top of page

Hardwood Flooring From Order To Installation

The best hardwood floors are made with wood species that are readily available and very hard. Maple, cherry, oak, hickory, walnut, ash or bamboo are among the most common choices for residential flooring and each has its own properties. These extremely hard woods wear well and are more resistant to minor damage than other options.

Hardwood flooring types

  • Engineered hardwood flooring features a thin veneer layer of finished hardwood over a multi-layer core of plywood or high-density fiberboard

  • Solid hardwood unfinished planks are 100% genuine hardwood and are installed without a factory finish

  • Solid hardwood pre-finished planks are supplied with a multi-layer, baked-on factory finish, so they have a uniform appearance and a resilient finish

  • Hand-scraped planks have a distinctive, rustic finish that works well in farmhouse and traditional-style homes

  • Reclaimed hardwood flooring (often made of heartwood) bring a little history to your home


Solid or Engineered?


An engineered wood floor is constructed of layers of both hardwood and plywood, where solid hardwood is a solid piece of wood with no layers. Unlike imitation laminate or vinyl though engineered hardwood is the same in appearance and texture to traditional hardwood, but it will often be cheaper. Engineered flooring is often perceived as more stable than solid wood, but it can depend on the manufacturer, construction, quality characteristics and where the flooring is going to be installed. Some people choose solid hardwood flooring or engineered wood flooring based on aesthetics. They want wider boards, longer lengths or both. Another critical factor to deciding between solid or engineered is the type of home you live in, where your home is located, and your preferences as to the performance of your floor from season to season. It can also depend on what type of installation you are performing, and who will be completing the installation.


How many flooring you need


To determine how many square feet you need, measure the room(s) length by its width. Then multiply those numbers together and add waste factor. Usually, it's about 5÷7% for cutting and fitting waste. Please note, that waste factor also covers boards that you may not want to use due to heavy character or color variation. The recommended waste factor percentage can go higher, depending on the grade of wood flooring you purchase. If you purchase a lower grade of wood flooring or if you’re extremely fussy about using certain boards, then a higher 10÷15% waste factor may be needed. If you do not add a waste factor, you may not have enough flooring to fill the rooms you measured. If you're installing the flooring on a diagonal, it is recommended that you add 15% to your waste factor because of the larger angled waste pieces you cut off the boards at the walls.


Most hardwood flooring sales in full cartons only. So, before ordering you will need to know how many square feet are in a carton.


Tips: Before purchase hardwood flooring order Free Samples online!


Before installation


Wood floor installation requires a level subfloor and that your hardwood flooring is acclimated to the room’s humidity and temperature according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Allow wood flooring to acclimate for at least 3 days. Site-finished and engineered flooring requires more time to acclimate.


For your first row, you’ll want the straightest planks, arranged with the tongue side facing the center of the room. Place spacers inside the expansion gap - the space between the wall and floor that allows the wood to expand from heat and humidity. Predrill nail holes 1/4 inch from the narrow side of the plank at 1/2 inch from the wall. Continue at 6-inch intervals for the length of each board.


Installation


Installing hardwood flooring is very much like putting a puzzle together. There are three main installation methods. These are nail-down, or staple-down installation, glue-down installation, and floating installation. It is assumed that you have a level subfloor that is wood for nail-down installation. Glue-down and floating installations can usually be done on both wood and concrete subfloors, but it must be level also.

Most 3/4-inch solid hardwood flooring can be installed using nails or staples over a wood subfloor. Most engineered flooring can be installed using staples, full spread adhesive or a floating method over an approved subfloor.

Nail-down (Staple-down) installation method

  1. Remove any baseboards or shoe moldings. Baseboard is used to hide the gap that you must leave for expansion and contraction of wood. So, you will want to make sure your subfloor is clear to the walls in order to have a place to come back and install the base and shoe molding later. The standard gap between the flooring and the walls is 3/16" to 3/4" depending on your manufacturer and style of flooring.

