO solid wood flooring can be floated.
Hoverer, if it is suitable for floating do you think it will:

  • educe the amount of squeaks and creaks that hardwood floors develops over time,
  • be as long lasting as the nail down or glue down floor.
  • have some important advantages and disadvantages to the other fitting options.

Thank you in advance. Best, Konrad

A: Hi Konrad
The opinions on floating solid wood floors vary indeed. We - and our manufacturers - have no problem with floating solid wood floors, as long as certain rules are followed.

One of them is - unfortunately for you in this case - the width of the boards: narrower than 110mm means glueing them down.
You can use the same preparations you're planning now, use a suitable parquet adhesive and fully bond the floor to the subfloor you've made.

Q: Thank you very much for your help. I am inclined to go with your excellent suggestion. I would like to have a stable floor but I am also concerned with the footsteps sound (especially upstairs).
Just one more query if you don’t mind. From the DIYnot forum I learned that you are familiar with the Sika Silent Layer Mat installation. With this method, being a semi-floating one, do you think I can:

  • install the floor continuously between rooms without dividing up the floor;
  • install sliding door wardrobe on it.

Great thanks again. Regards, Konrad

A: Hi Konrad
The Sika Silent Mat is one solution indeed. Another one would be the Elastilon 'self-adhesive' sound-insulation underlayment.

Q: Hi,
Thank you for your reply. Regarding the Elastilon underlayment or the Sika mat: would they act like DPM causing the existing wooden subfloor to sweat? Konrad

A: Hi Konrad
The Elastilon comes without DPM and is therefore very suitable to use on existing floorboards or 'subfloors' of sheet material like plywood or chipboard.
We suggest you use the Elastilon 'Strong' which is the most suitable for narrow strips.

Q: Your site is of great help.
We're planning to lay oak flooring onto a new concrete floor which has dpm and insulation.

Are the basic steps:

  1. Ensure concrete floor is level - if not use latex screed
  2. Lay vapour barrier or underlay
  3. Lay hardboard
  4. Glue or fix boards to plywood

Is there a need to secure the hardboard to the concrete with adhesive or fastners? Thanks in advance, Al

A: Hi Al
If your boards have T&G, are 100mm wide or wider and your concrete floor is level there's no need to install plywood for installation purpose.
You can install the new floor floating, using a Combi-underlayment that contains a DPM layer, glueing all T&G's and leave an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room.

That's all you need in fact.

Q: Hi
I am going to be laying a solid wood floor on concrete that is very old - 40 yrs min i think. i have a few questions:

  • I want to face fix and glue onto 12mm ply. what is the best glue to use?

  • I will be laying the air bubble and foil insulation which is 4mm thick under the ply. do i need to lay acoustic underlay on top of the ply?

  • I hope to use 180mm sawn oak boards - planks basically with no t&g. do i need to do anything special with this type of wood ?

  • what is the difference between this wood and t&g. is the t&g option better ?


thanks very much for your help.

john paul


A: Hi John Paul
If you glue down you can't use another underlayment between ply and boards. The best adhesive to use would be a flexible adhesive (like Sika T54, Lecol MS250 or Mapei P9910K)

Make sure the Oak boards are dried to floor standard (moist content in the wood between 9 - 11%) and can acclimatise in the room you plan to have them installed in.

Difference between your boards and T&G boards: T&G's can be installed floating, secretly nailed or fully glued down, boards without T&G should be glued and pinned down (as you plan to do).
Hope this helps

Q: My ground floor is covered in herring bone parquet which I believe to be paranna pine laid about 60 years ago. In some places gaps have appeared between the blocks. I've been told that the usual filler is sawdust (from sanding the floor, which I've done) mixed with some adhesive.

Is this correct and if so what's the best type of adhesive to use?

Once the gaps are filled I intend to re-seal with a hard waxoil and I'd like to keep the floor as light as possible. I assume your normal stuff won't darken it too much? Peter P

A: Welcome Peter P
The best product to use for filling gaps in parquet floors is special wood-filler like Lecol7500 Blanchon Resin Filler, not white pavc wood glue.
Mix it with the sand dust from the original floor to reduce colour differences as much as possible.

