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Andrew Baker

As someone who is considering a wooden floor, planning on doing it themself, and trying to get it right first time, I awlays read your very informative RSS feed.

I notice however you often focus your articles toward the modern way of installing flooring: that is tongue and groove, on a solid floor. Being in a listed property, when I replace my flooring it will have to be solid planks (no tongue) and on a suspended floor (ground floor).

So my question is, how does this affect preparation and installation? I'm thinking specifically of underlays (something to protect the wood, not cause condensation and reduce sound transfer, but remain breathable). Also of fixing methods - I would rather not glue (difficult to take up again), and secret nailing will be difficult - what are the alternatives?

Finally, I'm also interested in the choice of wood. I have read 18mm thick wood is not sufficient for a suspended floor?

I hope you may have an opportunity to address these questions, and am fairly sure the answers will interest a broad range of people.

Thanks and regards.
Andrew Baker


Hi Andrew

Thanks you for your comment and you are right that we focus more on the modern installation ways, because 90 out of 100 floors can be (and are) installed on 'modern' underfloors.

This doesn't mean other 'old-fashion' ways are forgotten or not suitable any more, your own circumstance is a great example of that.

Before we can answer your question properly, can we ask how the existing floor is installed now? On battens, directly on joists or laying on bare ground (that does happen, we've seen and heard it before).

James Lennon

We are planning to lay reclaimed pine boards. The existing ground floor is concrete with a 15 mm block wood covering glued to it.
Can we use the "Floating Floor" system on to the existing block wood flooring?


James Lennon


Hi James

As long as the existing woodblocks are fixed firmly to the subfloor you can use the floating method. Use foam underlayment, not a DPM combi underlayment because you're subfloor is wood.

Karin (Wood You Like Ltd)

Stephen Brown

I want to lay a traditional herringbone woodblock floor on a concrete base. Can you tell me
1. What adhesive I should use?

Read more.....

Karin H.

Hello Stephen

See this post for our advice

Susan Hollock

What is the correct way to cut round a radiater pipe that goes into the concrete floor when laying 6mm vaneered oak laminate flooring on top please?

How much if any of a gap should be left around the pipe for aexpansion when it heats up?

Karin H.

Hello Susan

If possible try to have a 'joint' where the pipe is. That way the cutting of the expansion circle (10mm wider than the pipe - even with melamine laminated flooring) is much easier to do.
If this is not possible, cut out form the edge of the board the width of the gap you need. Cut this little strip off so far that it can be placed behind the pipe again.

The expansion gap can be hidden by placing radiator-pipe-covers on top.

Wood You Like Ltd


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
(Read more here.....)

Karin H.

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
(Read more here.....)


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
(Read more here.....)

Karin H.

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
(Read more here.....)


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


Anne Higgins

I recently had blackbutt select floorboards laid throughout my house as part of a renovation. Immediately after laying a kitchen design company linstalled a kitchen using adhesive and silicone. Some 50 days after the raw boards were laid & the kitchen installed the floor polisher sanded and polished (varnish) the boards however directly in the kitchen area within 6cm of the edge of the cupboards and Caesarstone bench top there are 51 small spots (finger nail size)where the varnish has not taken (obviously coated with some sort of protecant that doesnt allow the varnish to penetrate) The floor polisher claims the spots are a result of the silicone penetrating into the boards leaving a waxing film. Can you confirm if this is possible or could it be the adhesive used (two part A & B adhesive)

Your urgent advice appreciate & any websites literature to support this would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards

Anne Higgins


Karin H.

Dear Anne

I'm afraid your floor polisher is right: silicon residue - even when the spot itself is sanded down - is preventing the varnish to hold in those particular spots.

Another tip we would like to give you (although perhaps too late in this case) always install a wooden floor LAST when a kitchen is installed.
On the DIY-not forum there has been a recent discussion on this subject too.

Normally we end with: hope this helps, but in your case we're sorry we can't help out. Best is to get your kitchen installer back and ask if they know of a solution that will remove more of the silicon residue, then to re-sand that area and carefully apply a new coat of varnish (carefully in order not to create a patchy look)

Wood You Like Ltd


Hiya Woodyoulike. What a brilliant site for a self builder/renovator/mad diyerect like me. Lots of useful info.

Am thinking of installing solid oak 140mm x 18mm t&g plank flooring in a 7m x 2.5m extension we have built around four months ago. My question to you is the only query left that I could not find an answer to and that is: Should I fill the expansion gap with cork as recommended by a variety of manufacturers in their instructions or not and if not why not?

Karin H.

Hi Simon

Thank you for your kind words and appreciation of our FAQ site.

We never recommend to use cork strips to fill the expansion gap, although cork is flexible it will fill up your expansion gap anyhow.

Cork was frequently used on the 'old-days' to fill a gap between pattern of parquet design and the block-border and somehow found its way into 'modern' expansion gaps.

Leave it out and keep the gap for what it is supposed to be: extra room for any normal seasonal expansion of the floor to use before 'buckling or cupping'.
You can cover the gap in various ways: install your skirting boards on top of it, cover with Scotia/Quadrants or our own favourite and preferred way: flat beading (pinned to the floor with tiny pins).

Hope this helps

Wood You Like Ltd


Hi there, I am about to lay a 20mm thick engineered T&G floor over the old existing floorboards with a soundproof underlay between them. The shop told me that it could be laid as a floating floor with glue. Not knowing a lot about laying floors I didn't realise just how flat the existing floor needs to be in order to not need nailing of the new floor. My question is just how much uneven varaition can I really get away with on the existing floor before I need to nail instead? The shop says the underlay will absorb differences of up to 3mm. (Great site, wish I'd found this before embarking on the project!!) Thanks.

Karin H.

Welcome Norman

A underfloor no matter what material should be as level as possible (meaning not too many deeps dips or high 'bumps') but a wood floor can tackle a gentle sloop (in one direction) of maximum 3mm per meter.
Especially your 20mm thick engineered can handle a lot before it goes bouncing around. What we normally do is have extra underlayment (of different thickness) at hand to 'level' out small areas of dips, but be careful: only if you can slide the extra bit of underlayment underneath the floorboard - if you have to lift it up to get underneath the problem will travel down the row.

Hope this helps

Wood You Like Ltd


Hi there. That was one of the possible solutions we came up with after a lot of head scratching, great to hear it's one you use. Thanks again.

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