Hardwood Floor Installation Tips Hardwood Floor Installation Cost

Hardwood Floor Installation Tips Hardwood Floor Installation Cost

Hardwood Floor Installation Tips

For the ultimate beauty inside your home, hardwood floor installation or refinishing is probably one of the best things you can do. This is the type of project that you could take on as a do it yourself or DIY project, or hire a professional expert with plenty of experience in the field. The level of difficulty involved depends on the type of flooring you want as well as a few other factors like the original type of flooring and if there are also repairs to be made first.

The most common type of wood flooring choices include:

  • Harwood solid strips or planks
  • Wood parquet
  • Engineered flooring
  • Laminate flooring

At the end of the day, the true hardwood flooring option of either planks or strips is the most attractive but also the most challenging to install. With true hardwood floor installation you also have the task of sanding and finishing. The other prefabricated options do not require much if anything more than installation. If you have no prior experience and want to make this a DIY project, you may want to consider the alternatives as they also require less follow up care and maintenance. For those whom only true wood will do, read on for some of tips involved for installing hardwood.

Start With a Little Elbow Grease

Of course your hardwood floor installation also depends on the subfloor you are starting out with. If you are merely refinishing an already existing hardwood floor this is an easier task. Generally, you can install this type of true hardwood on a raised subfloor constructed of plywood or a concrete slab. Keep in mind there are still stipulations to both of these, including the surface grade which will help prevent moisture.

Please verify that your own subfloor is suitable for hardwood floor installation before taking on the task or consider one of the hardwood flooring alternatives. In addition to the grade, your new flooring should only be installed on a base that is:

Hardwood Floor Installation Tips Hardwood Floor Installation Cost
  • Completely dry
  • Clean and free of debris
  • Level as well as smooth
  • Structurally sound and any needed repairs have been made
  • There is obviously no sign of rot or other issues which would compromise the flooring altogether

Aside from that, here are some other things you should be aware of concerning installing hardwood flooring:

  • The floor sanding part of the task or a refinishing project kicks up a good amount of dust. You must only take on this type of DIY project if you will be able to open up the windows, doors and have plenty of air circulation. Keep in mind also that a drum sander typically used for this task can also leave indented marks on the floor if you are not careful. For both of these reasons, you may want to consider hiring a professional if you are unsure about handling the project.
  • Moisture can be very harmful to hardwood floors, which is the main reason your subfloor must be above a certain grade. This does not mean you must avoid putting hardwood in rooms where there may be moisture such as the kitchen or bathroom. With the proper type of sealant and finish, you can keep these floors protected. Keep in mind too that the reason you want to avoid moisture under the floor is that it will be trapped without ventilation and proper air circulation. Over time, it can seep into the floor boards and rot it out. Moisture in rooms such as smaller bathrooms should have plenty of air flow to prevent dampness from building up.
  • You should install your hardwood to line up perpendicularly to the floor joists. Although this is not mandatory, it is a good idea and you can actually mark on the wall in an area where the trim or molding will later cover. Begin your floor installation with the longest wall which is usually an exterior one.
  • Your nest step is to roll out the kraft paper. This asphalt-laminated paper will help with noise reduction and to keep out some moisture. The general rule is to let it overlap by around three inches at the edges, cutting it around areas of the room like a fireplace. You can use a staple gun to secure the kraft paper to the subfloor.
  • To get a line which will act as your “level” start by marking a spot which is 48” towards the room along the longest wall. By snapping a chalk line, you can use this as a guide to help ensure that the boards you put down are parallel to the wall. Of course, you should then mark this across to the opposite wall to ensure you have a parallel line.
  • The first three rows of your hardwood floor installation should be made up of very straight boards. Cut a starter board for each row, varying in length from around 6 inches or so. This is done to stagger the installation instead of having board seams line up. Make sure you use ½” spacers between the wall and the boards to help prevent issues from expansion.
  • Heating registers are an area to be very cautious of. Be certain to cut the boards to fit these openings before installing them. For other areas such as the fireplace hearth you will need to miter boards to help create a border to go around it and fit nicely to border it.
  • The final row may require some rip cuts to the boards. Some of the techniques you may need to use will depend largely upon how much space between the last board and the wall you still have. Your final part of the task will be removing spacers, trimming paper that is visible and putting your trim and molding in place.

From there, the biggest part of your task should be learning to care for your new flooring. With proper care, the hardwood floor installation you completed should last a long time before needing anything major like refinishing.


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