Stripping wooden floors

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Flooring, Home Improvements

Wooden floors can give a room a rich and lavish look if the finish is good.  As trends change, lighter and darker finishes come in and out of fashion.  This means floors have to be stripped back to the bare wood to give a different colour finish.

Tools to use

Stripping a wooden floor can be hard work and while small areas with little varnish can sometimes be sanded by hand, often it is necessary to use an electric sander.  Electric sanders can be hired by the day at most local tool hire plants.  Usually a large lawnmower style sander is available which can be used for the main area of the floor.  These sanders are powerful and pull you along in the way that a lawnmower would.  An orbital sander is usually provided to do the edges of the area where the larger machine cannot reach.  A smaller triangular or rectangular sander should be used for reaching into the corners.  The hire company will also provide sandpaper to fit the machines and charge you, based on how much you use.

Things to remember

When sanding a floor it is important to sand along the grain of the wood to avoid causing unsightly marks in the floor.  Before sanding, care should be taken to ensure that any nails or tacks which hold the floor in place are sunk beneath the surface of the wood.  If nails are left protruding above the surface, the sandpaper will be ripped from the machine and the machine may be damaged. 

DIY Tips – Laying Laminate flooring

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Flooring, Home Improvements

Laying a new laminate floor and giving your home a totally new look is within the realms of most DIY enthusiasts. You need:

•    Laminate flooring underlay.
•    A saw.
•    Laminate flooring – check the measurements with the surface you wish to cover.
•    Skirting board.
•    Flooring adhesive.
•    A workbench for cutting wood.
•    Trim cutters for cutting the laminate.
•    Fitting edges.

Modern laminate flooring can be laid on top of an existing surface as long as the surface is smooth. Once the surface has been checked, you are ready to lay the underlay. The type of material you will need to use depends on the quality of the floor underneath and also its material. If you are covering a concrete floor then use a polyfoam underlay over a damp-proof membrane. Some people use wood fibreboards; others choose a combined underlay and damp-proof membrane.

Now unwrap the locking laminate flooring and leave it to rest for 48 hours. You are ready to start laying your floor. The grooves of one board will fit into the tongues of the next board. Start off in the left hand side of the room and remember to leave wooden edges where the floor will meet the skirting board. Once you have followed the manufacturer’s laying instructions you will be in a position to finish the job by lining the sides of the floor with a laminate trim. Ensure that the adhesive is secured to the side of the trim that will be fixed to the skirting board to complete the work.

The benefits of laminate flooring

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Flooring

Laminate flooring has increased in popularity in recent years. Householders have learned of the benefits this modern flooring offers, with features such as a warm underfoot feeling, easy cleaning, maintenance and simple installation. Allergies aggravated by dust are better managed in an environment without carpets, and laminate flooring is a good alternative.

Another reason for choosing laminate flooring is the price. Compared to other options, laminate flooring offers the best choice in style and finish, and also boasts impressive durability.

On the surface, laminate flooring looks similar to traditional wooden flooring. Surprisingly, laminate flooring contains no wood at all, just a thin film of décor paper tightly sealed under a hardened, protective, clear finish. The décor paper is simply a photographic image of a specific type of wood grain adhered to a solid back.

Installation is straightforward. Depending on the product, flooring can be glued to a subfloor or laid on an underlay to keep it off the surface below. Systems are available that click together easily. This method is often the quickest and cleanest option.

The wide choice of colours, effects and finishes means there is laminate flooring suitable for most interiors.

Replacing a Damaged Floor Tile

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Flooring, Tiles

Dropped something onto your tiled floor and caused one to crack? Do not worry, this can be fixed.

Assuming you have a replacement tile available, the task of removing and fitting a new one is simple.

First, pierce approximately four holes across the tile from corner to corner using a masonry drill. Wear protective goggles and gloves, tap along the line of holes with a lump hammer to crack the tile.

A dull wood chisel can be used to crack up and scrape away old tile. Ensure all grout is removed from around the edges. Work from both directions to remove tile.

Remove any glue left using the chisel; any ridges in the surface will be adhesive residue. Clean the area sweeping away old tile, dust and dirt, leaving a smooth surface for the new tile.

Apply tile adhesive using a ridged scraper. Slip the tile in place, ensuring it does not sit proud of other tiles. Using the smooth side of your scraper, add adhesive around the new tile where it meets existing tiles. Wipe any excess away with a cloth.

How to Fit Locking Laminate Flooring

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Flooring, Home Improvements

Fitting laminate floorboards is quite simple. However, as laminate flooring expands and contracts, you will need to leave a ten-millimetre space between the edge of the boards and the skirting boards. Use fitting wedges to help you to do this.

Lay your boards lengthways working towards the source of the light in your room. Start to lay your flooring boards from the left hand side.

Lay your first board so that the short tongue is against the wall. Fit the fitting wedges in between the wall and the board, ensuring that it is exactly parallel to the wall.

Lay your next board end-on to the first one. Ensure that the tongues lock together. To lock the boards together, slide your second board in at a 30-degree angle so that it is able to slot-in when it is lowered. Continue in the same way until you have completed a row.

To strengthen your laminate floor, you will need to offset the boards. Begin to lay your second row with the aid of half a board. Angle the long side of the board at 30 degrees. Press forward and down to lock the flooring in place.

Lay the short end of the successive flooring board at an angle against the board you placed down earlier and fold down, ensuring that the floorboard is against the locking strip of the previous row.

Angle the flooring boards at 30 degrees and push them against the front row. When the boards seem to be tight together, push them down.

When fitting the last row, place one board at a time over the top of the previous row. Place a third board atop, so that its tongue touches the skirting, and use the edge of the board to distinguish the cutting line on the flooring board beneath. Cut the board to size and ease it into its position.

