How to Install Hardwood Floors Hardwood Floor Installation Cost

How to Install Hardwood Floors Hardwood Floor Installation Cost

How to Install Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are attractive and can increase the value of your home. In addition, they can be easier to care for than carpeting, especially in some high traffic areas of your home. There are a number of things that you need to consider when you are looking to install hardwood flooring in your home including the type of flooring that you are going to go with, the species of hardwood you want your floor to be made of and whether you will do the installation on your own or have someone else do it for you.

The Types of Floors to Consider

No matter what kind of floor you choose, you have to understand how they are or are not attached to the floor material beneath it called the sub flooring. These are the basic options that you have to choose from:

  • Strip Flooring: This comes in a range of thickness from 5/16 to ¾ wide and in various widths 1 ½ inches, 2 inches, 2 ¼ inches
  • Plank Flooring. Only comes in two thicknesses ½ inch or ¾ inch but the widths come in a range from three to eight inches.
  • Parquet Flooring. This flooring comes from a geometrical patterns of individual wooden slats

The Types of Installation Methods

In addition to choosing your flooring type, you must also decide what type of installation is best for your project. The options are:

  • Nailed down. best for use with the thinner types of flooring, the nails are meant to go through to the sub flooring level.
  • Staple down. similar to the nailed down version only with staples.
  • Glued down. heavy duty adhesives are used to attach the flooring to the sub flooring. This can be used for floors that are placed over wooden or cement sub flooring.
  • Floating flooring. this is the easiest and fastest of the flooring options because it is not attached to the sub flooring but rather snapped together and allowed to float above it. There is usually a pad placed between the two floors to cut down on noise. Floating floor options can include tongue and groove or slat style floors that connect together.

Grading Your Wood Choices

All hardwoods for flooring are graded for their appearance and colors. The grades include:

  • Top grade. the most expensive grade of wood. It has very few knots or other blemishes. The color of this grade of wood is uniform with few variations.
  • Natural grade. the middle grade of wood. It has some small knots or other naturally occurring blemishes. There is some color variation here.
  • Good grade: The lower end of the spectrum, there are a number of larger sized knots and the color can vary wildly. This might be the best grade to use in some rooms or when the most natural type of appearance is desired.

Keep in mind that wood prices can fluctuate frequently, depending on the type that you are choosing, the market price for wood and construction materials and the area that you live in. if you need your wood flooring to be delivered, that will increase your overall price in most cases.

A Few of the Wood Species to Choose From

In addition to the other choices, you will have to choose which type of wood you want. Every type of word has its pros and cons and is available in some color variations when it is unfinished. Some people choose to use a less expensive hardwood species and then finish it to look like the higher cost species. Consider these choices:

  • Red Oak. Considered the most popular of the hardwood options, red oak resists wear and comes in a light brown to dark rusty brown color.
  • White Oak. harder than red oak, white oak is also more durable and good for high traffic areas in the home. It comes in a grayish to brown color.
  • Birch. softer than red oak, birch is usually light yellow to dark brown.
  • Beech. usually in a reddish brown color, beech is used less frequently than other types of hardwoods.
  • Pine. a softer style of wood, it can be nearly white to a light brown color.

In addition to the more traditional hardwoods, there are exotics that include bamboo and teak.

Do it Yourself or Hire a Contractor?

When you are considering a hardwood floor, you have to decide whether or not you have the time, knowledge, patience and the tools to handle doing it yourself or if you would be better off hiring a contractor. The job requires more than just the wood that you choose for the flooring, of course. There are additional materials including: nails, screws or glue depending on the type of floor that you are planning on. You may also need to replace the sub flooring before you lay the new floor. Some reasons why you might be able to do the flooring on your own:

  • Tongue and groove, snap together slat and other floating options can be very easily done by someone with only basic abilities.
  • Wood is more forgiving of some errors than other types of materials.

But, there are also reasons that may prevent you from doing a job that is up to your standards. Including:

  • Too many corners and angles to deal with.
  • Too much space or too big of a project to tackle on your own.
  • Complicated types of flooring that is not meant to be snapped together and then put into place.
  • Wood flooring that must be measured and then cut to the correct size rather than slats or pieces that are precut.

If you have any questions or concerns about your flooring, it is better to hire a local contractor who can typically get the job done correctly in one to two days. Before you hire anyone, make sure that you get several estimates and always make sure that your contractor is bonded by your state.


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