  2. Screw down any loose or squeaky boards and undercut any door jambs to allow for the wood to be installed underneath. A helpful tip is to use the backside of one of your boards to determine the height needed to be cut off of your door jambs.

  3. Start laying out the first row. Try to run the boards perpendicular to your floor joists if possible. You will need to either pop a chalk line or stretch a line parallel to your first wall. Make sure and account at this point for any out of square issues in your room. Once you start running boards they will appear as straight as the first board. You usually would measure from one side of the wall to the other and adjust any discrepancies with this first row. Make sure and predrill your first row or two for nails and face nail them into joists if possible.

  4. Dry fit the next 3 feet or so. Make sure you are pulling your strips or planks from three separate boxes randomly so that the natural graining of the wood will vary slightly. This way your installed floor will have a more uniform look. Now you can layout all your boards for 3 feet or so and make your length cuts accordingly.

  5. Nail down the next rows. Use a flooring nailer to nail through the tongue of the board. These are usually available for rent at most tool rental outlets. Using a rubber mallet to shoot the nail through the tongue. Make sure you adjust the nailer so that it countersinks the boards. Keep alternating nailing and dry-fitting boards to assure a proper fit.

  6. Nail around any obstacles in the floor such as cabinets or pipes/fixtures that come out of the subfloor. Make sure you leave the appropriate gap around any of these obstacles.

  7. Face nail the last few rows when you come to the edge of the room.

  8. Next install your transitions and base moldings. Make sure you allow for a gap inside your transition. Also, make sure that you do not nail down the transition or moldings to the wood floor. You will need to nail the base moldings into the wall and the transitions into the floor in a place where it will not come into contact with the wood. Sometimes it is helpful to add some construction adhesive to the bottom of the transitions as these are usually high traffic areas. Over time this will prevent squeaking.


Glue-down installation method

  1. Remove any baseboards or shoe moldings. Baseboard is used to hide the gap that you must leave for expansion and contraction of wood. So, you will want to make sure your subfloor is clear to the walls in order to have a place to come back and install the base and shoe molding later. The standard gap between the flooring and the walls is 3/16" to 3/4" depending on your manufacturer and style of flooring.

  2. If installing over a wood subfloor, screw down any loose or squeaky boards, Undercut any door jambs to allow for the wood to be installed underneath. A helpful tip is to use the backside of one of your boards to determine the height needed to be cut off of your door jambs.

  3. Start laying out the first row. Try to run the boards perpendicular to your floor joists if possible. You will need to either pop a chalk line or stretch a line parallel to your first wall. Make sure and account at this point for any out of square issues in your room. Once you start running boards they will appear as straight as the first board. You usually would measure from one side of the wall to the other and adjust any discrepancies with this first row. Glue down this first row.

  4. Dry fit the next 3 feet or so. Make sure you are pulling your strips or planks from three separate boxes randomly so that the natural graining of the wood will vary slightly. This way your installed floor will have a more uniform look. Now you can layout all your boards for 3 feet or so and make your length cuts accordingly.

  5. Apply glue a foot or so out from the board and glue down the next few rows. Keep in mind the larger the room the less area away from your board you will be able to glue at a time. Make sure and keep some cleanup rags to try and keep the glue off the wood. Most manufacturers sell these as accessories. You can also use Acetone on a cotton or cheesecloth rag.

  6. Glue around any obstacles in the floor such as cabinets or pipes/fixtures that come out of the subfloor. Make sure you leave the appropriate gap around any of these obstacles.

  7. Glue down the last few rows when you come to the edge of the room.

  8. Next install your transitions and base moldings. Make sure you allow for a gap inside your transition. Also, make sure that you do not glue down the transition or moldings to the wood floor. You will need to nail the base moldings into the wall and glue the transitions into the floor in a place where it will not come into contact with the wood using some construction adhesive to the bottom of the transitions.

Note: You can't use a glue-down installation method with solid hardwood flooring.


13 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page