Laying Oak Flooring Onto Joists

14th Apr 2016

Nowadays oak flooring is laid in a number of situations and environments. Probably the most traditional method of fitting is to lay oak flooring onto joists.

Whether you intent to lay solid or engineered oak flooring, when laying onto joists we recommend our 20mm oak flooring. Our 14mm solid oak flooring has been specifically designed for laying over either an existing wooden subfloor or a plywood subfloor, and so is therefore not recommended for fitting onto joists.

Choosing whether solid oak flooring or engineered oak flooring is most suitable for your area depends on a number of different factors. For example; if you intend to install an underfloor heating system or lay the floor in an area with changeable humanity - engineered oak flooring would be the recommendation. Due to its construction, engineered oak flooring is much more stable in changeable areas (compared to solid oak flooring). In more stable areas over joists, solid oak flooring is more often than not used.

Floor Joists

When fixing to joists, the secret screwing or secret screwing method is the preferred method of fitting. This involves driving a nail or screw 45 degrees into the tongue of the oak flooring board. For the secret nailing method a porter nailer is required. Whereas when using the Spax Screws only a cordless hand drill is required.

The great advantage of using Spax Screws is that no pre-drilling is required - meaning it will take half the time to lay each board. The CUT narrow head of the screws means the wood won’t split as the screw goes in. Once the screws are in, they wont rot the oak - they’re galvanised and yellow passivated. Regardless of whether you secret nail or secret screw, these fixings should be fitted at every joist.

When fitting wide solid oak flooring onto joists (boards wider than 160mm), our recommendation would be to combine the secret fixing method with the surface fixing method. Surface fixing involves driving a nail or screw through the surface of the board. When nailing, a traditional floor brad is used and the fixing is left exposed - creating a more "traditional" looking oak floor.

Surface Fixing Oak Flooring

For those who don’t like the look of exposed nails, the screwing and plugging method is available. This method involves screwing into the surface of the board using a suitable screw. The head of the screw is then concealed using an oak plug. Again, these fixings should be fitted at every joist.

If you would like to discuss fitting oak flooring onto joists with us further, please give us a call on 01538 304584.


Please can you advise whether the tongues should be glued?

Also I want to put solid oak over underfloor heating - how can we mitigate the risk of gaps.

Mike September 27, 2018 at 10:37am

Hi Mike,

When laying Solid Oak Flooring we would not recommend laying the floor as a floating floor. Solid oak flooring should typically be screwed or nailed down. When laying over underfloor heating we would recommend using Engineered Oak Flooring - which would be more suited and stable in this environment.

Peak Oak September 28, 2018 at 9:52am

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