Natural HardWaxOil will, like any natural finish, darken the floor a little bit. How much you can test by wetting a little piece of bare - sanded - wood, this will 9 times out of 10 the end colour after applying a natural, clear finish.
Hope this helps

Q: I'm fixing to install a bamboo tounge & grove wooden floor over a plywood sub floor. I was going to nail it using a finishing nail gun or should I use another type of nailing system? What about drilling & then nailing? I was hoping not to have to nail every board but from reading this forum every board has to have at least 2 nails. Can the tongue & groove be glued & lay as a floating floor? Or can the tongue & groove be glued and nail every 12"?

A: Hi Lucy, welcome
Depends on how wide your bamboo boards are, normally around 90mm? That is to narrow to install floating, but glueing them down with parquet adhesive would be another (better?) option.

In our experience Bamboo has very tiny T&G and might splinter/break very easily when nailing them and yes, every board has to be nailed every 30 - 35 cm.
Hope this helps

A: Thanks for the advise. The planks are 3 3/4" wide and I was going to do a floating floor because I felt that this was the easiest way and I'm doing it myself with my daughter but if you say I can't i will glue it.

Thanks again. Lucy

Q: Hello
I'm after some advice on the best way to install a solid oak floor.

I am fitting 120mm wide T&G oak on top of a slightly uneven plywood floor in a living room (6m x 4m) on a first floor above a bedroom and want to reduce the sound transmission to the floor below as much as I can.

After looking at other posts I was considering using fibre boards to level the existing floor and then fitting the oak flooring using the floating technique and gluing the T&G.
Would this solution work ok or can you recommend a better solution?
M W.

A: Hi M W
Fibre boards should be ok to use, or you can use Timbermate Duratex (no DPM) 5mm for extra sound insulation. In our experience it reduces the sound of footfall better than the fibre boards.

Q: I am planing to install a solid wood floor on concrete. Ive had to remove some old tiles which have left the concrete black but dry.

I was sold Gutoid Parkett S11 adhesive and Stopgap F76 waterproof membrane with the wood. However, I haven't read anywhere that its necessary to put membrane down if I'm glueing, do I need to? (id rather not if poss). If I do then can I put the glue directly onto the membrane?

I'm also a bit concerned as I bought all this stuff 2 years ago and have just noticed that the glue and membrane has a shelf life of 12 months.
Any advice would be much appreciated as im really confused now.
Guy Rowland

A: Hi Guy, welcome
Dates on products are there for a good reason: their quality deteriorates rather quickly once they pass their 'use-by' date. Bin it - ecofriendly!, is all I can say.

What is the width of your new floor boards? If wider than 100mm then the easiest and simplest option is to buy combi-underlayment, PVAC wood-glue and to install your wood floor using the floating method.
Hope this helps

Q: Hi Karin H

Thanks for your rapid response (on a bank holiday as well)

I thought I should probably bin it. The boards are 12cm wide, but there are a lot of short boards, maybe 25% under 50cm long (but only just, and I didn't have any problem avoiding a pattern when I laid upstairs).

Another concern is that the concrete floor is not completely level and bulges in places. What do you recommend to sort this out?

A: Hi Guy
One of our contacts wrote an article on preparations of the underfloor on this FAQ & News site, see here.
Especially bulges are tricky when not leveled, specially with many short lengths. The floor will see-saw all over the place. So best thing to do is making sure the concrete floor is made level.

Hope this helps
Wood You Like Ltd (not really into bank holidays anyway ;-))

Q and A's on how to lay a wooden floor 2 - preparations

Our most popular article: "How to lay a wooden floor, keep it simple" has a total of 3 pages of further Q and A's, in our opinion becoming too laborious for everyone to have to go through. We all know every home, every situation, every interior design style and/or wishes are different so no article on its own will ever answer all questions, but we can but try.

In this (and following) article we have grouped Q and A's from the original article per, we think, related subjects.

Q: Lifted old parquet flooring. How can I remove bitumen before laying?

A: With a lot of elbow grease I'm afraid. Chisel off as much as possible and remove last bit with petrol - kerosene (very, very careful with this!!!!)
Any residue of bitumen will effect the bonding time of any modern adhesive type (like Lecol5500 or B92 Stycobond): instead of 4 - 5 hours it can take up to 24 hours before it holds properly and you can sand over it.