Finally, remove the fitting wedges.

Staining Wood Floors

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Flooring, Home Improvements, Interior Design

There is a large number of different stains for wood floors; some of these include water, spirit or oil-based wood stains.  Regardless of the type you choose, you should sand the floor first and wait a day before staining; this will ensure that the area is clean and free of sawdust.

A water-based wood stain can cause the grain of the wood to rise significantly.  If you decide to use a water-based stain, try it out on a small portion of the floor.  Spirit-based wood stains will be fairly pungent to the nose at first, so make sure the room is well ventilated.  Also, make sure dust and particles will not be blown in from the outside; once a surface is stained, it is hard to remove particles without ruining the stain.

Remember to wear thick protective gloves, especially when dealing with spirit-based stains.  Stains can cause irritation, although the main problem is that they can stain your hands.  Check the packaging for any additional health advice.

Next, stir the stain fully before using it – you should also stir it occasionally while in the process of staining the floor.  Consistent stirring prevents uneven colours from being transferred to the wood.  When you apply the stain, apply it evenly and work backwards to the door of the room to avoid being cornered in.  Use a lint-free padded cloth to get the best coverage.

Laying Laminate Flooring

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Flooring, How To Guides, Interior Design

Laminate Floors

Laying a laminate floor can transform your room into a friendly, roomier space.  Laminate floors are relatively easy to install, are softer than tiles or stone floors, and can typically last longer than a wooden alternative.  They can give a room a modern, clean look and can be kept clean with a brush, mop, or vacuum cleaner.


Before you start laying the laminate floor, ensure that you store the material at room temperature.  If you store the laminate material in hot or cold conditions, it will make the planks be more difficult to place properly.  When you buy the laminate planks, always overestimate how much you will need as you will need to cut some pieces to fit into edges, around wall fittings and so on.


Thoroughly clean the surface area on which you will start to lay the new flooring.  Lay out the underlying damp course – a ground sheet – ensuring it covers the entire surface.  Start laying the first laminate planks – typically this is performed by laying the longest plank parallel to the longest wall.  Leave a couple of millimetres between the plank and the wall so that the floor when finished has room to expand according to the temperature.

Slotting Planks into Place

Laminate planks typically slot into place.  They are manufactured as an easy to lay material.  Always verify that the planks fit tightly together along their entire length.  The last plank may need to be trimmed or sanded to fit properly.

How to Lay DIY Laminate Flooring

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Flooring, Home Improvements, How To Guides

An easy DIY job is laying laminate flooring. If the longest wall in the room you are working in is straight and true you can start immediately with the first row along that wall. Lay the first line with the grooved edge facing the wall and a plastic spacer in place every two feet. If the wall is uneven, lay out a line of laminate flooring and, touching the most prominent area, mark the line of the rest of the wall on the boards.

Get a scrap of wood the same width from the wall as the widest point, and use this as a guide to make a pencil mark along the length of the laminates. You should then cut the pieces with an electric jigsaw for ease.

As before, lay out the first length, separated from the wall by the spacer. Each piece of laminate will either snap together or be held in place with a little glue. Make sure you stagger the successive rows by about a foot so as to give them the appropriate look. You can now proceed to lay the rest of the flooring making sure to pack them firmly against each other.

Cutting around doorframes can be tricky, so either make a template of the section you need to cut out or saw a section off the architrave to the thickness of the board and push it underneath.  Once the floor is completely fitted you can then reattach the skirting boards or fill in the remaining gap with a half rounded moulding to hide the expansion space.

Advice for Your DIY Underfloor Heating Project

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Flooring, Heating

Installing an underfloor heating system makes for an excellent DIY project if you are skilled at performing home improvements.  However, there are a few aspects of this endeavour that you should be aware of before jumping into the project.  The following is some advice to follow if you are planning on installing an electric underfloor heating system in your home.

– Remember the old adage “failing to plan means that you are planning to fail”.  This is especially true when you consider installing an underfloor heating system, whether it is a dry (electric) or wet (water) heating system.  Consider what electricity costs where you live in the UK because some areas are more expensive than others.  If the electricity is too costly, then you should consider going with a wet underfloor heating system.

– Depending on the quality of insulation that you have and the number of rooms that you are planning to heat, your usage will vary compared to other homes in your area.

– You can control the amount of energy that is consumed by installing an independent underfloor heating thermostat in each room that is going to be heated.  This is a very cost-effective measure as it will allow a lower temperature to be set in unoccupied rooms.

– Remember that as you are installing the underfloor heating system, the room that you are working in cannot be occupied and must be cleared of furniture.  You should install the underfloor heating system in the rooms that are used most often before those that are rarely used.

Benefits of Underfloor Heating

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Flooring, Heating

Many people are now opting for underfloor heating rather than standard central heating as it has several benefits for the consumer. 

Operating an underfloor heating system can often work out to be a cost efficient alternative to other types of heating.  Using water underfloor heating can be a cheaper alternative as the water is heated to a lower temperature than in a system that uses wall mounted radiators.  This system also runs more quietly than conventional central heating. 

Underfloor heating is often installed as standard in newly built homes, particularly in small buildings.  It allows maximum use of space without radiators taking up wall space.  This also means that radiators are not gathering dust and are not causing problems when it comes to decorating a room. 

This also offers health and safety benefits, as there are no hot pipes or radiators for people to burn themselves on and the fixtures will not harbour dust mites which may be irritating for those who have allergies.  Having to cover radiators defeated the object of having heating as it meant that the heat was restricted. 

When floor heating is used in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms which are prone to wet floors and condensation, the user will find that they will dry out much more quickly and damp will be less of a problem. 

Having underfloor heating is an advantage to home owners as potential buyers will often see it as an unusual feature that adds value to a property and will offer long term benefits.