Step-by-Step Instructions For Installing Your New Hardwood Floor

Step-by-Step Instructions For Installing Your New Hardwood Floor


Hardwood floors can add a measure of elegance to a room on top of increasing a house’s overall value. While hiring a professional is the best option, hardwood floor installation is fairly straightforward. The key is taking enough time with planning and preparation. Having the patience to do each step right the first time can help you avoid unnecessary delays and expenses.

1. Take Measurements

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” It’s a common refrain in construction that means you should double check your preparations to prevent making a mistake you can’t undo. Though you won’t be cutting anything just yet, this advice applies to measuring your space.

Calculate the square footage by measuring the length and width of the room, then multiplying them together. If the room isn’t in a square, you may have to break it into easily measurable areas, calculate the square footage of each, then add them together.

2. Order Materials

Once you have a number, it’s time to place your order. Professionals recommend that you order enough wood to cover the entire area, plus 10% to account for waste. This 10% may seem like a lot, but it’s a guide to help you avoid a second trip to the store. Installing a hardwood floor is a little like putting together a puzzle, but some of the pieces aren’t the right size. When you finish off a row, you’ll need to cut the last piece to fit in the remaining space, which leaves you with some waste.

3. Prepare Your Subfloor

Before you put anything down, it’s important to make sure your subfloor is moisture-proof. Moisture can be the death of hardwood flooring, as it may lead to warping.

If you’re installing a hardwood floor over an existing floor, this may be sufficient to guard against moisture. However, if you’re laying floorboards on concrete, you’ll need to put down vapor barrier paper. You should cover your entire subfloor, stapling in place where necessary.

4. Mark Your Flooring

Before you start nailing anything, measure a gap from the wall. This gap allows the wood to expand or contact with changing temperatures and humidity.

If you have shoe molding, remove it and measure 3/8 inches directly from the wall. If you have baseboards, you can remove them and measure directly from the wall, or you can leave them and measure your 3/8 inches from the baseboards.

5. Lay the First Row

Since wood is so easily affected by humidity, it’s important that you allow your boards to rest at the installation location for about seven days. This ensures that you’re able to get accurate measurements. Once the wood is acclimated, open a few boxes so you can alternate boards. Even though you’ve probably ordered the same wood and color for the entire room, there will be differences in grain and shade between each box. Mixing and matching floorboards provides a more natural and aesthetically pleasing effect.

Because the first row is so close to the wall, you won’t be able to use a pneumatic nail gun just yet. You’ll need to lay down the first row, drill pilot holes, then hammer in the nails manually. Use a nail set to ensure the nail head is below the wood’s surface.

6. Lay Down Subsequent Rows

Once you’ve gotten past the first few rows, you should be able to use a nail gun to staple in the rest. Make sure that you stagger the boards to give a more natural appearance.

When you reach the end, remember to accommodate the 3/8-inch gap from the wall. You’ll probably have to trim some width off the boards in order to do so.

7. Fill Holes

There are going to be holes in the wood closest to the wall due to your manually hammered nails. Apply wood filler and let dry.

8. Replace Molding

If you removed molding before the installation, now is the time to put it back. If you installed around baseboards, you’ll have a visible gap left. You can install quarter round to cover this.

Ready to install hardwood flooring in your home? Find an amazing selection at Blue Ridge Floors. We offer only top-quality hardwood along with services such as design, finishing and installation. Find out more by contacting us online or by calling 828-280-3221.

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