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Five tips for fab wooden floors

23 March, 2017 01:10
If your home has period floorboards, you’ve got a head start, but if not, installing a wooden floor can be a straightforward DIY job says Julia Gray (PA)
1. To expose and enjoy your home’s period floorboards, uncover them, do any repairs and sand them with an industrial floor sander and edger - which is hard, hot and dusty work. Although more expensive, employing someone to sand them for you is often worth it, and they usually include the cost of the wood stain or varnish in the price. 

They should also be able to do the job quicker than you can and should have better sanders than those available from hire shops. Another problem with doing it yourself is that you can get ridges in the boards from not using the floor sander properly, and you usually pay for the sanding sheets you use on top of the hire cost, which can soon add up. 

2. Period floorboards often have more modern boards mixed in where repairs have been done over the years. You can, of course, replace the new boards with period ones, but there’s no guarantee that the colour will match perfectly when sanded, and it can be hard to find ones the same width, especially if your boards are an unusual width. 

3. Painting them makes it easier to disguise the new boards than with wood stain or varnish, although dark stains and varnishes can work really well. Painting floorboards white is a classic look and will go with any wall colour, although it isn’t the most practical choice for high-traffic areas of the home. 

If you use a water-based white floor paint, such as Ronseal Diamond Hard Floor Paint (see my Product of the Week), you may have to do several coats until the colour is even. An oil-based white floor paint will cover in fewer coats, but it’s likely to yellow, so if you want the boards to stay white, use a water-based paint. The latter is also ideal if you need to use the room that day because it will dry quickly. 

4. If you don’t have period floorboards or you’d prefer not to expose them, consider laying wood or wood-effect flooring. Laminate flooring, which has a picture of wood printed onto the boards, is an inexpensive way to get the look, but laminate isn’t as fashionable as it once was. If you want the real thing, other types of wooden flooring are now as easy to fit as laminate and can be reasonably priced. Boards that simply click and fit together are widely available in both engineered wood and solid wood flooring.

5. Engineered wood flooring has a top layer of real wood, with other layers underneath. The thickness of the wood layer varies - make sure you know how thick it is, as thicker layers can be sanded. A floor that can be sanded a few times is a good investment because it can take more wear and tear. Engineered wood is often a more practical choice than solid wood flooring because the layers give it added strength and durability. Unlike solid wood, it shouldn’t shrink and expand when exposed to moisture and changes in temperature and humidity. 


If you want a floor paint that looks good and dries fast, try Ronseal Diamond Hard Floor Paint (from £15.82 for 750ml, B&Q), which be can be used on interior concrete and stone floors as well as floorboards. It’s designed to protect against scuffs, spills and scratches and comes in lots of different colours, so there should be one to suit your scheme. 

If yellow patches keep coming through as you paint your floorboards, only a stain block will solve the problem. An aerosol stain block is a good choice because it dries faster than stain block you paint on. Ronseal Quick Drying Stain Block aerosol (£8 for 400ml, B&Q) is just the thing - apply thin coats until the stain is covered, allowing each coat to dry for 10 minutes before applying the next. This aerosol can be used on other surfaces, too, and blocks all sorts of stains that would otherwise reappear. 


When painting wooden floorboards, thin the first coat of wood primer or primer/ undercoat you apply - with water if it’s water based or white spirit if it’s oil based - so it soaks into the boards better.

23 March, 2017 01:10 Move in

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