Category: Flooring

Installing a Hardwood Floor

Home Remodel with Domestic or Exotic Wood Planks to Add Warmth

How to Install a Hardwood Floor

Hardwood flooring continues to be popular with homeowners. Although laminate flooring has been gaining market share, the hardwood flooring manufacturers have responded by developing and distributing prefinished hardwood tongue and groove hardwood planks.

hardwood floor installation

DIY homeowners who aren’t experienced with finishing wood floors should stick to the prefinished variety. But either way, this article is a step by step guide on how to install a hardwood floor.

Hardwood floor installation hint – Let the planks sit inside the home for three days after delivery to stabilize with the interior humidity level.

Subflooring for Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors need a flat, solid subfloor to rest on. This can be a moisture-proofed, well finished concrete slab, an existing floor (excluding carpeting), or plywood on floor joists.

The first step is to remove any shoe base or quarter round on the baseboard.

Next roll out 15-pound asphalt felt. Overlap the seams by 3” and use a staple gun to attach it to the floor. The felt will keep any moisture from the wood and it provides good sound control.

Layout the Hardwood Floor

Find the center of the room by measuring from the wall.

Mark it and snap a chalk line through the marks. This is the control line.

Now strike a chalk line parallel to the control line 1/4” to 3/8” from the wall. This will be the edge of the first run of hardwood planks and allows for expansion from moisture.

Install the Hardwood Planks

Use the chalk line as a guide and nail the first run of planks down; the tongue side should be towards the center of the room.

First nail straight down close to the wall where the shoe base will cover the nail holes. Either use a hammer, finish nails, and a nail set; or use a finish nail gun. If going with the hammer, pre-drill the holes.

Now nail through the tongue at a 45 degree angle.

Next nail the next run of planks down with the tongue of the first in the groove of the second. Again, nail through the tongue. From now on, no end joint should be less than 10” from the end joint of the adjacent run.

Continue in this fashion nailing down the runs. When the opposite side of the room has been reached, it may be necessary to rip the final run at an angle if the room is out of square. Don’t forget to leave the expansion gap.

Finishing Up the Hardwood Floor Installation

If unfinished hardwood was used, this is the time to finish the wood with a floor drum sander and a finish.

Finally, finish up with baseboard installation (if none was there) and shoe base or quarter round.

Now, all that’s left is routine hardwood floor maintenance.