For my birthday last year I had one big wish – to have all of my friends over for some physical labour, some uke jamming and to lay the floating floorboards in my tiny house. Instead, my birthday gift from Mother Nature was ‘Stormaggedon’, the worst rainfall forecast for Victoria in ten years. I did the sensible thing and postponed the working bee. This weekend was the rescheduled date and in typical Victoria style, I’m pretty sure we had more rain on Saturday than we did on the day of Stormaggedon! Thankfully, I had an amazing team of helpers and we got the job done despite the weather. The place looks and feels brand new.
Flooring around a tiled hearth
Given I have a wood fired oven, my floor required a hearth extending out under the fire box. The tiles protect the floor from any coals or wood that falls from the fire. However, to make a hearth heat and fire proof, the tiles have to be laid on top of cement sheeting. Here’s the dilemma.The floor boards are laid on top of underlay. But the cement sheeting and tiles were higher than the floorboards and the underlay. This means the hearth would sit higher than the rest of my floor, a sure fire recipe for stubbed toes and broken dreams.
One option was to cut into the yellow tongue flooring underneath the hearth and try to drop it down to sit flush with the floorboards. This option seemed difficult and messy and I could picture far too many things that could go wrong. The second option was instead to double the 2mm underlay under the floorboards to lift them up to the level of the hearth. It wasn’t a perfect solution but with some creative edging between the hearth and the floor I think the difference in height will be negligible.
Top tips for laying floor
Here’s what I learnt after the weekend:
- The floorboards click together end to end, as well as along the edge. Join all boards in a row end to end first, then click the whole row together at once.
- Many hands make light work – particularly for reason number one! Having a crew of people to click a long row of boards in at once makes a huge difference. I’m not sure how I would’ve managed on my own.
- Don’t forget that end to end join when trimming the length of your floorboards! Once you’ve trimmed the length you’ve lost one joining end.
- If you’re a keen bean like I am and purchased your boards months ago, check where you’re storing them. My boards sat in a storage shed for about six months, but when we pulled them out some were mouldy! I will try to clean them with vinegar/bleach/sunshine but it’s not a nice surprise on the day of your working bee.
- All the instructions I saw recommended a jigsaw for cutting the boards, so that’s what we used. In hindsight, I wish we’d at least tried with a circular saw. I’m not sure if the circular saw would affect the laminate finish of the board, but cutting lengthwise down a board with a jigsaw is a pain in the butt. Doable – but it’s slow and tedious.
- Use a new, sharp blade and have a spare blade handy. The jigsaw blades flex and move and any kind of adjustments or curved lines can heat up and blunt the blades. Once they’re blunt the job gets MUCH harder.
As always, I owe a massive thank you to a lot of people. Thank you Sean, Stephi, Myri, Duncan, Jo, Max, Pip, Pieta, Jules, Davey, Anne, Louis, Chloe and Noel for your incredible support and wonderful company! In Anne’s words, ‘it was the best party ever*.’
*Disclaimer: quotation may be an approximation.