Hardwood Floor Installation

Learn How To Install Hardwood Floors

Many novice do-it-yourselfers long to tackle one of the toughest, yet most satisfying home improvement projects of all: a hardwood floor. Learning how to install hardwood floors takes plenty of patience and time, but the final result is a thing of beauty that is a joy for decades.

There are two choices of hardwood flooring: pre-finished and unfinished. Many novice installers prefer pre-finished flooring because it cuts back on work, but veteran installers know there’s no real substitute for a beautiful wood floor that’s been sanded and finished by hand. Once the type of wood is chosen, it’s best to buy about 30 percent more stock than the job requires to replaced boards that are cut incorrectly or otherwise damaged. Even longtime installers make mistakes that require replacing boards. It’s also essential to bring the wood inside the structure and allow it to acclimate to the temperature and humidity in the building for about two weeks (or longer, depending on conditions). Installers who skip this seasoning time are only asking for trouble, because the flooring will then acclimate during installation or shortly thereafter, with the result that the floor will most likely buckle and squeak. That’s one way to tell whether a hardwood floor has been properly installed.

The first step to a good installation is to build a proper base for the floor. The finished floor’s quality depends directly on how well the subfloor is installed. Any imperfections in the subfloor will show up in the finished floor. In other words, the installer can’t hide his or her subfloor mistakes under the wood planks.

Most subfloors are created by nailing down half-inch to three-quarter-inch plywood. The subfloor must be completely flat, even if it’s not level in some places. To keep the wood floor from squeaking, cover the subfloor with Rosin paper or the new cork underflooring. This extra step means more work, but it keeps down the noise of boards rubbing against each other.

Once the subfloor is down, expert installers do a “dry lay” of the top boards. That way the pattern of the wood can be corrected and perfected before nailing begins. Installing the first board is crucial to a successful project. Many installers say that the entire floor rests on how well that first board is laid down. It’s worth every minute to spend extra time assembling the pattern in a dry lay, then laying the first board, and repeatedly checking to see that the boards “square” properly with each other.

The boards should be nailed tightly to each other, but the back of the flooring should be loose to allow the wood to “breathe” with changes in its environment. Be sure to use the proper equipment for this task, a specialized nail gun called a blind nailer. This tool hides the nails in the tongue of each board so that the wood fits together snugly and smoothly. Pneumatic blind nailers are available to rent from many home improvement stores. This power tool helps the installer enormously and is well worth the rental price.

Another special tool that’s helpful when you install hardwood floors is a Japanese pull saw, an implement that cuts on the backward stroke instead of the forward stroke like most manual saws. Using this tool an installer can cut out a small portion of the doorjamb to allow the flooring to run beneath it. The Japanese pull saw has saved the knuckles of many installers.

Finally, a properly installed wood floor can be ruined by a bad finishing job. Novices should always get a professional to help sand, stain and coat the floor. Finishing is a critical task that takes plenty of practice to do correctly. Without expertise, novice installers may see their hours of hard labor come to nothing instead of a beautiful, gleaming hardwood floor.

The Facts On Installing Hardwood Flooring

Large numbers of homeowners are now installing hardwood flooring. There are many reasons for this other than the obvious cosmetic benefits. They have a longevity that cannot be matched by other forms of floor coverings. Hardwood flooring can be refinished a number of times to give an appearance the same as new.

Most hardwood floors will last as long as the house does! They are durable and can stand up to all forms of modern living. Installing hardwood floors is best left to the experts, it is not a straightforward task, and it takes special equipment and knowledge to place professionally, unless you have moderate DIY skills.

There are three main varieties of hardwood floors. Parquet designs are the type that uses geometric patterns, often in six by six groups; they are very unique and individual. The plank variety uses long boards that have a minimum width of three inches. Plank designs are installed by screwing and nailing the individual boards to the floor. The most common variety is known as strip design. These are usually two and a quarter inches wide but can also be smaller or larger. As with planks they are nailed, screwed, or glued to the floor.

It is useful to understand that changes in the humidity in your home throughout the year can expand and contract any form of wood flooring. Most professional hardwood floor installation firms will leave small expansion gaps in between the final pieces and the wall so that the actual flooring does not buckle.

