How to Install a Hardwood Floor
Installing a hardwood floor is a relatively easy thing to do. With some patience and preparation you shouldn’t have too many problems achieving a great looking floor with minimal amount of fuss. Before going ahead with your project there are few things you should look into first. Please check the following articles before proceeding:
In general, we recommend using a pre-finished flooring material. With a pre-finished flooring material you won’t have to sand and finish the floor after it has been laid. Not only does this save you time, but buying a pre-finished hardwood generally means that you will end up with a higher quality finish. Generally a pre-finished hardwood is sanded 3-4 times and is coated around 8 times with an aluminum oxide surface finish which is baked and makes for a much more durable high quality product.
Depending on the site, there are several ways of installing your hardwood floor. We’ve tried our best to explain each type of installation as follows:
Nail-down Installation Method
This method is commonly used when installing ¾” thick solid hardwood floors. The flooring is attached to the sub-floor using two in inch nailing cleats using a wood flooring nailer and mallet.
Staple-down Installation Method
This method is similar to the nail-down method where the nails are replaced with staples. The staples are driven into the tongue of the wood planks and through to the sub-floor underneath using a pneumatic staple gun. The staple down method is much easier for DIY installers. When purchasing your hardwood make sure to ask the recommended staple size for your installation.
Glue-down Installation Method
The glue-down method requires that you glue that actual hardwood planks to the sub-floor. Using a trowel and the recommended adhesive for you product is spread onto the sub-floor upon which the wood is set into place. This method works equally well on a wood sub floors and fully cured concrete slabs. It is important that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing your hardwood floor. Not doing so could cause mistakes and void your warranty.
Glueless Installation Method
Many manufacturers offer engineered hardwood flooring products with a special glueless locking system. These types of engineered hardwood flooring products are especially versatile and can be installed on a variety of sub-floors. Make sure to read the manufacturers guidelines before installation.
Floating Installation Method
As is suggested by the name, the floating installation method does not require you to fasten the flooring planks to the sub-floor. A thin pad is inserted between the flooring planks and the sub-floor. Glue is applied to the tongue and groove of the flooring planks which hold the floor together.
The padding gives the floating floor a number of advantages in that it protects against moisture, is lighter on foot, and stems the transfer of noise. The floating installation method is a very easy and practical way to install your flooring. Please be sure to ask your manufacturer if your flooring product is suitable to be floated.
Using Inlays, Insets, and Medallions in your Hardwood Floor Designs
The great thing about laying a beautiful hardwood or ceramic tile floor is you are turning your boring old floor into a thing of beauty. One of the hardest steps of designing your new interior decorating plan is selecting the style of flooring to use to accent the motif, colors, and atmosphere you want in the room.
Because flooring is such a dominant part of the décor, if you lay down the right flooring choice, that can set the tone for the room dramatically.
When you are making plans to put in that “dream” floor, whether it is hardwood, ceramic tile or some other material, this is the time to let yourself dream big. After all, you don’t put in a new floor every day or every year for that matter.
So it is entirely appropriate to allow your creative vision go to create a design for your floor that is in every way unique.
One way to really make your floor stand out as unique from all others is with inlays, insets, and medallions. These colorful accents draw the eye and the comments of admiration beautifully.
Many times you see large medallions used in public buildings or insets or inlays used to add elegance and glamour to a creative design on the floor or even the hallway or a bathroom. What kind of inlay, insert, or medallion you might select depends to some extent on the kind of room where the decorative floor will be.
Making a statement in your entryway.
The entry hall of your house is a place where you will want to make a striking statement that is even bolder than what you might do in the dining room or kitchen. A medallion of the state seal, of your family crest, or some other emblem that says something about you and your family is a great accent to the floor of your entry hall.
You can find a large number of medallions that have already been produced that you can work in with the colors and the interior design plan of the entry hall. But if you have a specific emblem that you want to place in the front hall, don’t hold back on having a unique medallion designed just for your home.