Q: Hi there
We've just built a new house and have had the heating on for the past number of weeks. We tested the moisture level of the concrete the flooring will go on at it's currently 4%. The wood for the floor has been in the house for the past 2 weeks.
Would we be ok to go ahead and lay the flooring now?
Thanks Avril

A: Dear Avril
You have to wait a bit longer we're afraid. The moist level in the concrete should be 2% or less before you can install the wood floor.

Rule of thumb: every inch (2.5 cm) of concrete/screed takes approximately 30 days to dry.

Q: In that I am totally inexperienced at this, I humbly engage your patience.
Would I need to remove the old flooring before laying the new or could I do a layover? My house was built in 1911; the panels have not been changed since the origination
Thank you Bobbie

A: Dear Bobby.
If your existing floorboards are level (un-cupped and sound) you can install your new floor on top of it without any problems.
We recommend you use a foam underlayment for sound-insulation, leave expansion gaps all around of min. 10mm.

Hope this helps

Q: Hi,
I'm planning to install 20mm solid oak T&G into my kitchen. The room is 8m x 3m total size, but half is well ventilated suspended (400mm joist spacing), and the other half is concrete (30yrs old, dry).
I want to lay the boards parallel to the shorter wall, to try to give the impression of a wider room.
As luck would have it, the heights of the concrete and joists do actually match, so I don't have any making up to do there, but I'm not sure whether to:

  1. Lay directly onto whats there; I would have to noggin all the joists first because they run in the 'wrong' direction. I was going to secret nail to the joists but then when I get to the concrete I suppose I'll have to glue?
  2. Counter batten the entire lot and then secret nail the whole lot to these. Unfortunately though this would raise the whole floor by the batten depth (at least 20mm?), and the head height is already 'snuggish' in the concreted half of the room. Also this would give a nice trippable step coming into the room...

I realise I'll have to live with a compromise somewhere though, I just wondered what you would do if it was your place?
Cheers, Tom

A: Hi Tom, welcome
We would make sure there is one type of underfloor, using sheets of hardboard (glued to concrete, nailed to floorboards). This will also solve your problem of installing the new boards in the same direction of the old boards.
Then, depending on your preferences you could either glue the new floor to the hardboard or install floating using a foam underlayment.
Hope this helps.

Q: Hi, I want to lay 23 m2 of solid oak T&G flooring, the existing floor is a concrete one, with hard vinyl tiles layed down on bitumen. what would you recommend? If I take up the vinyl tiles I know it will be a real pain getting up the bitumen, but if i lay the oak floor floating, will I have problems with it coming apart?

A: Hi Lee, welcome

If the vinyl tiles are stuck down well, the underfloor fairly level and your solid Oak boards are wider than 110mm then we would install a floor in this circumstances floating on a combi-underlayment, glueing all T&G's correctly.
Hope this helps

Q: Hi, thanks for the quick response. Unfortunately the floor is a solid oak,18mm thick, by 83mm wide random plank length, so I assume laying it floating is a no-no. would it be possible to glue it to the existing vinyl tiles, provided they were stuck down well?

A: Hi Lee

We're afraid not. The structure of the tiles will not allow the adhesive to bond correctly. alternatively you could screw plywood ontop of it first and then glue the wood floor on to that.

Q: Hi Karin, thank you again. Ive decided to fetch up the existing vinyl tiles. I'm either going to use elastilon strong over a DPM, or use a primer and a liquid batten such as sikabond T2.
Which method would you recommend? And do I have to remove all the bitumen residue from the concrete before using a primer?
Many thanks for your patience!

A: Hi Lee

The more bitumen you remove the better it is. Using Elastion also has the advantage of tackling minor unevennesses in the underfloor, but for the rest it is personal preference what to use.

FAQ: Can I install wood over carpet?

Housemites just love carpets but hate wood floorcoveringQuestion received
We are thinking of laying a wood laminate floor in our rented house. At the moment it is carpeted, with underlay, on top of concrete. The carpet is quite thin. If we give the carpet a good shampoo, is it ok to put the floor on top of the carpet, to all intents using this as an underlay for the floor.

Our answer:

Using a carpet underlay or a carpet as underlayment for wooden flooring is asking for trouble I'm afraid.
Cleaning a carpet will never get rid of all the dust, dirt (and bugs) it has gathered over its lifetime.

