Easy access flooring

6 Jan 2019
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United Kingdom
Does anyone have any good ideas for 1st floor flooring that is relatively easy to lift and get access to the voids between the joists? I originally considered just getting new, screwed-down floorboards (existing boards are sound enough but quite rough and knackered visually) that I would then sand and varnish for a nice finish. If I choose square edged boards (not tounge and groove) are these readily liftable without damage, even when tightly clamped together? Mrs doesn't want large cracks or grooves where dust could gather so this creates a slight contradictory requirement!

I suppose most people aren't too bothered about access under the floor, so this is probably an unusual requirement, but I was wondering if there are any obvious solutions that I'm simply not aware of?

Just to be clear, I won't be needing to get underneath every day or whatever, but I am after something that can be lifted and replaced by a DIYer in an hour or so for any future plumbing, re-wiring, data cables etc. Laminate would be out because it interlocks, so not easy to get to any one particular area without taking up half a room at a time.
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I use ply panels. Small panels seem more prone to flex than full sheets, so as well as resting the long edges on joists, put a strut to support each short edge, and the cut edge of the adjacent board as well, with a screw half-way across each.

If you really, really want to use laminate, you can whiz the "tongue" off, that locks the boards together, fix them down with adhesive, and conceal the joint, if obtrusive, with toning silicone that you will have to scrape out and renew if you take the boards up.

Remember they will be hard to lift if you have sanitaryware, architraves etc on top.

There is a way of making HW-faced ply look like varnished floorboards, if you are willing to put in the extra work.
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Interesting. What is the thickness of the panels you have uaed? Is the hardwood veneer part of the product, or did you glue it on?
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I used 18mm to match the old, so no steps and no need to raise skirting.

It is hardwood faced WBP ply, so the veneer is included.

The dye and planking effect I did myself with a ruler, marker and paintbrush, and spirit-based wood dye, before varnishing

Because I want the panels to come up easily, it is square-edged, not T&G, so you need support at joints that are not over a joist. Or you will feel a lip especially when barefoot.
Any chance you can post some photos of the floor when it's laid down, particularly at the joins between panels? I would imagine it would be quite difficult to make the painted 'floorboards' look continuous, unless you just accept a panelled effect? Also avoiding the aforementioned lip. Did you varnish over the seams to smooth out tiny misalignments and differences in the level?

Impressive work with the painting it really does look like hardwood planks.

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