Installing glue-down wood floors

Wood floor installation will vary depending on the type of wood floor and the room where you choose to lay it. Glue-down installation is one of the most common methods these days, especially for solid wood floors. The technique is popular as it ensures a very stable floor with good acoustic insulation.

As a bonus, glue-down installation is also compatible with underfloor heating and reversible heated floors. However, it does require some specific knowledge. Read on to learn how to glue a wood floor.

How should I prepare the floor for installing glue-down wood strips?

Here are a few tips on preparing the floor for installation:

  • Use a spirit level to check that the floor in your chosen room is flat (the floor will need levelling if there is more than a 2-mm discrepancy per metre).
  • Ensure that the floor in your chosen room is completely clean and dry.
  • Decide on the installation direction, be it parallel to the longest wall in the room or in the direction of an external light source.
  • Leave the pack of wood floor strips to ‘rest’ for 2 to 7 days in your chosen room before opening them. This will enable them to acclimatize to the ambient temperature and humidity levels, reducing the risk of warping and facilitating the installation process.
  • For a balanced and cohesive finish, feel free to mix different packs of strips for a variety of different lengths and hues.
  • Check what types of wood floors are compatible with underfloor heating if you opt for a heated floor.
  • If you live in an apartment, it's a good idea to insulate the floor prior to installation.

How should I measure out a wood floor before cutting it?

Use a tape measure to calculate the number of rows necessary to cover the width of the room. This will help you establish the dimensions of the first and last strip.
To do so, divide the length (AB) of your room by the width (CD) of a single strip to get a rough figure, then round down (for example, if you get E=24.8 cm, round down to 24 cm).
To ensure that the strips are installed evenly across the room, we advise carrying out the following calculation: AB-(E×CD)] divided by 2. This will enable you to ascertain the width of the first row.

How can I cut my wood floor to fit around obstacles?

Radiators, pipes, stairs, doors and uneven walls ... every room has obstacles that you will need to work around.
For obstacles such as pipe valves, all you need to do is mark the measurements on the affected strip (not forgetting an 8-mm min. expansion gap), cut it to size and install a suitable pipe gasket or cover.
For obstacles such as thresholds or uneven walls (curved walls, for example), measure the space and cut the wood floor strip to the desired dimensions, again not forgetting about the expansion gap. If there is no skirting board to hide the gap, simply make a notch in the bottom of the door frame so that the wood floor can slot in on top of it. Don't forget that the layer of glue you apply will increase the thickness of the wood floor strips so your calculations should take this into account.
We always recommend checking that the notch will fit the irregular lengths of flooring before you glue them in place.

How should I glue my wood floor?

First off, make sure that the room isn’t too humid. If there’s a storm brewing, installation should definitely be postponed.
Start by applying a suitable polymer glue with a trowel, before spreading it out with a notched trowel (also called an adhesive comb). This tool enables you to create ridges in the glue for optimal sticking power. Apply the glue to small areas at a time, making sure that layer is even and covers the entire surface.
Every time you install a new strip, use the trowel to scrape off any excess glue outside the area that you are glueing to avoid any extra thickness as you continue to lay the floor.
Never glue anything but the floor: the strips should be laid as they are with suitable pressure applied to ensure they are firmly adhered. Use a mallet if necessary.
Next, place the expansion wedges between the walls and the wood floor and leave to dry for 24 hours. Do not walk on the floor during this time. After a full day, the expansion wedges can be removed so that you can install the skirting boards and any other threshold bars required to hide the remaining empty space.
For more information, see Panaget’s step-by-step guide to installing wood floors.