Laying Solid Oak Floor

18 Nov 2006
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United Kingdom

I'm thinking of laying a soild oak floor in the living room/dining room/hall.
The present floor is chipboard (green coloured stuff) I've got a few queries.

1) can I lay the Oak boards over the chipboard?

2) If yes, What fixing method should I use, secret nailing or floating floor?

3) Will I need a DPM and an underlay or just an underlay? (any recommendaions on make/thickness welcome)

Any help appreciated

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to secret nail you need to over ply board with thick plywood or uplift chipboard and replace with plywood of same thickness. If glueing the floor you need to over plywood with 4-6mm plywood. If floating your board width needs to be over a certain width.
Hi Matty,

Thanks for the info, the oak boards I'm thinking of using are 150mm wide and 18mm thick.

The area I want to floor is a living room/through dining room (with an arch way between)
that is 3.93m wide and 8.9m long overall (the living room is 5.5m long and dining room 3.4m long) I am expecting to have to have an expansion joint in the arch way, is this correct?

Given the dimensions of the room/s is there a fixing method that is preferable over the others?


From the details you've given you can install the boards floating, using only foam underlayment (don't add extra DPM or use combi-underlayment). And glue all T&G's correctly.

You have to leave at least 13 - 15mm expansion gaps around the perimeter (rule of thumb with solid oak boards: 3 - 4mm per meter width of room, with a minimum of 10mm)
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Hi Woodyoulike,

thanks for the advice, having read a lot of posts regarding laying oak floors I was starting to think I'd opened a massive can of worms! I wasn't really looking forward to replacing the chipboard with ply so floating it is.

Just to clarify some of the thinhgs i've read, would an engineered floor board actually be more suitable for this particular case or is there no significant benifit?

In your case (the rooms you've mentioned) both options are fine. We recommend Wood-Engineered in areas where there's more moist or rapid changes in temperature (or on UFH)
We also don't favour wide Solid boards, so stay within the 150mm for solid. Any wider - go for wood-engineered.
Excellent, thanks again woodulike.

One final question, there seem to be loads of different companies supplyng oak flooring and a very wide range of prices for similar sounding products, what do I need to look out for when choosing a floor to make sure I ge a good one? ( i realise this is probably a "you get what you pay for/how long is a peice of string" question)
I've done the obvious and ordered some samples, is there anything else i can do research wise to help in my selection?

The most simple answer would be: come to us (but don't think the diy-not admin would appreciate that ;))

Any reputable company wants to sell proper quality products - so stay away from cheap offers - remember: the bitter taste of poor quality remains long after the sweet taste of a low price is forgotten - , make sure you at least get the specifications per pack (i.e. good proper products shouldn't contain many short lengths etc) and that the wood is properly stored etc.

After that it's down to personal choice.
Thanks agian Woodyoulike

I feel a bit like that irish comedian "wait! there's more!".

I noticed a few other posts mentioning moisture content and expansion/contraction, does it make any difference what time of year I lay the floor? as I was thinking of getting it done before xmas
In a way it does. During Winter time we always leave a slightly larger expansion gap because of the central heating being on 9 times out of 10. This will dry out the wood a bit more than during other seasons and when Spring comes, the air-humidity increases, expanding the wood to its normal state.

Hope this makes sense
Glad I asked, I probably would have compensated the other way, thinking the wood would shrink in the summer I was concerned that i'd end up with a large wooden rug!
Wood shrinks because of lower air humidity not due to higher temperature.

In what time of the year can you see further (standing on a hill): cold but dry winter day or warm and humid summer day ? ;)

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