A Guide to Flooring Installation; Process, Preparation, Cost, and More
While installing a new floor might be time-consuming and requires good organisation and cost planning, it provides a fresh look to your premises and can increase your property value.
Before embarking on a flooring installation project, you have to know more about the process and costs. Both can vary depending on the floor type, as well as whether you’ve decided on DIY installation or leaving the job to professionals. In any case, this handy guide will point out all ins and outs of new flooring installation.
What Is the General Installation Process for Flooring?
Flooring installation procedures may differ depending on the floor type. Despite these deviations, there’s a general set of steps to follow when installing a new floor:
- Decide on a Floor Type: You can’t start the installation of your new floor if you don’t know which one you’ll lay. There are several options, depending on your budget, interior style, and personal preferences, but the most common are wood, carpet, laminate, and vinyl or LVT.
- Measure the Room: This step must be precise and detailed, so you can buy enough flooring materials and supplies for a smooth floor installation. Remember to always buy more than you need in case of measurement mistakes.
- Acclimatisation: Depending on the floor type, it can take 48 hours up to a week for different materials to acclimatise to room conditions. This step is necessary to prevent shrinking and warping.
- Prepare Yourself for Flooring Installation: As you’ll probably use power tools for subfloor preparation, cutting, and stitching the floor, you should wear goggles and safety gloves. Also, you could use some knee pads, as flooring installation includes a lot of kneeling.
- Surface Preparation: Before laying the floor, you must prepare the surface to be even. That’ll make a sound basis for underlayment (if necessary) and smooth flooring fitting.
- Plan Floor Layout: If you have an idea of a specific floor design, draw it on paper. Start laying the floor (without adhesive) from the corner or room centre, depending on the floor type. That way, you’ll know how many cuts will be necessary to fit each flooring tile, plank, or piece.
- Floor Laying or Fitting: Floor fitting starts from the room corner (for wood and laminate) or centre (vinyl, LVT, and linoleum). Depending on the floor type, you’ll use adhesive, nails, or clicking to make flooring pieces fit tightly.
- Cut to Fit: The final installation step is to cut the last row or section to fit the rest of the flooring. Leave enough room for expansion gaps to prevent floor distortion over time.
- Floor Cleaning: Once you’re done with flooring installation, wait for a set amount of time, and then wipe your new floor, put the furniture back, and you’re ready to hop in.
What Preparations Must Be Performed Before Installing a New Floor?
No matter the floor type you’ve opted for, proper subfloor preparation is necessary. You need this surface to be clean, with no holes or bumps, to ensure smooth flooring installation. Here’s the preparation procedure you should adhere to:
- Remove Existing Flooring: This step doesn’t apply for first-time floor installation, but only when you do that over existing flooring. Depending on the floor type, you can use your hands, static and power tools, and walk-behind scrapers to strip old flooring.
- Remove Bulky Pieces: Sweep the dirt, debris, and material scraps. Use a broom or a hard-bristle brush to clean this mess.
- Check for Bumps and Damage: After cleaning, you should be able to see the condition of the subfloor before you start working. Make a detailed inspection of all visible and less-obvious defects.
- Fix the Defects: Fixing subfloor issues includes filling gaps and holes, smoothing bumps and ridges, and flattening the entire surface. Whatever you lay on the subfloor, leave it to thicken and dry out.
- Lay an Underlayment: This step will depend on the subfloor and floor you plan to lay. It includes materials that ensure floor longevity and comfort underfoot and improve sound and moisture insulation.
Is It Necessary to Install Underlayment?
No, flooring underlayment isn’t necessary for all types of floors, especially for those with their own padding or click-lock technology. But if you want to get the most out of your new floor, adding an underlayment layer will add to its longevity, appearance, and performance.
What Are the Different Flooring Installation Methods for Different Types of Flooring?
Many materials are used to make floors, and each has specific requirements and needs during flooring installation.
How Do You Fit Laminate Flooring?
Several homeowners opt for laminate flooring because of its many benefits. One of them is the ease of installation, as all it takes are these few steps:
- Acclimatise the Laminate: Bring it into the room for at least 48 hours.
- Prepare the Subfloor: Laminate can’t be laid over bricks, natural stone, and carpets. But you can install it over tiles, hardwood, linoleum, plywood, and LVT. Just ensure these are sanded off, coated with proper adhesive, and even before laying new laminate.
- Add Underlayment: Use cork or foam to make the subfloor even.
- Lay Laminate Flooring: Laminate installation starts from the room corner. You lay planks one by one, ensuring you leave an expansion gap of at least 8 mm. Use a rubber mallet or tapping block to ensure planks are firmly in place.
- Cutting and Fitting: Cutting laminate planks will be necessary around doors and radiator pipes. Use laminate floor edgings to cover expansion gaps.
How Do You Fit Wood Flooring?
