By: TFSP On: February 25, 2024 In: Article Comments: 0

Installing timber flooring adds elegance, warmth, and a touch of character to any home. It’s an excellent way to upgrade your living space, whether you’re renovating or starting from scratch. However, the installation process can be daunting for those unfamiliar with it.

Prefinished timber flooring is a simpler option for DIY enthusiasts, offering a straightforward installation process. This timber floor installation guide aims to walk you through every step of the way, from preparing your subfloor to applying the finishing touches to your new floor.

It’s highly recommended to seek professional help from a timber floor installation Melbourne services to ensure the best outcome. Even if you decide to hire a timber floor specialist, understanding the installation steps is beneficial. 

So, let’s get started…

Getting Ready for Timber Floor Installation

Installing timber flooring is more than just laying down boards—it’s an art that requires precise preparation to ensure everything goes smoothly. Here’s how to prep your space for a flawless timber floor installation:

Site Check-Up: Kick things off with a thorough site inspection. Look out for moisture problems, uneven areas, or any damage to the subfloor. Addressing these issues early can prevent headaches during the installation.

Subfloor Prep: The foundation for your timber flooring, the subfloor, needs to be spotless, dry, and even. Make sure it’s free of debris or anything that could interfere with installation. If you find any bumps or dips, now’s the time to fix them.

Underlay Inspection: An underlay isn’t just an add-on; it’s a necessity that offers insulation, noise reduction, and moisture protection. Check that it’s laid out correctly, without any damage, and is perfectly flat.

Trims and Profiles: These finishing touches hide gaps and ensure a seamless transition between your new timber floor and the walls or other types of flooring. Ensure they’re the correct size and type for your project and installed neatly.

Choosing How to Lay Your Flooring: The direction of your timber flooring can dramatically affect your room’s look and feel. Think about the room’s shape, size, and the direction of natural light. Laying the boards parallel to the light source is usually a safe bet.

Compartmentalising: In larger spaces, a control joint at doorways can be a smart move. It allows different sections of the flooring to expand or contract without affecting each other. This isn’t always necessary in smaller, more contained areas but can be crucial in open-plan spaces to ensure the longevity of your floor.

By ticking off these steps, you’re not just preparing your space; you’re setting the stage for a timber flooring installation that’s smooth sailing from start to finish. Proper prep is the foundation of a beautiful, long-lasting timber floor.

Quick Steps for Installation 

Installation of timber flooring is an exciting journey that transforms any space into a warm and inviting area. Here’s an easy and quick step timber flooring installation guide to help you through the process, ensuring that your new floor not only looks fantastic but also stands the test of time.

Getting Started

Preparation is Key: Before diving into the installation, it’s essential to gather all the necessary tools. You’ll need a hammer, nail gun or stapler, measuring tape, chalk line, saw, spacers, and protective gear like goggles and ear protection. However, if you’re working with prefinished or engineered timber flooring, you can skip the hammer, nail gun, and stapler.

Board Preparation: Measure and cut your timber boards to fit your room’s dimensions. Remember to leave a small gap (about 10-15mm) around the edges for expansion and contraction. This step can be bypassed with prefinished or engineered timber flooring.

Installation Process

  1. Start Right: Begin by placing the first board along the longest wall, tongue side out. Ensure there’s a small expansion gap between the board and the wall for flexibility.
  2. Spacing Matters: To accommodate natural changes in humidity, maintain an expansion gap of 10-15 mm between the flooring and the wall, using spacers. The exact gap size depends on your region’s humidity levels.
  3. Stagger for Beauty: Lay the boards so that their end joints are staggered by more than 300 mm. This pattern enhances the floor’s aesthetic appeal.
  4. Foundation Rows: Assemble the first two rows in a staggered manner to provide a stable base. These rows can be put together away from the wall and then moved into place, ensuring the spacers are correctly positioned.
  5. Recycling Off-Cuts: Use the off-cut from the first rows to start the third, making sure it’s longer than 300 mm. If not, cut a new plank accordingly.
  6. Continue with Care: Install the planks row by row, using the off-cut from the third row to begin the fourth. Employ the angle and tap method or the angle and angle method to fit the planks into place.
  7. Finishing Touches: The last row may need trimming. Cut it to size, fit it in place, and remember to maintain the expansion gap. This gap will eventually be concealed.

