A natural plank floor made of real wood is a pleasant change from the many unnatural artificial floor coverings today. Above all, however, a wooden floor goes much better with most furnishings, which are also very much in the country house style today. Various types of wood are available as flooring. Here in the instructions we show how you can lay the plank floor yourself.
You often see beautiful floorboards in old buildings, which already have a few scratches and joints, but some of them have been on the floor for more than 100 years. Today we have completely different options so that there are no or at least much smaller joints in the floorboards. Even the unpopular creaking of the floorboards can now often be permanently prevented during installation. We will therefore show you here how you should design the substructure so that the creaking is hardly noticeable. In the DIY instructions you will find the individual steps to lay a floor made of wooden planks yourself.
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materials and preparation
What you need:
- cordless screwdriver
- drilling machine
- Wood drill fine
- table saw
- Japanese saw
- cutter knife
- rubber mallet
- folding rule
- wooden floorboards
- angle small
- Slats / construction wood
- vapor barrier
- duct tape
- Impact sound insulation / felt mats
costs and prices
If you pay careful attention to a few points, you really don’t need a craftsman to lay a floorboard. Even beginners among the do-it-yourselfers can do this job very well with a little patience. What’s more, it’s a job that will boost your confidence as a future handyman every day as you walk over the new wooden floor.
- Wooden planks pine 15 mm thick – 200 x 12 cm – from about 9.00 euros per square meter
- Oak planks 15 mm thick – 200 x 13 cm – from around 40.00 euros per square meter
- Wooden floorboards larch 20 mm thick – 200 x 14.5 cm – from about 15.00 euros per square meter
- Walnut wooden floorboards 20 mm thick – 200 x 14 cm – from around 67.00 euros per square meter
Tip: You can find small moisture meters in hardware stores that cost around ten euros. This allows you to determine the moisture content of the wood. This investment is worthwhile, especially if you choose a slightly more expensive type of wood for the floor. The remaining moisture in the wood should be less than ten percent if possible. If the wood is even damper, it will later dry on your floor and develop severe cracks. In addition, this damage then contributes to the creaking of the floor.
The most important point for a stable floorboard is the spacing of the joists or the substructure so that the wooden floorboards do not sag over time. For example, the spacing of the joists in the substructure should not exceed around 50 centimeters for 21 millimeter thick planks. Accordingly, thinner, cheaper planks may require joists that are closer together.
- Slats / joists – spruce / fir 200 cm long – 28 x 48 mm – each about 0.90 euros
- Slats / joists – spruce / fir 300 cm long – 28 x 48 mm – piece about 1.35 euros
- Squared timber – spruce / fir 200 cm long – 38 x 58 mm – piece about 1.50 euros
- Squared timber – spruce / fir 300 cm long – 38 x 58 mm – piece about 2.25 euros
- Squared timber – spruce / fir 200 cm long – 58 x 58 mm – piece about 2.40 euros
- Squared timber – spruce / fir 300 cm long – 58 x 58 mm – piece about 4.70 euros
Tip: If you have found somewhere particularly high-quality, thicker planks, you can expand the distances a little, but you shouldn’t overdo it. The closer the joists are, the safer and more stable each individual plank rests. At the same time, this ensures that the floorboards do not warp and creak over time.
Structure of a plank floor
Here we have listed the reverse structure of the new floor. In principle, the structure is always the same with concrete, tiles or old wooden panels. You only have to install a complete substructure with beams if there is no load-bearing subsoil. Incidentally, the impact sound insulation or the felt is only installed under the joists.
- concrete floor
- vapor barrier
- Impact sound insulation or felt
Tip: In many cases, there are now special self-adhesive rubber strips for do-it-yourselfers in hardware stores, some of which are also covered with felt. These tapes have a gel-like interior, preventing noise and creaking as the wood works. In other markets there is self-adhesive felt tape, which is also slightly stronger and has the same effect.
DIY instructions – lay wooden floorboards
Let the wooden floorboards breathe in the room for some time so that they can acclimate. This will reduce future cracks and shrinkage. If you are just starting out as a do-it-yourselfer, pine or larch is usually the best choice for the first floorboard. The wood is cheap and so some waste is not immediately a disaster.
1. Arrange the offset sensibly
You will hardly find affordable wooden floorboards that cover the whole room in length. Therefore, you usually have to attach the planks somewhere in the room. You will get a nice picture if you have thought about this approach before buying the floorboards. If you have to start twice, you can arrange this offset differently in every second row, for example. This creates a nice even pattern.
For example, if a room is 3.90 meters wide and you have wooden floorboards that are two meters long, the offset is arranged exactly in the middle of the room in every second row. In the other row, on the other hand, saw the wood so that there is a complete floorboard in the middle. This form of laying is then referred to as a regular association. A disorderly laying, on the other hand, is called a wild bond.
Tip: Under no circumstances should the seams or attachments always lie exactly on top of each other, this looks ugly and like a border in the room. In the case of individually screwed wooden floorboards, this has no effect from a technical point of view, but later it just looks like it was wanted and not skillfully.
2. Lay out the vapor barrier
Especially with a concrete floor, it is essential to lay a vapor barrier under the joists. This is pulled up at the edge to above the future floor and glued to the wall. In this way, rising damp cannot cause rot in the wood. This foil edge is later hidden behind the skirting board.
Tip: Do not put glass wool or mineral wool in the gap between the joists. Dust falls through the cracks in the floor and when vacuuming you pull mineral wool out again. Allergy sufferers in particular would suffer from this type of insulation.
3. Lay the joists
The joists are laid on the vapor barrier with a lining of felt or impact sound. You do not have to screw the joists to the substructure. This can even be disadvantageous because you will damage the vapor barrier and the screws could even rust away. In order to prevent the joists from slipping against each other, you can insert short ends at the right distance between the individual fields and, if necessary, connect them to the crossbeams with small angles.
Tip: Use the spirit level to check whether the joists are exactly straight. If this is not the case, you can line them with thin wooden plates. Check not only the individual joists, but also the entire substructure. To do this, place a long slat or wooden plank over the joists and place the spirit level on it.
4. Screw the first row together
The first row of wooden floorboards must be adjusted to the unevenness of the wall. To do this, mark the unevenness with a pencil and saw them out with a jigsaw. Screw this first and the following row from above. If you feel that your planks easily splinter, you should pre-drill the holes with a fine wood drill bit. It is important to always drill out the holes with a countersink so that nobody later tears their feet open on splinters.
Tip: If you want to lay the wooden floorboards in a damp room such as a kitchen or bathroom, you should use stainless steel screws. Normal screws would rust quickly, which is not only ugly but also impractical if a screw needs to be tightened.
5. From the third row
From the third row, each plank is screwed diagonally into the tongue with the bearing wood. Turn the screws in far enough, otherwise you will not be able to push the next board into the tongue. The penultimate row is then screwed on again from above and also drilled with a countersink. The last row must again be adapted to the shape of the wall. This board is also screwed from above.
Tips for speed readers
- Calculate joists and construction
- Decide and buy the type of wood for the floorboards
- Measure the room and divide the plank length
- Arrange offset – offset seams
- Lay out and glue vapor barrier
- Lay out and align the joists
- Lining the joists with felt / impact sound
- Match first row of floorboards to wall
- screw the first two rows from above with wooden battens
- Drill out the screw holes with a countersink first
- Screw on further planks according to the planned laying pattern
- screw these planks diagonally from the front through the tongue
- adjust the last plank to the wall as well
- screw the last two rows from above again