There are other factors involved when choosing a hardwood floor. One of which is the grading. This is the term used to describe the appearance of the actual wood. Color is another factor which can vary depending upon the tree. There is also the grain, this is determined by the variety of tree and the direction in which the wood has been cut – at a tangent or radial to the tree rings.

Once the floor has been installed there is another factor that can alter its appearance. This is what is called the finish. There are two types of finish – surface and penetrating. Surface finishes are applied by first applying a stain to the wood and then a coating with a durable substance such as varnish or polyurethane that is water resistant. The other option, penetrating finish, uses a stain or wax that is more expensive than surface finishing. Usually this form of finish is more long lasting and enhances the natural color of the wood.

There are many positives that come with installing hardwood flooring, apart from the obvious elegant appearance it can also increase the value of your house significantly and will make it stand apart from others in the neighborhood. It can also make your house feel a lot warmer and comfortable. It adds an old touch to even modern properties.

Though installing hardwood flooring is not exactly cheap, it is an investment that is well worth considering and will never be regretted. They are far more durable, long lasting, and better looking than a carpeted floor.

Hardwood Floor Installation Cost – Cheaper Than You Think

Does your carpet or existing floor drive you crazy? Is it all stained, worn out and smell funny? Do you wish you could get a better, economical style of flooring that is easy to clean and take care such as hardwood flooring, but you fear that the hardwood floor installation cost is too high for your budget? I have news for you, now you can have those hardwood floors with low installation cost.

Many more families are starting to purchase hardwood floors because of their ease to take care of and keep clean. Hardwood floors don’t show dirt like carpet and is easy to clean and take care of, a damp cloth or mop and a broom is all you need to keep your floor looking new.

Now hardwood floors can be found in a wide arrangement of styles, colors and woods such as pine, oak and laminate. It almost makes it tough to decide which one to choose for your home.

A lot of people look at the look of hardwood floors and automatically count them out because they look expensive, so they assume that they can’t afford them, but now they are affordable, durable and can be installed yourself.

Hardwood floors used to be a fancy treat for most families because the installation cost was too much and they couldn’t afford it. These days they are more affordable and even easy to install. As with anything that you have installed such as appliances, carpet, flooring, cabinets and more chances are you will pay more for hardwood floor  installation than the product itself, so buyer beware.

Yes, its true. If you are looking for hardwood floors then the best thing to do is compare around, many retail stores are offering incentives with hardwood floor installations such as free installation if you place it on your credit card or store credit card so always shop around. While the incentive of no installation cost sounds good you will pay for the cost by the time you pay interest on your purchase. You may also find the material costs to be more expensive.

Hardwood floors require some prep work before hand and there are a various of items that you can do if you decide you want to tackle the job yourself such as online videos, DVD’s or books that you can read that are helpful to you and show you step by step how it can be done. When tackling the job of hardwood floor installation always allow for a few days to get the job done. Alternatively, installing laminate flooring is a popular choice, as they are economical, long lasting, and easy to install.

If you are a fast learner, like to take on tasks yourself or have time then installation yourself may be the route for you. Hardwood floor installation doesn’t take long to do it just can be tedious and time consuming. If you feel this is more than you can take on then check around for installation costs. Doing a comparison will get you the better deal. You can expect to pay about $3 a square foot on average for labor. If you have the time to do it yourself you’ll just have to pay for the materials. By taking the time to install hardwood flooring yourself you can sit back and reap the rewards of enjoying your hardwood floors that you installed yourself.

Hardwood Floor Installation Info

There are some basic things that one must consider when they begin to think seriously about hardwood floor installation. Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home and in most cases increase the value of a home considerably. But there are some other items that will need to be thought through before one takes on hardwood floor installation as a DIY project.

First, one should consider where they are going to install their hardwood floor. Hardwood floors are, well, hard wood. If a hardwood floor is placed in a kitchen and the faucet leaks onto the floor for several hours it will ruin the wood. Once the faucet leak is repaired the floor will be severely damaged wherever water has seeped and those pieces of floor will need to be replaced. This can be extremely expensive.

