Hardwood flooring is a classic choice for homeowners due to its durability, timeless appeal, and the added value it brings to a property. While professional installation is often recommended, those with the right tools may choose to undertake this project themselves. Here is a comprehensive guide to a new hardwood flooring installation.
Preparation is Key
Before you start, ensure you have the necessary materials and tools. These may include hardwood planks, a circular saw, a hammer, nails, a pry bar, and a measuring tape.
Start by removing any existing carpet or flooring and thoroughly cleaning the subfloor to remove any dust or debris. This clean, level surface is crucial for the proper installation of hardwood flooring.
Acclimation of Wood
Hardwood is a natural material that can expand or contract due to changes in humidity and temperature. To minimize these effects after installation, allow the hardwood planks to acclimate to the room's environment. This typically involves leaving the wood in the room where it will be installed for several days.
Start by laying a moisture barrier paper across the whole floor to prevent potential damage from moisture. Begin the actual installation from one end of the room, usually the longest straight wall. This will serve as your guide. Arrange your planks before nailing to ensure a natural-looking variance in wood color and grain.
For the first row, choose long and straight boards. The tongue side should face the room while the groove side is against the wall. Pre-drill holes on the board edge closer to the wall and hammer nails into these holes. Fill any gaps with wood putty and wipe off excess.
For the subsequent rows, you will need to use a flooring nailer to fix the boards in place. Insert nails at an angle through the tongue of the board into the subfloor and joist. Make sure each board is snug against its neighbor to avoid gaps. Repeat this process across the room, cutting boards as necessary to fit the room's length.
Once you reach the final row, you may need to cut the boards lengthwise (rip) to fit. Because the wall may not be perfectly straight, it's essential to measure each piece individually. Once the final row is installed, fill any nail holes with wood putty, and clean the floor to remove dust.
Lastly, install baseboards along the room's perimeter. These not only hide the expansion gap required for hardwood floors but also provide a finished look.