how to lay tongue and groove flooring

A quick guide to laying tongue and groove multi-ply engineered wood flooring with advice on sub-floors, wood expansion and wood adhesive methods.

Pine flooring cross section. The 3/4-in.-thick solid plank flooring shown is milled with a tongue and groove. The tongue-and-groove pine flooring must run perpendicular to the floor joists. To keep the wide boards from cupping, you'll face-nail them with cut nails driven through the subfloor and into the joists (Photo 18).

The advantage of tongue and groove floorboards is that they create strength in unity and eradicate drafts. However, they can be a pain if you need to take them up again. It's wise to opt for straight edged floorboards with insulation underneath (i.e. between the floor joists). The thicker the insulation, the better.

The wood flooring of today is much different from the wide sawn planks of years past. Wood is one of the easiest floors to install. Modern wood flooring is kiln dried and machined to standard dimensions. Tongue-and-groove edges ensure a tight installation with a level surface and, in many cases, wood is sold pre-finished.

You can use a hammer, nails, and a nail set to install the planks, or you may decide to rent a floor nailer. It fires a nail at precisely the correct angle through the tongue of the board and into the joist below, securing it below the floor surface. View photo gallery instructions for this project 

If you don't already have a flooring nailer, you can usually rent one at your local store. • Make sure you have an acceptable subfloor: ¾-inch CDX plywood is preferred and ¾-inch OSB is acceptable. Minimum 5/8-inch CDX existing wood floor or tongue-and-groove solid wood subfloor is also acceptable. Safety:

Chipboard flooring with tongue and groove joints is commonly available for flooring applications. They are relatively cheap and quick to lay. Standard size sheets are 2400mm x 600mm and available in two thicknesses 18mm and 22mm. The tongue and groove edges make for strong bond between the boards.

There are fewer things finer in a home than a hardwood floor. For the do-it-yourselfer, however, it can be a daunting yet rewarding task. However, you must be detailed as well, because even small mistakes will show. There are many types of hardwood flooring, but this tutorial will only cover solid tongue and groove flooring 

Watch our step-by-step video showing how to lay solid wood flooring, with expert advice and top tips to help you complete the job with confidence. See the ot