Wood flooring is a natural and aesthetically pleasing way to enhance your room’s look. But it’s also costly and tricky to install, so you should follow these steps thoroughly:
- Acclimatise Wooden Floors: This step is essential for this flooring type, as wood should be acclimated correctly to ensure proper response to moisture levels. It should be in the room for at least three days.
- Subfloor Preparation: Wood floors usually go over concrete and plywood subfloors, but you can also lay them over cork and vinyl, provided you install a proper underlayment. In any case, the subfloor should be flat, debris-free, and dry.
- Check Moisture Levels: This parameter varies depending on the subfloor type, but it shouldn’t be more than 12%. Use moisture metres to check moisture levels before wood floor installation.
- Lay Wooden Floor: Fit wooden planks onto the subfloor, starting from the corner. Use spacers to leave at least 10 mm expansion gaps. Spread the glue, nail the planks, or click them together, section by section. Use a rubber mallet to attach floor pieces.
- Cutting: Before installing the last row, you should cut it to fit snuggly. Don’t forget to leave expansion gaps.
- A Finishing Touch: Use skirting or quarter-round moulding to cover expansion gaps.
How Do You Fit Vinyl Flooring?
Vinyl floors are an option for all those who don’t want to cut corners on appearance and performance but still want to pay less than ceramic or wood. Homeowners prefer this flooring type due to its simple installation, as described in the following steps:
- Choose Vinyl Floor Type: You can opt for sheets, planks, or tiles. The installation procedure doesn’t differ much; you’ll have a bit more cutting with sheets.
- Acclimatisation: Leave vinyl for 48 hours to adapt to room conditions and thus prevent warping and buckling.
- Subfloor Preparation: Pay great attention to levelling the subfloor since vinyl is thin and soft, so every bump will show. If the surface is rough, use a proper embossing leveller to make it even. Let it dry and sand it off to ensure it’s perfectly flat. Underlayment isn’t necessary unless you fit floating LVT.
- Lay Vinyl Sheets/Planks/Tiles: In the case of sheets, you have to unroll them and fit them along the walls. You might need double-sided tape to secure them before applying the adhesive. If you lay tiles or planks, glue them down in small sections. Remove excess adhesive and use a floor roller to flatten the vinyl.
- Cut to Fit: Cut vinyl around curvy edges, radiator pipes, and doors. In the case of LVT or LVP, leave expansion gaps using spacers before you add skirting boards. Cover visible seams to make the floor smooth and even.
- Add Profiles: This step is necessary to join two vinyl sections where installing skirting isn’t possible or ensure a smooth transition between different floors.
- Let It Dry: It takes at least 24 hours for the adhesive to thicken. After that, clean the vinyl floor, and it’s ready for use.
How Do You Fit the Carpet?
Carpeting a room brings many benefits, making it cosier and warmer. Installing this flooring type is an easy DIY project you can handle all alone by following these steps:
- Choose the Carpet: You have to decide on a type of carpet for your rooms.
- Prepare the Subfloor: The carpet can be laid over the existing floor, but its preparation depends on its condition. If it’s damaged, it’s best to remove the old floor and install chipboard flooring panels to make the surface even. In case of minor imperfections, you can lay hard floor underlayment before carpet fitting.
- Install Fitting Grippers: These will hold the carpet in place. Use glue or nails to insert them into the subfloor and cut them to the proper length using a saw. Leave a few millimetres between grippers and skirting boards.
- Add Underlayment: This layer before carpet installation ensures a tight fit to the subfloor and provides good sound insulation and warm underfoot. Depending on the carpet type, room traffic, and budget, you can choose different underlayment materials, thicknesses, and features.
- Cut the Carpet: Place the carpet loosely over the fitting, starting from a room corner. Use your feet to move the carpet to the place, and cut the vertical lines to fit it in corners and edges. Cut the carpet edges along the walls, holding the carpeting with one hand. You’ll need a carpet tucker to fit it alongside the skirting.
- Stretch the Carpet: Use a stretcher and your knee to push the carpet and hook it on grippers. Pull the flooring as tightly as possible. Once again, get a carpet tucker and push the excess edges down.
- Install a Door Bar: This is necessary whether you lay carpet over the threshold or join different floor types. Once you put it in place, push the carpet edges underneath it.
What Are the Tools Required for Flooring Installation?
Before flooring installation, you should gather all your tools and supplies to have them on hand. You can use some amateur tools from your DIY toolbox, but depending on the floor type, you might need some specific tools.
- Measuring tools
- Floor scrapers
- Spacers and nippers
- Saws for different floor materials (tile saw, chop saw, and jigsaw)
- Utility knife or scalpel
- A ruler or straight edge
- Chalk line
- Cleaning tools (cloths, brushes, buckets, sponges, and vacuum cleaner)
Why Is It Critical to Have the Proper Flooring Installation Tools?
