Removing chipboard flooring

7 Jan 2010
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United Kingdom
As part of my current home project I need to lift a large channel of chipboard flooring along a landing and through a bedroom, from one side of the house to the other!

On the landing, one end of the boards ends under a banister and the other end runs under a stud wall and into bedrooms, which run alongside the landing. It isn't therefore possible to lift FULL boards, so I will need to cut a channel down the middle. The joists run at 90 degrees to the direction in which I want to cut the boards i.e. from the banister through the bedrooms to the back wall of the house. The purpose of lifting the boards is to allow a heating engineer to run new 22mm supply and return pipe from the boiler to the bathroom.

I have a fein multimaster, which I've used in the past for cutting through flooring, but it would take too long for this long run of boards.

I've borrowed an old Bosch PKS 46 circular saw and so may be able to use this, but not if I want to get closer to the wall than it allows! As I don't have a circular saw I was considering investing in one and had a look at the mini circular saws, but not sure they are upto this particular job due to the small blade sizes.

I want to try to prevent the boards squeaking when I re-lay them, so want to consider what I can do to minimise movement before removing the boards.

Assuming I cut too straight lines along the landing and through the bedroom at about 50cm apart, then remove all the nails for this run and cut the boards at each end along a joist. I should then be able to lift the long rectangular section of chipboard and retain the tongue and groove between each board.

Is it beneficial to cut the straight lines at an angle so that when they are placed back they are partially supported by the existing boards. This obviously depends on the kerf of the saw blade. The one I currently have is 2.6mm, which seems quite wide. The downside to doing this is that it will cause the boards to rub as they flex. This could possibly be overcome by gluing some felt (or something) to one edge of the cut board. This would potentially fill the 2.6mm gap made by the saw blade and prevent wood touching wood.

Is it better to just cut straight i.e. not at an angle? I assume a blade with a smaller kerf is better as it minimises the gap between the boards after cutting? I've seen some blades that are quite thin (2mm) and have a lot of teeth (100), which may be designed for this type of cutting.

I suspect I'm over thinking this but would appreciate your thoughts.
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Personally I wouldnt bother cutting the runs at an angle, you are going to lose a fair bit of the contact courtesy of the saw blade thickness.
Insert noggins or other timber so each edge of the board is resting on them,and fix down with hefty screws.....5x50 if you can.
John :)
Have you considered installing pipe from below,? plasterboard ceiling is easier to access and repair.
Have you considered installing pipe from below,? plasterboard ceiling is easier to access and repair.

I hadn't considered that. Lifting the floor boards and replacing them is something I can do myself and the "damage" is hidden by the carpet. If I were to take the ceiling down I would need to pay a plasterer and there would be a level of redecoration required. There are also light fittings that would need to be removed.

Thanks for the idea, but I'll stick with lifting the floorboards for this particular job.
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Insert noggins or other timber so each edge of the board is resting on them,and fix down with hefty screws.....5x50 if you can.
John :)

Hi John, my understanding of "Noggins" is that they are fit between joists to prevent the joists twisting and to keep them spaced. Usually (certainly in my house) they tend to be crossed (fixed to the bottom of one joist and to the top of the other, and another alongside in the opposite config). I confess, I'm not quite sure what is meant by using noggins to support the cut chipboard?

Are you suggesting fitting batons along the cut length of the board to give it extra strength? Obviously there won't be any joists along these lengths, so I assume you mean running a piece of wood along the length of the cut, wide enough to screw to the replaced board and the fixed other side of the cut, essentially fixing the boards together to prevent the replaced board flexing in the middle?

In the past I've added batons to the joists to give a little extra support to the end of a floor board. This may be necessary for the first and last board in the run, which I hope to cut across a joist. Hopefully, the boards in between will still have their t&g to support them.
So, a bit of googling suggests my joists are braced using herringbone struts!

I can see "noggins" are used all over the place in carpentry; for stud walls and flooring, to brace pieces of wood together.

The definition of a battern (I spelt it wrong) is a long flat strip of squared timber or metal used to hold something in place or as a fastening against a wall.
Sure, a noggin is a piece of timber that spans the floor joists or any timber construction to add strength, make things more solid or whatever.
To prevent any board creaks or other movement, you can add a timber batten to firm things up. Add a batten along the underside length of the timber that remains on the floor, secure that with screws and glue so when you drop the removed panel back into place its supported all the way this panel with screws (no glue unless it will never come up again.)
I'd maybe suggest 3" x 11/2" batten but in real life anything would do so long as its firm.
John :)
Thanks John, I will definitely do this. As you say, the replaced board will then be supported all the way around. As it's a landing and therefore a highly used walkway, I need to try to ensure the replaced board is as solid as can be.

That's partly why I was thinking that cutting the boards at an angle might help to achieve this additional support.
Good thinking Mr M but this would mean the cut board would be slightly smaller and would sit lower, which isn't what you want!
Careful with the cutting if you suspect cables or pipes underneath....I have a jigsaw blade ground to the depth of the floor board so it cuts through and no more.
Good luck with your project!
John :)
Yes, you are correct, which is why I was originally thinking something could be glued to the edge of the board. Maybe a piece of thick fabric, like felt? This would also have the advantage of preventing wood resting on wood, which is likely to cause squeaking. I suspect this is overkill though :D

I have borrowed a circular saw so should be able to set the depth accurately on this, with a little trial and error. I was also thinking about purchasing one of those mini circular saws with laser sight, specifically for the job. I suspect with the mini saw using smaller discs, they may wear out faster.

I also have to remove all the chipboard flooring in the bathroom ready for a new UFH system to be installed, so should be able to experiment with taking that flooring up as it will be discarded.

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