Installing Engineered Wood Flooring

So you’ve picked your new floor and you’ve gone for engineered wood – great choice! Now it’s time to get it installed, but with multiple methods available, how do you know which is best for you? Of course it’s completely down to personal choice, but there are three main methods:

  • Glue down
  • Nail down
  • Floating floor

Lets explore each method a little further..

Photo by Amber Flooring

Floating Method

The first thing that you need to do when it comes to engineered flooring is acclimatise the floor, this should take around 3-5 days. If you’re not sure what it acclimatising is, this is the process in which you condition the moisture content of the floor to the environment of which it is going to be installed in and where it is expected to perform. A bit like when you buy a fish from the pet shop and you have to get it used to the temperature of your tank!

Photo by Martin’s Floor Covering

Once the floor has been acclimatised to its surroundings then it’s time to crack on with the real work! Starting off by laying a single layer of underlay, this will ensure that the floor is protected and will wear more evenly. On top of this, a decent underlay can add an extra layer of insulation to a room.

Photo by Rauser Design

Next you need to decide which way you would prefer to lay the planks and then start laying them from the longest wall. It’s important that when you are placing the first plank down that you do so with a spacer, this will then allow for any expansion of the wood.

Photo by Luster Custom Homes & Remodeling

Then, using the tongue and groove joints you can fit the rest of the floor, knocking it into place using a kick tool and a hammer. When all the flooring is down you can remove the spacers and fit the threshold strip around the perimeter of the floor. This should then result in all expansion gaps that have occurred being fully covered, leaving you with a stunning new floor!

Nailing Method

This method requires the same start as the method above, you need to acclimatise the floor before you can do anything. Again, start by laying the flooring at the longest wall, only this time try to leave an expansion gap of around 10mm between the floor and the wall.

Photo by Dotter & Solfjeld Architecture + Design

When it comes to inserting the fixings you must ensure that the joints at the end of each board are around 100mm apart. Once complete then remove all spacers and fit threshold strips around the perimeter of the floor to cover any expansion gaps.

Photo by Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders

Glue Down Method

If the subfloor that you are using is concrete then it is recommended that you install engineered flooring using the glue down method. However, if the concrete is uneven then chipboard or plywood should be placed on the top of it to produce an even surface for the flooring to be installed on. A damp proof membrane may also need to be laid, this is designed to prevent any moisture rising and seeping into the product.


This process starts exactly the same as the two prior to it, by acclimatising the floor to its surroundings. Once this has been sone you can start dry laying the first boards, starting at the longest wall in which the tongues of the first couple of rows should face the wall  and leaving an expansion gap of around 10mm.

Photo by 450 Architects, Inc.

Once the floor has been provisionally laid, pull up the first couple of rows and apply the adhesive evenly to the subfloor. Lay the flooring to the adhesive ensuring spacers are used to create an expansion gap of 10mm. As with other engineered flooring methods, it is recommended that you work from the longest wall to the other side of the room.

Photo by Mosaic Interiors SF

Again, once the floor is laid remove all spacers and fit the threshold strips around the perimeter of the floor to cover any expansion gaps.

Photo by Creative Touch Interiors

And there you have it! An insight into the most popular methods of installing engineered wood floors. Of course it’s completely up to you which one you use, if any. We also understand that not everyone is DIY confident, if this is the case then you can always hire a floor fitter who will gladly do the job for you!

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