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In an old house, replacing an old damaged parquet floor is possible, provided that the supporting beams are in good condition. We can then opt for nailed laying, called "traditional".

installing an old-fashioned solid wood floor

Necessary material

  • Mesureing tape
  • Laser level
  • Metal ruler
  • Carpenter's hammer
  • Martyr hold
  • Crowbar
  • Mallet
  • Carpenter's chisel
  • Sander
  • perforator
  • Impact screwdriver
  • Jigsaw
  • Plunge circular saw

Difficulty: 3/4
Cost: 90 € / m²
Time: 3 days

The nailed pose is the traditional technique used for old wooden floors. The boards of the old floors were nailed directly to the joists (or, where they existed, on joists) with female-headed nails that remained visible on the floor surface. Today, the blades present a tongue and groove profile, very convenient to fit them into each other. These blades are fixed with human head points placed diagonally in the tongue to disappear from the surface of the ground.

Correct ground flatness

In the example presented here, the solid wood flooring could not be restored because of its poor condition. In this room of 14 m2, the floor has even subsided in places. The owners therefore completely replaced the parquet floor. After the complete removal of the old planks to expose the joists, Douglas planks were screwed on either side of the existing joists to reinforce the structure and ensure that the new floor was leveled.

Find the original finishes

The choice of the owners was focused on a chestnut parquet. They chose wide blades, which have the effect of creating a beautiful effect on the ground. Thus, to preserve the style of this old house, the new floor is laid according to the layout of the old floorboards (called "ladder"). These are therefore placed in the length of the room, perpendicular to the joists, and then supplemented by blades placed at 90° in the extension of each supporting beam. This technique requires special care for perfect continuity: even if the new blades have grooves and tongues, the perpendicular blades are devoid of it. The old-fashioned nailing has been retained. Finally, once laid, the floor was left bare. But it is still better toto apply a finishing product on the surface (varnish, wax...), some of which, matt or glossy, allow to preserve the natural aspect of the wood.

Other ways of laying for the floor

Different types of parquet flooring

Before repeating a floor, it is advisable to think about the final result. Depending on the desired style, several pose patterns are possible: with lost joints (A), stone cut or English (B), broken sticks (C), to points of Hungary (D), etc.

Info for DIYers

Here the laying of parquet is done directly on the beams (joists). If an acoustic solution is sought, it is then necessary to interpose a network of joists fixed perpendicular to the joist (at regular spacing) and provide insulation between the joists.

1. Reinforcement and leveling of the ground

Verification of the flatness of the soil

  • Set a reference level to the rotating laser.
  • Position a board at a good height against a joist and screw the end towards the wall.
  • Check the flatness on the spirit level and screw the other end.
  • Finish by placing screws (Ø 6 x 100 mm) along the board every 50 cm.

Level control of the joists

  • Continue on the other joists, checking the level again.

Make a cut in the boards

  • To cross the perpendicular beams, a notch is made with the jigsaw in the boards used to level the floor.

Drill the board

  • Pre-pierce the board to the wall and drill with a concrete drill into these markers.
  • Thread and fix the joist with screws (Ø 6 x 150 mm).

2. Laying the floor

Parquet installation

  • Place the first floorboard in the corner of the room.
  • Mark the cut to be made so that its end comes halfway through the second joist.

Parquet installation

  • Cut with a jigsaw the end of the blade to marry the wall.
  • Replace and nail the blade (nails flat head 55 mm) in the thickness of the supporting joists.

Installation of parquet flooring with a nailed laying

  • Do the same with the second floorboard.
  • To fit the tongue in the groove of the previous one, use a wedge and a hammer, then nail it.

Handyman's tip

Pull the blade toward you

  • If you do not have a blade driver, use a pliers to pull the blade towards you and pull the tab into the groove of the adjacent blade.

Parquet installation

  • Continue to the wall opposite.
  • Measure and cut with a jigsaw along the length of the last blade to be inserted.
  • Position it with a hammer and a blade (see tip).

Cutting parquet boards

  • On the width, draw a mark in the extension of the first blade.
  • With the plunge saw, cut out the protruding end of the blades using a guide rail.

Floor fixing

  • Place a blade perpendicular to the edge of the cut made, then fix it with screws (Ø 4 x 60 mm) on one side for the entire length.

Adjust the floor

  • Stabilize the blade with falls to fill the void.
  • Adjust the height with shims placed mid-wood for a joint pose of the next row.

Installation of a solid wood floor

  • Continue the pose as before to carry out the "ladder" layout.
  • Treat the junctions with the perpendicular parquet board and adjust before nailing.


  • Douglas planks (thickness 35 mm / l 150 mm)
  • Chestnut parquet floorboards (27 mm thick, various sizes)
  • Plywood wedges (different thicknesses)
  • Various screws and bolts

Video Instruction: How to Install a Herringbone Floor - This Old House