It’s not hard: how to install hardwood floors

Installing a hardwood floor may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, materials and know how, you’ll have a beautiful new hardwood floors in no time.

It’s not hard: how to install hardwood floors

You will need:

  • Hammer
  • Mitre saw
  • Finishing nails
  • Floor boards
  • Vapour barrier
  • Pneumatic nailer
  • Level
  • Chalk for marking on the floor
  • Sharp pencil for marking wood boards and cut points

1. Choose the wood boards

It’s important to take the time to research and take a look at the wood flooring that suits your room best.

  • Consider wood that will look right in the space you are working in.
  • Make sure to choose the proper board widths for your installation.

2. Measure room

  • Measure the length and width of the room.
  • When ordering boards, take into account cutting mistakes and irregular boards and give yourself 15 per cent or more extra allowance.
  • It’s always better to have a bit more to work with when installing a hardwood floor, just in case you need it.

3. Remove old flooring

  • Strip down old floor to sub-floor and remove nails and tacks to ensure best results. The floor must be clean, dry, flat and structurally sound.
  • Use a long, straight board or a level to look for any dips or rises.
  • Fill dips in floor with levelling compound and reset any nails that protrude.
  • You'll also need to remove doors and baseboard mouldings.

4. Secure vapour barrier

  • Roll out vapour barrier, allowing a four-inch overlap.
  • Staple to the sub-floor, ensuring that it is secure.
  • With a pencil or chalk, along the baseboards, mark where your joists are.

5. Get the right temperature

  • Have the wood boards acclimatize at room temperature in the room where it will be laid (not in the garage or patio or where anything might artificially alter humidity) for a week or two.

6. Installation

The first floor boards you lay down must be laid perfectly across the room to prevent it looking like your floor is crooked.

  • Start with the straightest, longest, unobstructed wall, using the longest, straightest boards.
  • Face the tongue of the first row away from the wall.
  • Stagger the boards six inches from row to row to prevent end joints from matching up.
  • The first row will be face nailed (by hand).
  • You can blind nail (by hand, with an air nailer, or a manual version of the pneumatic nailer) the rest of the boards until you reach the opposite wall, where you will have to face the nail again.
  • Blind nailing is much faster with a pneumatic nailer. You may need to rip-cut lengths of flooring to fit the last row.
  • If the last row is an inch wide, you will have to glue it in place.

7. Finishing touches

  • Re-install mouldings and doors, and you have completed your hardwood floor installation.

Doing it yourself

Knowing how to install a hardwood floor can save you a lot of time and money.

Deciding which flooring is right for your room should take into account the traffic it gets. Installing a new hardwood floor will improve the look and feel of your room.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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