The proper tool will make the flooring installation faster and more efficient. The same goes for subfloor preparation, as you need static and power tools to scrape the old flooring, prepare the substrate, and lay a new floor.
What Are the Most Needed Tools for Flooring Installation?
As some steps in flooring installation repeat for all floor types (measuring, subfloor prep, and cleaning), there are some must-have tools for these purposes:
- Measure tape
- Floor scraper, manual or electrical
- Power tools like drills, nailers, and saws
- Supplies like glue, nails, and underlayment
- Cleaning equipment
Are There Any Particular Tools Required for Specific Aspects of Flooring Installation?
Yes, different floor types require using some particular tools for different installation stages:
- Laminate Fitting: Jigsaw, rubber mallet, and tapping block
- Wood Fitting: Chop or mitre saw, rubber mallet, and pneumatic nailer
- Vinyl Fitting: Knife or vinyl cutter and floor rollers
- Carpet Fitting: Carpet tuckers and stretchers
What Is the Price of Flooring Installation?
The average price for flooring installation in the UK is between £400 and £1,000. For an average room of 16 square metres, flooring costs can be as low as £140 for carpet fitting but can go up to £1,600 for high-quality wood floor.
Flooring costs can significantly vary depending on the floor type and room size. It also matters whether you lay the floor alone or hire professional fitters. Different brands offer flooring materials in wide price ranges, depending on their quality, features, and the company’s reputation.
How Is the Cost of Flooring Installation Calculated?
You can calculate flooring costs by multiplying the room’s size by the price of the selected flooring material per square metre. That’s a rough estimate, so add supply costs and labour fees. Skip the latter if you opt for DIY flooring installation.
How Do Various Kinds of Flooring Impact the Cost of Installation?
Flooring materials come in a wide price range, depending on their quality, durability, features, and thickness. You can lay some floors all by yourself, which is cost-effective. But some floors require more than basic DIY skills, so if you don’t have them, you must hire professional fitters.
How Does the Size of the Space Getting Floored Affect the Installation Price?
Depending on the room size, you’ll know the material and supply amount, so you can calculate flooring installation costs. It’s not the same when you renovate floors in the entire house and when you get a single room floored. Larger spaces require more flooring materials, supplies, and work, so the overall installation costs will be higher.
Is There Any Extra Cost Involved in Flooring Installation?
Depending on the floor type and who performs the installation, you can expect some additional costs:
- Old floor removal and subfloor preparation
- Underlayment fitting
- Installation of new skirting or boarding
- Cleaning and garbage removal
- Underfloor heating
Do You Need the Existing Flooring to be Removed?
No, this isn’t always necessary, especially if the old floor is in good condition, so it doesn’t need to be repaired first. In case a particular floor type can’t go over the existing flooring, you either have to remove it or install a proper underlayment.
How Do You Determine How Much Flooring You Will Require for Installation?
After deciding which room needs a flooring makeover, you have to measure it to know how much flooring material you need. You’ll need a measuring tape and probably another pair of hands to measure the flooring area size.
How Do You Precisely Calculate the Dimensions of the Room for Installation?
The calculation will be more or less complex, depending on the room’s shape and obstacles. Measure the length of all walls and permanent items in the room. It’s best to draw a sketch and put all measures in writing, with all details like doors, radiators, walk-in closets, etc.
When Calculating the Amount of Flooring, How Do You Account for Doors, Closets, and Other Obstacles?
Permanent objects like walk-in closets, fireplaces, and pillars aren’t a part of the flooring area. Measure their length, width, or diameter, calculate their surface, and subtract them from the room surface to get the actual size of the flooring area. Exclude doors, as you’ll include them in the wall measuring (you measure wall length over doorsteps).
What Are the Various Ways for Determining the Quantity of Flooring Required?
You’ll need to measure the room to determine the flooring quantity. However, this is a simple task only when the room is rectangular. You’ll have to use different calculation methods if the flooring area has an irregular shape.
- If the room is a rectangle or square, you’ll perform the calculation by simply multiplying the lengths of two adjacent walls.
- In the case of irregular shapes, divide the area into smaller rectangular sections. Determine the size of each rectangle and finally add them up to get the total flooring area.
- For rooms with triangular or round corners, you have to divide the entire area into sections and use proper math formulas to calculate the area of triangles, circles and semicircles.
How Much Additional Flooring Is Suggested to Allow for Cutting and Fitting?
When installing the new floor, there will be some wastage, so always buy 5 to 10% more material than you think you need. For rooms of irregular shapes, you should expect more waste, so you should buy 15% more materials.
How Long Does It Usually Take to Install New Flooring?
Flooring installation can take a few hours up to several days, depending on the floor type, room size, fitters’ skills, and the subfloor condition.
What Elements Might Influence the Length of the Flooring Installation Process?