Best is to remove it, including the carpet underlayment and start 'a fresh'.

Wood You Like Ltd

Solid Offers: beware of the "short end of the stick"

Wood flooring is a very popular floor covering - besides being easy to clean and anti-allergic, it enhances your home and can even increase the value of it.

But.... being popular has its own down-sides: many are jumping on the 'band-wagon' of its success to make a profit. Nothing wrong with this when quality products are offered for what they are worth, we all know and understand the logic of 'value for money'.

'Value for money' not only means supplying decent products but also supplying decent information, correct and honest. And that is sometimes the biggest problem with 'Solid Offers' - too little information on what the 'offer' really contains.

Strip floor with many short lengths This pictures was kindly supplied to us by one of DIYnot.com forum members. Besides problems with the pre-oiled finish and installation errors by the fitter (not the forum-member) the floor has many very short lengths and hardly any longer lengths.

Products like these (most with a proper finish) are sold as Solid Oak floorboards - Oak strip flooring - in random lengths between 300 - 1200mm.

The correct and honest information missing in the shop and on the packaging is the amount of short lengths a pack contains. Sometimes as much as 50% of the contents of a pack is shorter than 500mm and only 1 or 2 boards - if your lucky - are the full 1200mm long.

Wrongly spaced joins makes the floor unstable and prone to movementSince it is recommended to prevent a pattern of joins and to space the joins of connecting rows at least 300mm apart with this amount of short lengths it is very hard to do - creating not only an unstable, prone to movement, floor - see picture on the right - but also giving your solid Oak real wood floor a very hectic appearance, specially if all 4 sides are bevelled. This pronounces the many joins in the floor even more.

Value for money: if the information on the packs leaves you in doubt ask the supplier for specifications - he/she ought to know what he/she is selling you in the first place!

Don't end up with the 'short end of the stick' or in these cases 'short end of the boards'!

More questions on underlayment (and gaps)

Underlayment is one of those items where we receive many questions on (and that's no wonder, there are so many different products around - all with their own benefits, instructions and promotion slogans).
Last week we had the following (on-line) conversation:

Freddy asked:

Sorry in advance if this is going over old ground. Have recently bought bamboo flooring and will use the "floating method" to install, the underfloor is all old concrete.
Could you give me some guidance on underlay etc. Is it better to use foam and hardboard or the all in one "feltboard type"? Also what kind of expansion gap should I leave as the suppliers told me it is minimal 5/6mm as bamboo is virtually shrinkproof.
Thanks very much for any advice you can give me.
Cheers Freddy

We answered:

Dear Freddy

If your concrete floor is level (may have a gentle sloop of 1 - 2 mm per meter, but no sudden drops or 'hills') it's bes to use a combi-underlayment. We always recommend to leave 10mm gaps all around, no natural wooden flooring is 'shrink' or 'expansion' proof.

Hope this helps
Wood You Like Ltd

Which resulted in the next question from Freddy:

Thanks for the guidance,(the underlay I mean comes in blocks/slabs and you just cut to fit.The floor is not too bad a little slope running down the hall about 3/4mm over about 2 metres.
I do have to be careful with not gluing the boards to the underlay don't I.
Also do I need to use cork expansion strips?
Thanks again for the help, it's much appreciated.
Cheers Freddy

Our answer:

Hi Freddy

On concrete underfloors it is best to use an underlayment that contains a DPM. The underlayment you mean I don't think will create a continues barrier. Another option for you would be the ticker Timbermate Excell (5mm versus the standard 3mm of the combi)

You're right about having to be careful when glueing the T&G's, any spills on the underlayment can 'strop' the floor when it 'moves' during the seasons.

Cork expansion strips just fill up your expansion gaps! You don't need them.

Hope this helps
Wood You Like Ltd

Freddy replied as follows:

Thanks very much for the advice, it's very much appreciated.


Feel free to ask your own question, either by leaving a comment underneath this post - or any other, or in our category 6 - in the relevant FAQ post your query is about:
Benefits, Preparations, Installations or Maintenance and After Care

When to install a wooden flooring during renovations - DIY-SOS

Not finished with the wet work yet!During renovations or redecorations a lot of work has to be done; like cabling, plumbing, screeding, plastering, wall-papering, painting etc. When you also plan to have a new wooden floor installed it is very important to schedule this job at the end of the 'line'.

