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Home Installation Guide Engineered Oak

Installation Guide – Engineered Oak

A good installation is the very foundation of a good floor. If a wood floor is installed correctly – and then maintained in the correct way – it will provide a durable, practical and stylish surface for many years to come. In this Guide, you will find general information on installing an engineered oak floor. We recommend that you run through this before planning your installation. If you need any more information about the installation process – or advice on which products to use to install or maintain your wood floor – our expert team at Indigenous is on hand to help you.

Different substrates & preparation

There are many different types of substrates onto which a wooden floor can be installed. For information, please see Installation Guide – Substrates.

It is essential that the substrate is correctly prepared before planks are installed. The subfloor should be level, dry and clean. Any damp issues should be rectified before installation; it may be necessary to install a damp-proof membrane.

Note! Your finished floor will be raised by the thickness of the plank and underlay, if used. Some doors may need trimming and timber threshold strips may be needed to rectify different levels between rooms.

Before installation starts

It’s advisable to complete all building works, including plastering and decorating before fitting your new flooring, to avoid it getting damaged. Packs of planks should be kept in a dry, protected place and the timber should be allowed to acclimatise to the room temperature/environment for at least three days before installation. If the timber arrives boxed, open just the ends of the boxes to acclimatise. If timber arrives on pallets, wrapped in plastic, then remove the plastic to allow the boards to acclimatise.

The subfloor should be clean, dry, absolutely flat and free from any cracks or movement. Any irregularities shouldn’t exceed 3mm over 1 metre in any direction.

The Relative Humidity – often known as ‘RH’ – of the room should be between 45-65%; ideally 55%. Sometimes, homes with poor ventilation or very high levels of heating and insulation can have very low relative humidity levels, particularly during colder months; if this is the case, installation of a re-humidifier should be considered.

During installation, the temperature of the subfloor should be at least 15°C and the room temperature should be around 20°C. If you have a cement-based subfloor, and the moisture reading is high, you will need to apply a liquid damp proof membrane or DPM. Subfloors shouldn’t exceed the following moisture levels:

  • Anhydrite: 0.5%,
  • Cement: 2%
  • Wooden: 10%


Before starting the installation, carefully check the boards. Planks should be shuffled to even out any irregularities in tone and finish and any damaged boards can be put aside for cutting, when smaller pieces are needed. If you have any issues with damaged planks, please let us know straight away.

A note about expansion joints

An expansion gap of approx. 15mm should be left around the perimeter of the room, to accommodate any expansion, including under door frames, central heating pipes and connection with tiles. Larger rooms will need larger expansion gaps; we recommend a further 2mm expansion gap for every 1 metre of floor width greater than 5 metres. Position spacers around the room, to allow for the expansion gaps.

Top Tip! Before you start the installation, decide which direction you are going to lay the planks in. Generally, laying parallel with the longest wall looks best and is the easiest method.

Underfloor heating

If you are installing your wood floor over an underfloor heating system, always follow the instructions provided by the heating supplier. Generally, the heating should be switched on and operable at normal capacity for at least three weeks before installation. The system will then need to be switched off at least 48 hours before installation and, on the day of installation, the subfloor shouldn’t exceed a temperature of 18°C. It can be switched on again one week after installation, initially at a very low temperature and increasing by 1°C per day.

Make sure that the floor temperature does not exceed 27°C. To ensure this, the system should have a sensor and suitable cut off capability. Underfloor heating systems can reduce humidity levels and a re-humidifier may be necessary to ensure a consistent relative humidity all year round.

Installing the wood floor

Typically, our engineered oak wood flooring is glued to the substrate with adhesive. This achieves a solid floor. For floating installations, please take further advice; this will result in a more ‘sprung’ floor. If you are installing a floating flooring and using an acoustic underlay, this should be installed before the wood flooring installation starts.

Here is a brief installation summary:

1. Lay your first plank with the grooved edge against the wall and snugly against the spacer. Place the next plank end-to-end and gently knock into place, using a rubber knocking block to protect the board’s edge.

2. When you get to the end of the row, lay the final board alongside the previous board and against the wall. Mark the board and cut it to fit into the gap. Use a jemmy or pull bar to join together the tongue and grooves in the ends of the boards. Make sure that you have spacers at the beginning and ends of the rows too!

3. Start the next row, ensuring that you stagger the joints; you might be able to use the cut piece of board here. A minimum of 30cm distance should be left between one header joint and the header joint of the next row. Use your hammer and knocking block to connect the rows together.

4. You might need to cut the final row of boards lengthways to fit. When you have finished the installation, remove the spacers.

Sealing the floor

Most of our wood floors are pre-sealed, so they won’t need to be sealed after installation. Floors with a hardwax oil will require a periodic ‘top up’. Please check with the team at Indigenous to see if any treatments need to be applied, either after installation or going forwards.

For advice on ongoing maintenance, please see our Floor Maintenance Guide.