This timber flooring is a challenge to lay! It is a natural product and so each and every piece is different. The wood itself changes with the seasons and it is astounding to see how the whole floor expands and contracts. It is important to lay this floor properly as if it is not allot can go wrong.
The first thing one needs to do is aim to unpack the wood flooring some time in advance and leave it in the property. This will allow it to adjust to the atmosphere and expand/contract appropriately. Upon installation the flooring may have additional moisture content from being stored in a builders yard for instance. So it is best practice to minimise potential risk of movement that may pull out screws cause unsightly gaps etc.
Plywood is a necessary part of laying this natural flooring. 12mm plywood is to be layed on top of floorboards to give the substrate a solid structure that the flooring can be screwed to. This flooring in particular also bends and bows slightly and so really needs to be screwed down and glued properly. Floorboards are not a substantial structure to receive glue and screws. If you do have issues with levels and don’t want to raise the floor too high you may be able to reduce the size of the plywood. However this will come at a slightly noticeable cost such as slight imperfections in the end result over time.
Glued and screwed down
Before I started using this natural flooring I heard it said that one must not glue the “tongue and groove” part of each board together. I then thought I knew better and disregarded this bit of advice. The result was quite unsightly gaps on some boards as the floor moved with the seasons. Luckily this was my own living room floor so no harm was done. However this flooring must only be glued down on the under side of the board and screwed down through the tongues. The boards need to be able to separate by a very small amount. Screws allow this slight movement but glue on the tongues does not. The result is a slight opening up of each joint consistently over the entire floor. This is barely noticeable whilst the glued version will result in one or two areas only opening up by the entire amount that the whole floor needs to contract.
The only down side
The only side is that once this floor is down it is down.If it needs to come up for whatever reason, such as a plumbing leak, you need to replace the whole floor. But once that has been said you will have a floor that is completely unique and in my opinion much more special than any engineered wood floor or laminate.