Basically you first have to do all the 'wet-work' in and around the room(s) you plan to have wooden flooring in, plus allow sufficient time for the excess moist of plastering and/or painting to evaporate.

BBC's DIY-SOS asking advice from Wood You Like Ltd We advised BBC's DIY-SOS team the same when we were asked if it would be possible for us to install one of our quality wooden floors (on short notice).

The short notice wasn't the problem, the fact we would have just one day to install it neither. The fact that there was going to be a lot of plastering and painting in the days before was the problem.
You really shouldn't install a wooden floor (wood-engineered included) straight after the last day of plastering or painting.

Wood You Like was looking forward to work with BBC's DIY-SOS team Since DIY-SOS is always working on a very tight time-schedule we advised the team to source another type of floor-covering. Of course, in the future we are more than happy to help them out - as long as their project doesn't involve massive plaster work beforehand.

In renovation projects like this it comes in handy when you have a hygrometer in the room(s) you're working in as a guide to when the moist of plastering and painting is gone. You can speed up this process with sufficient ventilation, where the excess moist in the air is drawn out of the room - even in winter, just open the windows for 5 - 10 minutes every hour.

For screed work (or new concrete) there is a practical 'rule of thumb': every inch (2.5 cm) of screed/concrete needs 30 days to dry-out naturally before any floor-covering (but especially wooden floors) can be installed without causing problems of expansion or cupping straight away. The moist in the screed/concrete should be around 2% - 2.5% tops before you can start the installation of a wooden floor.

When you install a wooden floor on a still too wet underfloor you will notice this pretty soon. The wood will absorb the moist of the screed/concrete (even when a combi-underlayment is installed) and expand very quickly.

So be patient and prepare your 'when-to-do-what-task' list carefully but practically.
Better safe than sorry.

Download to Nature

In our April newsletter we explained our sample policy: Samples, why not. Because of the rich Tiny sample smoked characteristics in natural wood we know that a tiny sample of any wood-type will never show you nature's variety in full.
This tiny sample (even larger than most companies do send out), is supposed to be a sample of Oak Smoked and Oiled natural. If you are able toWood You Like, Oak Smoked and Oiled High Resolution Interior Design Picture see the whole spectrum of an Oak Smoked and Oiled natural floor you will see this (picture right):

A very wide variety in colours, from very dark (like the tiny sample) to lighter and very light. Some boards have many knots, some none at all, some boards might even have medullary rays ('flecks' or 'mirrors'). At Wood You Like we feel strongly that the best way to select the natural wooden floor most suited for your unique interior design is by looking at very large samples in our showroom or for us to present you with high resolution Interior Design Pictures to show off the rich characteristics of natural wooden flooring.

And that's what we have launched just now: a first batch of 58 high resolution Interior Design Pictures from our Duoplank and Solid Flooring range downloadable from our website. More ranges will follow very soon.

Wooden Flooring Finish: oil or lacquer? Advantages and Disadvantages

One of the hardest questions to answer is: what makes a better finish, lacquer or oil/HardWaxOil?

First of all it’s down to personal taste and secondly to what is expected of the floor, e.g. easy maintenance, shiny look or natural appearance of the wood.

buffing wax wooden flooring Historical the wax floor is still seen as very labour intensive to maintain, who doesn’t have memories of caretakers buffing away endlessly week after week after week (be it your “Gran” or the school caretaker). Then came the ‘modern’ lacquer (and synthetic and affordable wall-to-wall carpets) and the original wax floor almost became extinct.

For many decades..................(read more)

Samples, why not

Wood is a wonderful product of nature, very versatile in species.

But nature also 'dictates' very versatile characteristics in every species, making everything individual (like human beings, we're all different in shape, looks, colour and character).

Wood you Like, Oak Rustic overlay receptionWood is no different, every individual board has its own colour, look, character. One piece of Oak Rustic can have many knots, sapwood areas and even some medullary rays. Another piece of Oak Rustic (even cut from the same tree) can have a completely different appearance: tiny knots perhaps, slightly darker in colour than its 'neighbouring' board and no medullary rays at all.

