Parquet wood flooring installation guide

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Parquet is a classic floor covering which despite the active development of modern materials remains popular. Homeowners love parquet flooring because:

  • It perfectly absorbs sounds and hits;
  • Keeps warm in winter and gives a pleasant feeling of coolness in summer heat;
  • Easily amenable to restoration – a parquet floor that has lost its appearance, faded and scratched after grinding will look like new;
  • If you take care of the hardwood parquet properly, a high-quality coating will last for decades;
  • Such materials, as oak parquet flooring are eco-friendly as they are made from renewable wood.

For better understanding  how to install parquet wood flooring you need to understand the stages of work:

  • Floor preparation;
  • Angle measurements;
  • Glue application;
  • Laying parquet tiles;
  • Trimming the board to the required size;
  • Parquet leveling.

Preparation before laying parquet

First of all, you need to take care of the parquet tiles. Before laying the floor, the parquet tiles must be cured in a room with an air humidity of 35-55% and a temperature of 60-75 °. In order to acquire the desired moisture content, it must be kept for two weeks.

Stages of preparing the floor for laying parquet

  • If you plan to install parquet on a concrete slab, provide an air gap of at least 4 inches. The air will serve as a heat insulator and sound insulator;
  • Remove the skirting boards, trim the door trim and remove other trims that will interfere with installation;
  • The floor base must not be wet.

Parquet floor installation location

  • Do not install parquet flooring in basements and bathrooms. This type of flooring can only be installed in rooms above grade; 
  • The space between the first floor of the building and the ground must be at least 24 inches. It is necessary to provide ventilation of the crawlspace and cover the ground with a black polyethylene 6-8 mm thick film. The film should be overlapped with a minimum of 6 inches overlap and taped together;
  • Deviation of the horizontal level of the floor plane is no more than 1/8 ” over 6 feet in length;
  • Material selection for subfloor: the best base material for installing parquet is 3/4 ” CDX plywood. For surface preparation read the instructions for subfloor’s material. CDX can be replaced with OSB plywood, chipboard or waferboard of the same thickness. If you have a concrete, slate marble or solid wood floor, then laying parquet will not be a problem. Valid subfloor options are cork, vinyl tile or sheet, ceramic tile.

Laying flooring tiles in rows

There are different ways of parquet flooring installation, such as:

  • Laying in rows;
  • Herringbone wood flooring installation;
  • Chevron installation.
Laying in rows

Some manufacturer’s parquet flooring installation guide contains recommendations for laying tiles in rows. This method allows you to get a square layout and easily dock the parquet to the walls with a minimum number of tile cuts.

Chevron installation photo
Chevron installation

Start laying the rows from the wall which is opposite the doorway (C). Strictly follow the numerical sequence when you lay the rows, respecting the perpendicular lines (B). Do not forget about the expansion gaps (A), which are necessary for compensation the expansion of the parquet material with changes of temperature and humidity in the room. The expansion gaps are at least 10 mm. They should be left near walls and door trims, furniture fixed to the floor, heating and ventilation pipes.

Herringbone wood flooring installation
Herringbone wood flooring installation

Caution: never use a circular saw for parquet boards. Metal strips that are used to reinforce parquet can cause you serious injuries, damage parquet boards and tools. Use only a hand saw.

Checking layout lines

measuring before laying parquet

Do you want to know how to lay parquet flooring accurately? Check that layout lines are square. It is convenient to use the rule about the aspect ratio of a right-angled triangle. Find the intersection point of the two lines and mark the lines. On the first line, place a mark 3 feet from the intersection, and the mark on the second line should be 4 feet away. Connect the marks with a straight line. If its length is 5 feet, then the layout lines are perpendicular. Otherwise, rotate one of the lines until the angle between them will become 90 °.

Glue application

glueing floor

Stay safe when you apply the glue: ventilate the room, turn on the ventilation or open windows. The adhesive is applied with a special notched trowel. The gaps between the notches of the trowel are needed for precise dosing the adhesive, so read the manufacturer’s instructions to choose the right tool. Be sure to apply a layer of adhesive between the wall and the first line of the parquet.

Laying first tiles

Parquet tiles from different boxes may vary in colour. Before you start fitting parquet flooring mix tiles from different boxes before you start installation so that these differences are not visible on the finished floor.

The first tile must be placed exactly at the intersection of the layout lines. Place the second tile between the wall and the first tile. The edges of the tiles must strictly match the layout lines. Do not use a hammer to connect the tiles, otherwise their correct position will be disturbed. Press one tile against the other with moderate force.

Cutting to walls and continuing installation

cutting the parquet floor

After laying the first tiles, continue laying new ones to the opposite wall of the room:

  • Carefully align tiles along layout lines or at the corners of adjacent tiles;
  • When you get to the opposite wall, cut the last tile if necessary. Remember to leave an expansion gap of at least 10 mm;
  • To measure the cut size of the last tile, lay the full tile on top of the one closest to the wall. Place a 10mm spacer between the wall and the full tile to accommodate the expansion gap. Draw a cut line with chalk on the full tile;
  • Some models of parquet tiles are reinforced with metal tape. Only a hand saw can be used to cut these tiles to avoid injury. To get precise cut without chipping wood, hold the saw perpendicular to the tile surface along the cut line;
  • To get accurate cut and not spoil the best side of the tile, cut from the waste side.

Tearing out and finishing parquet

After all tiles have been laid, the surface must be leveled. When laying plywood and tiles, irregularities always appear at the joints, in addition, during work, the surface is covered with dirt. To level and clean the tiles, the floor surface is grinded 2 or 3 times.

varnishing floor

The final stage of laying the parquet floor is varnishing. The varnish protects the wood surface from moisture and mechanical damage. Before applying the varnish, the parquet is covered with a primer, which reduces the consumption of varnish and does not allow the varnish to be absorbed into the wood. The varnish is applied with a roller in three or more layers. After applying each layer, leave it to dry. The drying time is indicated in the instructions for the varnish. Protect the varnish from dust and air currents during varnishing and drying. Do not open windows and turn on ventilation. You can walk on parquet and bring in furniture 24 hours after the last layer of varnish has dried.

So, if you want to understand how to install wood parquet floor, you need to remember the following steps:

  • Preparing the floor and parquet tiles;
  • Checking layout lines;
  • Laying the tiles carefully;
  • Cutting the tiles near walls;
  • Grinding and varnishing the flooring.

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