Solid Oak Floor Installation Advice (A Specific Example)

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We would like to install a solid oak floor across the entire of our downstairs and have a couple of questions:

1. Based upon our attached floor plan, and seeing as there is an area which is a solid concrete (& screed) floor, what would you advise as the best fixing method?

2. Is this floor area too large to float a solid floor onto (and glue the t&g)?

3. Do we *have to* install a t-bar/threshold in the doorway, or can we just carry the floor through seamlessly (leaving room for expansion under the door lining and architrave)?

 
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Can anyone offer some words of wisdom? Is any further information needed?
 
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You should'nt float a solid floor, best to look at an engineered product if you plan to fit this way, yes you need a profile in that doorway.

If you MUST have a solid (why?) then you will likely be best to fit 9mm ply throughout, then secret nail your new solid floor (still using a profile in the doorway)

Or fit without a profile, but if the floor does have issues, be prepared to fit a profile in the doorway.
 
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As recommended by crazy-daze defiantly no floating floor on solid wood unless manufacturer will guarantee (which is vary rare).

Engineered or multiply is the best way especially with the size of the room these boards will be more stable.

I would go with the door bar just as a safety measure.
 
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Ok, a floating floor is a no-no. So, what's the reason for the ply? Can we not secret-nail the new solid oak floor to the existing timber floor boards and fully bond the new floor to the screed area?
 
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You shouldn't be nailing to floorboards, the floor needs to be prepared properly so it's level and has a regular base for the wood to be fixed too, the concrete area needs raising to the same level through levelling compounds or plug and screwing the ply. Check the instructions of the manufacturer of the wood.

If you haven't brought the wood yet, why solid and not engineered?
 
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We haven't purchased the floor yet. What is the benefit of engineered over solid in our particular case?

Or to put it another way, what is the benefit of a solid floor over engineered?

Also, with engineered, should we still ply the entire floor?
 
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The main real benefit of a solid is that it directly fits to the subfloor so you get a solid floor that is part of the subfloor itself. To achieve this, you must perfectly prepare the subfloor. It must be perfectly level and stable enough to be able to cope with the secure fitting of the solid wood. As you are buying a thick piece of timber, you will be paying for the complete board all being from the same grade of timber. There are different grades of timber with cheaper floors being shorter lengths and cheaper cuts of wood from the tree and thus being less stable than longer cuts. When it comes to sanding the floor, you can never sand below the toungue and groove joint so in actual fact, the floor may look thick but 3/4's of it is for stability rather than wear.

Engineered floors are a solid wood top layer above the tongue and groove and the rest is built of layers of wood that are designed to ensure the products stability. The finished wood layer is just as hard wearing as a solid and when fitted, looks the same. Engineered floors are designed to be floated, the planks are manufactured the same size, they are more stable than solid floors and can be laid on subfloors with some imperfections. They require less expertise to fit, should allow you to get a better quality top cut compared to a solid of the same price. They lay on a fibreboard or high density roll underlay and the boards click or glue together.

In short, depending on how level your subfloor is, a engineered floor will probably suit all your requirements with the minimum of expense/hassle in preparation and fitting. It's very common for customers to come into our shop asking for solids but not having a clue why they are asking for solids, when in fact in most domestic situations, engineered is far more practical and financially viable. I wish I had taken a picture of a job I visited yesterday, we are fitting a house top to bottom in various flooring, we are onto the upstairs area now, but 6 months ago fitted a hall and diner in a Kersaint & Cobb supplied 14mm engineered, it looks utterly stunning and I would defy anyone to guess it isn't a solid.
 
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So basically, with a solid, you MUST ply the floor, with engineered you may need to do nothing or the minimum of prep, maybe 4mm hardboard the floor with a screed in the concrete area to level, it all depends on the levels if they are out and by how much.

I'd advise getting some quotes from some good quality independents, the product will be better quality than the DIY sheds etc plus even if they are supply only, they'll advise you on what prep you need to do.
 
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Thank you for that very informative response! What situations would benefit from a solid floor? Going by your reply, it sounds like a very pointless product in this day and age, no?
 
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Thank you for that very informative response! What situations would benefit from a solid floor? Going by your reply, it sounds like a very pointless product in this day and age, no?

If you simply must have a solid product fixed to the subfloor and are happy to go through the prep required and costs, go with solid.

Personally i would be buying a really nice quality engineered.
 
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Hi, I would agree with most of what has being said, I would recommend that the prep for the floor is very important and should be the same for all types of floor’s.
EViS you do not say what condition the original suspended floor is in, any loose joist or boards would have to be made good, check for cupping of old boards, are there any moisture issues?
If we assume everything is dry and ok

You can install the new Oak floor to the old floor boards using nails/cleats but you would have to install it at right angles to the direction the old boards are going,
The same would apply to engineered flooring I would not apply a transition strip at the door but undercut the doorframe, concrete screed I would float or stick floor to concrete

If the original floor is not great, or you want the floors going the same direction then put down ply sheeting all over including over screed and fix down with screws at 300mm center then install flooring over this I would recommend a min of 12mm ply

Engineered is most likely the best option if you are installing this yourself try to get one that has random lengths as they look the same as solid wood floor’s as opposed to the engineered that comes all in the same length boards
 
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