That's what makes a wooden floor so natural, but also makes it hard to choose a floor from a tiny sample send out to you. It can never show you all its natural variety.
That's why Wood You Like has large sample boards in the showroom, containing at least three different pieces (single boards) in the sample to give you the correct best impression of how that type of flooring, that type of wood in that type of grade and colour can look like.
That's why Wood You Like websites and online showroom shows interior design pictures, not pictures of a piece of wood. We want to 'show-off' the richness of nature's varied character.

Wood You Like Iroko-Kambala That's why Wood You Like doesn't easily send out tiny samples, it will never give you the best impression. You might receive a dark piece, not matching your style or colour idea at all, while in the total floor it would 'blend' in seamlessly between all other varied in character boards.
There is another reason for not sending samples: all wood-types 'mature' once exposed to light (and not just sun light). Some wood types start pale and get darker or honey-coloured (like Oak), some start light brown and turn brown-reddish over time (specially tropical wood types) and some turn from vaguely dark to deep dark (Jatabo amongst others). A 'fresh' sample send out for a colour match with your design will not show you the ultimate matured appearance of your natural wooden floor.

Nature is too varied to have your choice in wood dictated by a small - tiny sample. Come and see it in situ in our showroom or download our Interior Design Pictures of many wood-types in our various ranges.

More on underlayment

I've read your guidance on installing over 2 types of subfloor.  In our case most of the floor is newly laid concrete with two areas of wood floorboards.  You suggest a dpm over the concrete and then hardboard over the whole area.  What thickness of board & what type (?ply) do you recommend? How should it be fixed?
We're concerned about the overall thickness of the floorcovering, it is the hall with five doorways off, with four different floorcoverings on the other side.

All depends on if you plan to install the wooden floor ongoing (i.e. without thresholds in between the rooms).
Is so, thin sheets of hardboard (3mm) would be sufficient.
If you install all areas as different rooms i.e. using thresholds in between then you use one type of underlayment for those rooms containing concrete (with DPM) and another type for rooms with the existing floorboards (foam underlayment)

Cables and expansion gaps

10 or even 5 years ago most homes had a television set, a VCR and a hi-fi system. DVD-players have replaced the old video tapes, plasma screens the old 25 inch TV set. Home-cinema's are on the increase, really enjoying the Dolby-surround effect adds various speakers to the audio and visual system.

Wood You Like, cables and wires mess

But where do you hide all these?




We are frequently asked to 'hide' large amounts of cables in the expansion gaps (gap around the perimeter of the floor to allow the wooden floor to expand/shrink over the different seasons: 'wood works'). Not only would this render the necessary gap useless, cramping different cables in this narrow space could also effect the quality of sound and picture negatively.

But we have found a solutions for this. To be honest we can't solve the wiring ourselves, but we would like to introduce you to a company that can solve this for you: CableGuys Ltd, based in Folkestone. They specialise in Home Audio Visual and Corporate Cabling Solutions.
Cables of home theatres, hi-fi systems and cinema's neatly hidden away.

An example of Corporate Gabling Solutions can be seen in the following pictures (with thanks to Cable Guy Mike Hawkes)

Wood You Like 'flooring cables

Wood You Like, solving cables

What most Solid 'offers' really are

When you search the Internet (or your local paper for that matter) you can easily find many cheap offers in solid Oak wood flooring.

Before buying into these offers, there are a few things you should be aware of:

  • Short lengths. Many of these offers contain over 75% short lengths (between 30 to 50cm) instead of a regular mix between short, medium and long lengths (or fixed length of minimum 1.5 meter). Many short boards mean many joins, plus unstable floor.... Read more

FAQ Preparations

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"7 Easy Steps to Repair/Restore your Parquet Floor"

"3 Easy Steps to Clean and Maintain your Parquet Floor"

Type of underfloor is type of underlayment

Based on the 'floating' installation method it depends on the type of underfloor you have what kind of underlayment you need for your wooden floor. (Floating means: wooden floorboards not fixed to the underfloor with adhesive or nailed onto joists/on existing floorboards or sheet material, and where the T&G is glued with PVAC wood glue.)... Read more

Know what type of Wooden Flooring is offered.

What's in a name: laminated, melamine, engineered, composed, parquet etc

As a member of two Online DIY forums we frequently give free advice to any "would be" wooden flooring installer. We do notice there is a lot of confusion about names of products and before we continue with other wooden flooring items we would like to introduce a more righteous terminology in types of floor covering.

