Preparation & Installation  methods

It is important that that you choose the correct installation method for your project. We are often asked to advise the best way but there many factors to consider before making the choice. Regardless of the installation, the preparation should always be the most important thing to consider and never overlooked.

  1. The building must be weathertight and conditions ambient with a minimum temperature of 17 degrees c.
  2. All heating should be working and any wet trades should be complete and dried out before starting.
  3. Sub-floor should be tested for moisture to ensure dry enough before laying. General rule of thumb is 75% or below for standard screed and 65% or below if it has underfloor heating. If laying on existing floorboards they must be flat and level and would be considered best practice to lay the new floor the opposite way to floorboards. If this is not possible we would recommend overlaying with 6mm plywood, screwed at 300mm centres.
  4. If the floor is to be laid over underfloor heating it is important that the heating system is commissioned and turned down to a minimum before any testing for moisture is carried out. Underfloor heating should have adequate probe sensors to ensure the surface temperature of the floor does not exceed 27 degrees C.
  5. Liquid dpm can be used in certain situations on cement based substrates to enable the floor to be laid. If in doubt ask.
  6. The sub-floor should be flat to SR1 building tolerance. This is + or – 3mm over a 3 metre straight edge. If not, then smoothing or self levelling compounds can be used to rectify.
  7. Always check the requirements before installing any floor and should be done in line with BS8201 standards to ensure a perfect outcome.

Main installation methods as follows:


Floating floors

Apart from the Junckers clip system, floating floors are usually engineered flooring up to 15mm thick and is laid on a suitable underlay over existing floorboards or concrete based substrates.


  • This is by far the easiest method, therefore makes it the most popular installation with DIY projects.
  • Can be laid quickly
  • Engineered flooring can be fixed together using either Clic loc system or the t & g can be glued together using PVA adhesive, therefor no expensive polymer adhesive needed.
  • When laid on acoustic underlay it can offer great impact sound separation, therefore making it perfect for upper levels.


  • Can be prone to movement especially when humidity or temperature changes.
  • Visible vertical deflection when walked on.
  • Options are limited as not all floor designs can be floated.
  • Slower heat transfer when used over underfloor heating.


Fully bonded


This requires a more expert approach because the floor is stuck down using an approved polymer adhesive, spread using a recommended notched trowel. Depending on substrate you will need to prepare with primer or liquid dpm.


  • Fully bonded floors can feel better quality when installed as there is no deflection underfoot.
  • Very secure and will be more likely to remain stable if conditions fluctuate.
  • Better heat transfer with underfloor heating.
  • Can lay patterned floors and designs that would not be possible with floating floors.


  • Much harder to lay and need expert approach to ensure best results.
  • Takes longer to lay
  • More expensive.


Secret nailed

This traditional method can be used when laying on battens or structural plywood and normally using solid or engineered floors that are at least 20mm thick, fixed using 50mm Primatech nails. This method lays the floor tightly and is important especially when using solid flooring that the correct expansion allowance is left within the floor and at the perimeter when laying.


  • Quick and easy with correct tools.
  • Cheaper than fully bonded.
  • Easy to take up or repair in the future.


  • No acoustic isolation.
  • Need to be careful not to nail pipes or services directly below floorboards.
  • Cannot fix to chipboard substrates.
  • Needs a specialist nailer.

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