Installation Tips for Hardwood Floors

Many people believe that since hardwood floors are very delicate and costly, we always need to enlist professionals to install them.

Therefore it is quite a relief to know that with the correct tools and the right variety of hardwood floors, installation can be a do-it-yourself job.  Because prefinished hardwood floor planks are readily accessible in hardwood stores and there are instructional manuals available, you have nothing to be concerned about.

The question is, how does one install hardwood floors?  The first step is to choose your species of hardwood floors: oak, maple, hickory, walnut, cherry, or rustic ash.  Oak costs the most of the various materials available, but it is the best variety and quite sturdy.  But if you are working under a limited budget, using maple or rustic ash is fine and will last just as many years as oak if it has proper care and maintenance.

Next, you will need to acquire the following materials: the hardwood planks you chose, a vapor barrier (such as visqueen), a pry bar, hammer, speed drill and drill bits, a pneumatic flooring pack (consisting of a nail gun, staples, mallet, a hose, and an air compressor), a staple gun, tape measure, chalk line, and most importantly, the installation manual that comes with your flooring.

To make sure you don’t waste too much time, you should examine the manual before you begin hammering.  Many hardwood stores have put together all the tools you need to install hardwood floors so you don’t need to waste time looking for each individual piece.  Make sure you don’t forget safety goggles and gloves, because all the hammering and drilling will yield wood dust, which can be harmful if inhaled.

You should measure the surface where you are planning on installing your hardwood floors before you purchase the planks.  Buy planks which are about 10 to 15 inches larger to leave room for errors.  Anticipate that your first try will be difficult, but after getting the first plank in place the rest will be simpler.

To make sure there are no squeaks, tightly nail the hardwood plank to the subfloor.  Provide extra space when you cut. While working with hardwood floors, it’s smart to go over and make the required adjustments than to have an area that could be difficult to fill.

If you purchased prefinished hardwood floors, the job is complete when you finish placing the planks into place.  However, if you bought pure wood, you need to pre-buy sanding and finishing tools and arm yourself for another hard task.

About the Author

HarveyHarvey Zook, an award-winning custom flooring expert, is a Managing Partner with Valley Flooring LLC, a business he helped launch in 2003. With over 14 years of experience in the flooring and woodworking industry, Harvey grew up helping his dad build custom furniture. Working in the shop each day after school honed his skills and stoked his passion for custom woodworking. That same passion ensures that your experience will be nothing less than delightful. Visit Valley Flooring LLC and let Harvey and his team install the custom floor of your dreams.View all posts by Harvey →

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