The most confusion is about laminated flooring, used by DIY-ers (and even some suppliers) for both Melamine Laminated Flooring (the ‘plastic’ – Melamine’ stuff with only a photo-copy of wood) and for Wood-Engineered and Wood-Veneered flooring (flooring with a solid wood top layer between 0.2mm and 6 – 8mm with a crossed-backing of pine/plywood or mdf).

In the (English) wood-flooring profession laminate is used to describe the Melamine flooring (like Pergo, Quick-step etc).

The term Wood-Veneer is officially only used when the solid wooden top layer has a thickness between 0.2 to 1.5mm but frequently Internet searchers mean all the different types of Wood-Engineered flooring when using this term.
The top layer of this kind of product isn’t sawn, but peeled from the trunk and then glued (under high pressure) to a backing of mostly HDF. Although a very thin layer it is (normally) not of inferior quality. A veneer board can't be sanded though.

Wood-Engineered covers the rest of the ‘engineered’ flooring where the solid wooden top layer is more than 1.5mm thick (and can go up to even 8mm), but has a crossed-backing of a different material than the top layer.
Solid wooden flooring with cross backing of the same wood (to make it more stable) is called ‘composed’ wooden flooring.

Real wood is sometimes used to describe Wood-Engineered and Wood-Veneer flooring as opposed to the Melamine Laminated flooring.
Wood You Like - Home of Real Wood

Solid wood T&G boards: these are made out of the same material (Oak, Maple etc) with Tongue and Groove on all four sides (although some manufacturers/saw-mills still create them only on the two long sides).
Parquet or overlay: unfinished Solid planks/strips/tiles/blocks without T&G, which are either glued and nailed on a solid mosaic (5-7 ‘fingers’-tiles) or plywood/chipboard subfloor or glued directly on a concrete/screed underfloor (like mosaic tiles, herringbone or other patterns). The planks/strips/tiles/blocks are 6 to 10mm thick and are known in The Netherlands and Belgium as Overlay floors.

Miss-use of Parquet term. Where in the mainland of Europe Parquet (Parket) means wooden flooring (any wooden flooring, from solid, wood-engineered to wood block design patterns like herringbone) in the UK the term Parquet is commonly used to describe the latter: wood blocks in any design pattern.
We have noticed however that some manufacturers and retailers use the term Parquet in the UK to promote the 3-strip Wood-Engineered (or 3-strip Wood-Veneer) flooring, which does lead to disappointed customers expecting a real (solid) ‘old-fashioned’ parquet floor instead of the T&G (or click) boards they are in fact purchasing.

Wood You Like 3-strip Engineered flooring, not Parquet blocks

Wooden Flooring Tips for New Builds

Buying a home is a milestone for most of us; be it finally getting onto the property ladder, up-grading or down-grading. For the next 25 - 30 years East Kent is a designated growth-area and over 30.000 new homes will be build in and around Ashford alone. Nowadays most new builds come with a choice in floorcovering, from 'standard' wall-to-wall carpet to (mostly) Wood-Veneer or if you're lucky even proper Wood-Engineered flooring. Only, most larger developers restrict the actual choice you have: they send you to one flooring supplier where you can decide between Oak, Beech or perhaps Maple 3-strip. If you want something else or a better/higher quality you have to prepare yourself for a 'hard struggle'.

Our own experience has taught us that 'stubborn' new home buyers usual get what they want in the end: i.e. the Natural Wooden Flooring from the company they select themselves and where the difference in price between the 'standard' fixed choice and the final choice isn't (on average) that much. If the developer/builder agrees to it, the alternative choice can be included (and paid for) before the exchange date, resulting in the new home owner not having to pay the VAT on the wooden flooring nor on the installation costs.

Wood You Like Natural Wooden Flooring Tips and Advice A word of advice: when buying a new build home on a large housing estate it's better to wait with installing Natural Wooden Flooring until all building works (including the final road surface) is completely finished. Imagine the 'sanding-effect' on your newly installed floor!
In these situations we advice a cheap (and cheerful) carpet, not too light in colour, until all 'dust has settled'. Or, if you insist, on a wooden flooring with an oil finish (instead of a lacquer finish).