Steps to Installing Hardwood Floors

Check out this step-by-step guide on how to install hardwood floors in any room.

Step 1: Choose the Material

The first step when it comes to installing hardwood floors is choosing the flooring material. There is a wide variety of hardwood floors to choose. Options ranging from light oak to dark mahogany. Before you can get started you will need to choose the right flooring for your room & home.

Step 2: Measure the Room

Once you know what hardwood flooring material you will be using you can begin the install. But first, you will need to measure your room. Start by measuring the width and length of the room and multiply for the square footage. Once you measure you can order your material, keep in mind you will want to order around 10% extra to allow for irregular boards and cutting mistakes.

Step 3: Check the Sub-Floor

Before you can get started on the installation you will want to check the sub-floor. Minimum requirements are ¾” plywood sub-floor. Check your sub-floor by making sure there are no noticeable squeaks in the floor, this could mean the sub floor is not thick enough. If there’s a squeak, you can screw a long drywall screw into the sub-floor and joist where the squeak occurs. Once you have made sure there are no squeaks roll out the vapor barrier paper and get started.

Step 4: Start Installation

You will want to start the installation of your hardwood floors along the longest unobstructed wall. First, remove the shoe molding, and snap a chalk line 3/8″ out from the baseboard (this allows for expansion in the hot, humid weather and contraction in the colder, drier weather of the hardwood flooring).

Step 5: Place the Boards

Begin to place the boards by selecting a long board to start. Align the edges of the board with the chalk line and drill pilot holes down through the hardwood plank and into the floor and joist. You will then need nail down each board at the point of each joist and set the nail. When installing the first row it is important to keep the board lengths random. It is also important to lay the first boards perpendicular to the joists which are underneath so you will have a nice solid anchor.

Step 6: Hand Nail the Rolls

After you have laid the first few rows, drill pilot holes down into the tongue of each board and hand nail the rolls until there is enough room for the nail gun. Once you have enough room use a pneumatic nail gun. Place the gun lip over the edge of the board and strike firmly with the mallet, driving the staple into the tongue of the hardwood plank.

Step 7: Cut the Baseboard

You can now cut the baseboard. When cutting along the baseboards, select a piece that will fit in there and leave 10 to 12 inches more and cut it off. You can now use the other piece at the beginning of the next row.

Step 8: Fill the Gaps

Fill in any gaps that may be present. Find a piece and lay it alongside the hole and flip it over. Make sure when you make the mark cut off the wall side, not the room side. When you make the mark, butt it up against the baseboard and then mark at the end of that tongue. That will leave a 3/8″ gap for expansion and contraction when installing the piece.

Step 9: Floor Maintenance

Once you have filled any gaps, fit the last board into place and filled any holes with wood putty you can now finish the floors. If the floors are pre-finished all you have to do is gently sweep the floors. If the floors are unfinished you will want to apply a stain to achieve the look and color you want.

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