Important Tips to Remember: 

  • Maintain a minimum perimeter expansion gap of 10mm for all timber flooring installations.
  • Consider larger gaps, around 15mm, for larger floors or those exposed to high humidity levels.
  • Prefinished timber can be directly fixed to a prepared subfloor using manufacturer-recommended adhesive.
  • Protect prefinished or engineered timber flooring from extreme temperature or humidity, especially in unoccupied homes.
  • Install all permanent cabinetry and joinery before laying the flooring to allow for free expansion and contraction.

Installing timber flooring requires patience and attention to detail, but the outcome is undoubtedly rewarding. By following this timber floor installation guide, you’ll ensure that your floor is not only beautiful but also durable.

Whether it’s the rustic charm of natural timber or the sleek finish of engineered flooring, your new floor will surely elevate the look and feel of your home.

Final Touches 

When it comes to installing timber flooring, the finishing stage is where you’ll notice the biggest difference between regular (unfinished) timber and prefinished timber. Let’s dive into the specifics of each type to ensure your flooring not only looks stunning but lasts for years to come.

Finishing Regular Timber Flooring

Finishing is critical for the longevity of regular timber flooring. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Sanding the Floor: Start with a floor sander equipped with fine-grit sandpaper. Sand along the grain until the floor is smooth. Clean off any dust or debris thoroughly.
  2. Applying Wood Filler: Use a wood filler that matches your floor’s colour to fill gaps, holes, or cracks using a putty knife.
  3. Staining (Optional): If you wish, apply a wood stain evenly with a brush or roller and let it dry completely.
  4. Sealing the Floor: Apply a thin layer of sealer over the entire floor as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Let it dry as recommended.
  5. Sanding Again: Once dry, lightly sand the floor to smooth out rough spots. Clean the floor again.
  6. Applying the Finish: Use a brush or roller to apply the finish evenly, avoiding bubbles or streaks. Follow the drying instructions carefully.
  7. Additional Coats (Optional): For extra durability, you can apply additional coats of finish, sanding lightly in between.
  8. Drying: Allow the finish to dry completely. This could take from 24 hours to several days, depending on the finish type and room humidity.
  9. Buffing (Optional): Buff the floor with a buffer and pad to enhance its shine.
  10. Waxing (Optional): For added protection and shine, apply a layer of wax with a clean cloth.

This process ensures your regular timber flooring not only looks its best but is also protected and durable.

Prefinished Timber Flooring

Prefinished or engineered timber flooring offers a significant advantage — it’s ready to go right after installation. Here’s what to do:

  • Inspection and Spacer Removal: After installation, inspect the surface and remove any spacers used during the process.
  • Securing Skirting Boards: Attach skirting boards only to walls, ensuring they do not press down on the flooring.
  • Installing Finishing Profiles: Add any necessary finishing profiles to complete the installation.

That’s it! One of the main benefits of prefinished flooring is its convenience. There’s no need for the lengthy finishing process required by regular timber. You can enjoy your new floor immediately, without the wait or extra work.

Whether you choose regular timber flooring for its customisable finish or prefinished timber for its ease of installation, understanding these finishing steps will help you achieve beautiful and lasting results.

Maintenance for a long-lasting floor life

Maintaining your timber flooring is key to keeping it looking beautiful and prolonging its life. Even though prefinished or engineered timber floors are quite resilient, they still need some TLC. Here’s how you can take care of them in simple steps:

  1. Control Humidity: The moisture in the air can affect your timber floors. Too little humidity can cause the wood to shrink, while too much can make it swell. To keep things balanced, use a humidifier in dry conditions and a dehumidifier or ensure good ventilation when it’s humid.
  2. Cleaning: Keeping your floors clean doesn’t mean reaching for a wet mop. In fact, water can harm your timber floors. Instead, use a dry mop, a soft-bristled brush, or a vacuum cleaner specifically designed for timber (look for soft wheels and a timber brush attachment). If you need to tackle a stubborn spot, choose a cleaning solution recommended by the floor manufacturer to avoid damage. Always lift dust and dirt before any wet cleaning to prevent scratches.