The best places for hardwood floor installation are areas that do not receive heavy foot traffic and damage inducing activities. Hardwood floors scratch, they are not appropriate in a room that contains sharp ended objects that get pushed across the floor. A hardwood floor will stay beautiful as long as it is taken care of properly.

Installing hardwood floors does not require any exotic tools or unique skills to accomplish successfully. However, if the floor is going to be installed on a surface that has linoleum that has been glued to a concrete slab there may be some special tools required to chisel the linoleum, remove the adhesive, and make the surface smooth.

It is important when prepping a floor for hardwood installation that no oil based detergent or cleaner be used. Oil based cleaners damage the floor and it will not have as long a life expectancy as when installed on a surface that has been properly prepared.

The two choices most people have when selecting their hardwood is solid or engineered. The basic difference is that solid wood is solid and engineered wood is usually plywood with a thin wood veneer top. The veneer will hold up better in areas where there is a lot of activity and is easier to keep free of dust. But the solid wood will keep its integrity longer. Many people go with engineered wood because it is more cost effective than solid wood.

If the flooring is going to be installed on a concrete surface it is also important to get a moisture meter. Moisture is very bad for hardwood floors and there is an underlayment that will prevent moisture from seeping into the floor that can be laid prior to installation. This material looks and feels like very thin black foam. It is especially a good idea to use this material for woods such as bamboo.

A list of the tools that are needed to complete hardwood floor installation will come with the flooring. Most of these tools can be rented from a home improvement store on an hourly or daily basis. If the DIY project is for a family room plan on renting the tool for at least one day.

One last tip regarding installation. Be sure to have all the materials and tools in one place and do not have distractions in the area when you are doing this project. Hardwood floor installation is not hard but it does require focus and concentration.

Hardwood Floors Installation Made Easy

Hardwood floors installation in the past was a very labor intensive and time consuming task. The first row had to be pre-drilled and nailed through the top, but close enough to the edge to be covered by the base molding and then predrilled at a forty five degree angle through the tongue and nailed. Then each additional row was laid in place, made tight by use of a rubber mallet, predrilled through the tongue and nailed into place. Once all the boards were secured into place, the floor had to be sanded to a perfect smoothness, stained and finally varnished.

The resulting floor was beautiful and expected to last for the life of the home. In fact, many homes that are over one hundred years in age have hardwood floors that remain very beautiful and serviceable even today.

The process of installing hardwood floors does not have to be so labor intensive. Today, we have available floating hardwood floors, that are prefinished and very easily installed. These floors are engineered and rest on padding that allow for longer periods of standing or walking without the fatigue of standing on harder surfaces. These floors are not nailed at all and nay be glued together or simply clicked together over padding.

The padding is installed with the vapor barrier down and held in place with double stick tape at all edges. Be sure that you choose the correct padding for the flooring that you are using.

Hardwood Floors InstallationShort scrap pieces of the flooring may be used as spacers against the walls to help get the initial few rows in place. Stand them on edge between the wall and the first row. The second row is cut to fit and laid into place. Use a block and hammer to snap the pieces together. Door facings should be trimmed to allow the flooring boards to slip underneath, rather than trying to trim the flooring to fit around the trim. When you reach the final row then you should use your miter saw to cut the floor boards to fit, also leaving the three eights inch gap. A pry bar is necessary to pull this final row into place so that it clicks in with the rest of the flooring.

The final step to the hardwood floors installation is to add the base trim. Be sure that any molding used are nailed or glued to the walls and not to the flooring. With this type flooring, the space is necessary for the expansion and contraction of the floor as the humidity changes with the weather.

Once the hardwood floors installation is complete, move furniture back into place and enjoy your new flooring. Vacuuming or dust moping is about the only maintenance ever required of this flooring.

One of the greatest benefits of engineered flooring is that it is an environmentally friendly option. Engineered floors can be made from sustainable products such as bamboo or eucalyptus. These quick growing plants offer beauty and durability, but do not take hundreds of yeas to grow like oak trees.