Many factors affect the installation process and how long it’ll last:
- Room size
- The floor type and how much cutting it needs
- Whether you lay the floor on a new subfloor or over the existing floor
- The subfloor condition
- The number of people working on this project and their skills
Should You Install Flooring Yourself or Hire a Professional?
Yes, you can install different floor types yourself, alone or with the help of friends. But you need proper tools, basic DIY skills, and good organisation. But if you don’t have enough time and expertise to handle this project, call professional fitters, regardless of the floor type.
What Are the Advantages of Installing the Flooring Yourself?
Here are some pros of DIY flooring installation:
- It’s cost-effective.
- You don’t have to waste time looking for skilled and reputable fitters.
- There’s no need to wait for fitters to come when they have time.
- You can create any design and pattern you want.
- Work to your schedule and pace.
What Are the Advantages of Having a Professional Install Your Flooring?
If you decide to call professional floor fitters, here’s why that’s a good idea:
- Fitters have the proper tools to get the job done fast and efficiently.
- They have a routine for flooring installation.
- They can provide you with quality flooring materials at lower costs.
- You waste no time and energy.
- You get a work warranty.
How Do You Take Care of Your Newly Installed Flooring?
After installation, your new floor needs regular maintenance to look as good as new for a long time. Some of these steps should be performed daily, while those including deep cleaning and stain removal aren’t required that often:
- Sweep or Vacuum Floors Regularly: This will prevent scratching and early wear-and-tear and make your floor look tidy all the time.
- Remove Spills: Clean spills with a dry cloth or a paper towel as soon as possible to prevent water damage and slipping accidents.
- Prevent Damage: Add rugs and mats to high-traffic areas (for laminate or wood floors), cover your furniture legs, and don’t move heavy items around to prevent scratching.
- Deep Cleaning as Needed: Use a wet mop for stain removal once a week. Carpets require deep cleaning every year.
- Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Use mild cleansing agents specially designed for particular floor types.
How Do You Keep Your New Flooring Clean?
You should mop your floors to prevent staining. Here’s how to do that:
- Swipe the floor first, or vacuum it if it’s a carpet.
- Prepare the cleaning solution using a product-specified cleansing agent and warm water.
- Dip the mop and wring it well since it should be slightly damp.
- Mop the floor from one room corner to another.
- Fill the bucket with clean water and rinse the floor over and over as long as the rinse water is muddy and grey.
- Dry the floor with old towels, or let it air dry.
How Often Should Your New Flooring Be Cleaned?
Perform regular floor maintenance every three to four days (except for carpets, which require deep cleaning from time to time). Mop the flooring surface more often in high-traffic areas. Also, if you have kids and pets, you’d probably need to clean the floor daily due to spills, dirt, pet hair, and possible “accidents.”
To Avoid Lasting Damage, How Should You Handle Spills and Stains on Your Flooring?
To prevent damage, you should remove spills and stains as soon as they occur. For spills, use a dry cloth or a paper towel. Use a mop or a soft-bristle brush for stubborn stains.
What Are the Best Methods for Cleaning Your Flooring of Dirt, Debris, and Pet Hair?
Different floor types require different cleaning methods. Use a broom or brush and a slightly wet mop for wood, laminate, and vinyl. For carpets, use a vacuum cleaner for dirt and debris and a rubber brush to pick up pet hair.
How Do You Get Rid of Old Flooring?
If you need to remove the old floor before installing a new one, you’re probably thinking about how to dispose of it. Different materials should follow unique removal procedures since most of these aren’t biodegradable but can be recycled.
Are There Any Rules or Laws in Your Region Concerning the Disposal of Old Flooring?
No, there’s no particular law regarding old floor disposal, but its scraps might undergo the Law on Household Waste Collection, which implies waste disposal using the services of local authorities or registered removal companies.
What Are the Most Ecologically Responsible Ways to Dispose of Old Flooring?
There are many ways to get rid of old flooring, whether it’ll get a second life or be disposed of:
- Call waste carriers.
- Take the old floor to local recycling centres.
- If the old floor is still usable, you can use it for shed, garage, or doghouse flooring.
- You can give away or donate old floors if they’re still in good shape.
Are There Any Recycling Sites or Facilities In the Area That Take Old Flooring?
Yes, most communities in the UK have local recycling centres that can take up your old carpets, laminate, or tiles. You can ask around or use the internet to reach them out and arrange old floor disposal.
Will the Flooring Fitters Remove Your Existing Flooring?
Yes, floor fitters can help you remove and get rid of old flooring before installing a new one, but this service comes with a price tag.
A new floor makes your property comfortable, good-looking, and more valuable. That’s why every step of flooring installation matters, from choosing the suitable material to following proper installation techniques. And if you think carpets are the perfect fit for you, get in touch with a reputable UK carpeting company to help you find the best flooring solution for your needs and budget.