Extra Care Tips:

  • Dry the floor immediately after any wet cleaning to prevent moisture damage.
  • Protect your floor under chairs with soft-wheeled castors and plastic mats.
  • Use soft pads under all furniture legs to avoid unsightly scratches.
  • Never drag furniture across the floor. Lift it instead.
  • Heavy appliances should sit on protective sheeting to distribute their weight.
  • A high-quality doormat at entrances can significantly reduce the amount of dirt, sand, and water tracked onto your floors.
  • Be mindful of your footwear. High heels and shoes with rough soles can damage the wood surface.

By following these straightforward steps, you can ensure your timber floors remain in top condition for years to come.

DIY vs. Hiring Professionals

Choosing between DIY and hiring a specialist in timber floor installation Melbourne is a big decision. While doing it yourself might seem appealing and budget-friendly, it’s not as straightforward as it appears. Here’s why getting professional help might be the better route:

Expertise Matters: Professional timber floor installers bring a wealth of experience and specialised knowledge to the table. They’re equipped to tackle any unexpected issues that might crop up during the installation process, thanks to their years of working with different timber types and scenarios.

High-Quality Results: Professionals have access to the latest tools and materials, ensuring your flooring is installed correctly and looks great. They understand the nuances of various timber options and can advise you on the best choice for your space.

Save Time and Hassle: Timber flooring installation is not a quick and easy task, especially for beginners. Timber floor specialists can get the job done efficiently, freeing you from the time and effort it would take to do it yourself.

Cost-Effective in the Long Run: While DIY might seem cheaper at first glance, hiring a timber floor specialist team can be more economical over time. They utilise efficient methods and already have the necessary tools, saving you the expense of purchasing equipment. Plus, their expertise minimises the risk of costly errors.

Hiring a professional installer for your timber flooring offers advantages like superior quality, expertise, time savings, and potential cost benefits. Professional timber floor installers ensure you get the most out of your investment in timber flooring, making the process smoother and the outcome more satisfying.


  • How long does it typically take to install timber flooring?

The time it takes to install timber flooring varies depending on factors like the size of the area, the type of timber, and any additional preparations needed. On average, installation can take anywhere from a few days to a week.

  • Do I need to prepare the subfloor before installing timber flooring?

Yes, it’s crucial to prepare the subfloor properly to ensure a smooth and long-lasting installation. This may involve levelling the subfloor, removing any existing flooring, and addressing any moisture issues.

  • Can timber flooring be installed over existing flooring?

In some cases, timber flooring can be installed over existing flooring like hardwood, vinyl, or tile. However, proper preparation and assessment are necessary to ensure the existing floor is suitable for installation.

  • What type of timber flooring is best for my home?

The best type of timber flooring for your home depends on various factors, such as your lifestyle, budget, and aesthetic preferences. Options include solid hardwood, engineered wood, and laminate flooring, each with its own benefits.

  • How do I maintain timber flooring after installation?

Regular maintenance is essential to keep timber flooring looking its best. This includes routine cleaning, avoiding excessive moisture, and periodic resealing or refinishing as needed.

  • Can I install timber flooring myself, or should I hire a professional?

While DIY installation is possible for some homeowners, hiring a professional ensures proper installation, especially for larger or more complex projects. Professionals have the expertise and tools to handle the job efficiently.

  • What should I consider when choosing a timber flooring installer?

When selecting an installer, consider factors such as their experience, reputation, licensing and insurance, warranty offerings, and references from past clients. Choose a reputable installer to ensure a successful installation process.

Wrapping Up 

Great job! You’ve finished the timber floor installation guide. Now, with these simple steps, you can have a stunning and long-lasting timber floor in your space. Take your time and be thorough with each step.

For best results, consider getting expert assistance from Total Floor Sanding And Polishing is a wise investment.

We can ensure a flawless finish and help you achieve the perfect look for your home or office. With the right approach and attention to detail, your new timber floor will be a beautiful addition to your space for years to come.

Our guidance can be invaluable in ensuring your flooring is installed perfectly. So why wait? Get in touch with our specialist in timber floor installation Melbourne for the perfect timber floors.