Defining the space using a center design
Inlays and inserts do a wonderful job of creating patterns and movements in a large room. You can find the right kind of pattern that will stand out in the wood or tile you have there as a backdrop.
But by creating a central design using the inlay or inset, you create a space within a space. This gives the room a new dimension and movement because of the artistic use of color and stylish pieces that supplement an already beautiful floor.
Beautiful corner or edge accents to the room.
In addition to these other uses of accent pieces, you can use insets and inlays to create a picture frame around the room by crating a pattern that flows all around the edges and corners of the room.
The edges of the room are often overlooked as boring or unimportant. By using these delightful accents, that problem is solved. Like a great picture frame around a work of art, your inlays or insets make a statement and turn your floor into a work of art as well.
If you have a flair for the creative or even if you just want something new and very unique in your new flooring plan, adding these kinds of accents is a great way to dress up your flooring plan.
Insets, inlays, and medallions can even be worked into flooring plans for playrooms, bedrooms, or rooms where you may use an unusual material such as a cork or parquet floor.
If you need help, don’t hesitate to have your interior decorator help you envision a colorful and artistic flooring plan integrating inlays, insets and medallions into an already beautiful new flooring installation.
F.A.Q. About Installing a Hardwood Floor
Installing hardwood floors is a tremendous way to increase the beauty and value of your home. Most people enjoy hardwood floors when we see them installed in the homes of friends or at restaurants or bars where we socialize.
But it is easy to think it is too hard or too expensive to get your own hardwood floors installed. That is a myth worth debunking because you can get hardwood floors installed if you just take some time to understand the process and answer some of the big questions about the process.
Can I install my hardwood floor myself?
The short answer is yes. Lots of people install their own hardwood floors and the outcome is just as good as any professional installation. But the installation process is one that is best done by someone who is experienced and skilled in working with home improvement projects.
The steps include pulling up the old flooring, laying a subfloor, installing the hardwood planks, and doing so in such a way as to avoid damage to the flooring. There are steps to be taken to assure that you prevent any damage that can come from dirt or moisture from below the flooring and maintenance steps to take as well.
So do your research so you know what is involved before you decide whether to take on the project yourself or bring in a contractor to install your floors.
What is a subfloor?
When you lay the hardwood planks in place, they will be secured to each other using a grove and lock system and sometimes with glue.
But you will also secure the flooring to a structure under the floor with nails to assure that the flooring is secure and firm. Generally, this calls for laying a structure of plywood subflooring that will provide the base to which your hardwood floors are attached.
What tools are needed to install my hardwood flooring myself?
In most cases, the tools you keep on hand for all of your home handyman projects are the tools you will need to lay a hardwood floor.
The basic tools to keep on hand for the installation include a vacuum cleaner or a broom, tape measure, a staple gun, a hammer, tape measure, a handsaw, tape, wood filler, an electric sander, sandpaper, fans, electric miter saw, a soft mallet to tap the planks together, safety glasses and cleansers needed for daily clean up.
Along with glasses, be sure you have pads for your knees and ear protection if you are going to be using noisy saws in an enclosed space.
What can I do to protect my hardware floor from moisture?
It’s a good idea to condition the sub-flooring to block any moisture that may come up from the soil under the house or from any other source.
Moisture can ruin your wood floors so buy some 15-pound asphalt felt to lay over the sub-flooring before laying the hardwood floor in place. The felt should be secured in numerous places to the subfloor with a staple gun.
What maintenance issues should I be worried about after my flooring is installed?
Hardwood floors represent a significant investment in your home. They also return a lot of value both in lifestyle and in home values. So you should take good care of them by learning proper care and maintenance techniques for your hardwood floor.
Part of good maintenance means keeping people from spilling or soiling the floor. But you should also have a well-developed cleaning and repair program ready to go in case there is a problem with the floor.
By paying attention to details during installation and staying on top of maintenance and cleaning when the floor is finished, you and your family will enjoy your hardwood floors for many years.