How to Install Hardwood Floors | Step by Steps guide

How to Install Hardwood Floors
Although laying hardwood floors is typically more expensive than putting carpet or vinyl, they should last decades longer. There are a variety of hardwood flooring options available.

Solid wood flooring is constructed from a single, continuous piece of solid wood that is approximately 3/4 inches thick. The width of wood strips ranges from 1-1/2 to 2-1/4 inches. The width of planks exceeds 2-1/4 inches. Most strip and plank flooring is manufactured with tongue-and-groove edges so boards can interlock, although some planks are flat-edged for a more rustic appearance. Typically, wood strips or boards are affixed to the subfloor.

Before Installing Hardwood Floors, One Should:

Stack and acclimatize the wood boards or strips in the area of the room that will be floored last, so that the stack does not impede your progress. This supply of wood strips was concealed in an out-of-the-way bay window.

Because wood expands and contracts, it is essential to acclimatize the flooring planks or strips to the temperature and humidity conditions in your home. Have it delivered at least 72 hours prior to installation, and store it in the installation space.

For storage on a slab-on-grade concrete floor, leave a 4-inch air gap beneath wood stacks or boxes.

The ideal room temperature for two weeks prior to installation and during installation is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity between 35 and 40 percent.

Although laying hardwood floors is typically more expensive than putting carpet or vinyl, they should last decades longer. There are a variety of hardwood flooring options available.

Solid wood flooring is constructed from a single, continuous piece of solid wood that is approximately 3/4 inches thick. The width of wood strips ranges from 1-1/2 to 2-1/4 inches. The width of planks exceeds 2-1/4 inches. Most strip and plank flooring is manufactured with tongue-and-groove edges so boards can interlock, although some planks are flat-edged for a more rustic appearance. Typically, wood strips or boards are affixed to the subfloor.

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Step 1: Locate Joists

As a joist finder, drive a nail partially into the floor towards one end of the longest wall that is perpendicular to floor joists. (Nails used to secure subflooring reveal joist positions.) Use a measuring tape to locate successive joists, which are typically 16-24 inches apart on center; nail a projecting nail to the end of each joist.

Step 2: Cut Casing

The bottom portion of the casing should be undercut so that boards or strips can fit snugly underneath. Alongside the casing, place a wood plank or strip and rest the backsaw on top. The plank or strip maintains the correct saw height when cutting.

Step 3: Secure Underlayment

Apply one layer of hardwood-floor underlayment to the subfloor, with the lengths running perpendicular to the joists and the edges overlapping by approximately 4 inches. (Allow the nail marks that you drove into the subfloor to protrude through the felt.) This layer of padding prevents squeaks.

Step 4: Mark Joists

Create a chalk line between the joist-marking nails. You will utilize this line while nailing down your boards in the future.

Step 5: Create a Chalk Guide

Snap a chalk line perpendicular to the joist lines and close to your beginning wall to act as a guide for laying the first course straight. Here, the initial phase of the installation is abutting an existing wood floor. Beginning with the groove side towards the wall or existing flooring, install the first course. You will use these lines to ensure that your floorboards are put in a straight line.

Step 6: Rack Planks

Due of the similar appearance of strips or planks within a bundle, unwrap multiple bundles of flooring and lay out the pieces (a process called racking). Mix them to create a balanced look, then stagger the joints across the entire floor.

Step 7: Drill Pilot Holes

First and last courses must be nailed 1 inch from the wall through the face of the planks or strips. Drilling 1/16-inch pilot holes through the face of the board prevents nails from splitting it.

Step 8: Lay First Boards

Place the first board perpendicular to the set square guidelines. Utilize the manufacturer-supplied (or suggested) spacers to position the course at the specified distance from the wall. This space (about 3/4 inch) enables for the wood to expand. To fix the first board, use a hammer or a pneumatic face nailer. Follow your guide as you lay successive boards, overlapping planks or strips, drilling pilot holes, and fixing the floor with face-driven nails. Last board should be trimmed to leave a 3/4-inch gap between it and the wall.

Step 9: Install Next Row

To install the next row, cut the board so that the end joints are offset by at least 6 inches from the preceding row. Tighten the boards end-to-end and row-to-row. These rows are still close enough to the wall that a face nailer or hammer is required. For optimal results, drill pilot holes and nail through the tongues.

Step 10: Utilize a Nailer

Approximately after the third row, you should be able to utilize the side nailer. (The nailer requires approximately 6 inches of operational space.) Position the nailer so that the lip fits over the plank’s edge. Use a rubber mallet to strike the knob to release the nail and air pressure, which drives the nail through the tongue at the proper angle and into the subfloor. Drive nails four inches from each end and approximately eight inches apart.

Load the flooring power nailer with the nails indicated for your floor type. Experiment with depth settings; the nail heads should barely penetrate the surface of the board. Fit the nailer to the tongue, ensuring that it is flat, and strike it with the mallet.

To maintain parallel courses, tap the boards together before nailing. Use a scrap of wood as a driving block to safeguard the flooring. Use the neoprene head of the power-nailer mallet as an alternative.

Step 11: Work Across Room

Continually install hardwood flooring, row by row, across the room. The nailer should drive nails approximately 1/16 inch below the tongue’s surface. Adjust the air pressure accordingly if the nail is not sunk to the desired depth.

Step 12: Fix Bowed Planks

Avoid utilizing bowed planks if possible. However, if you are short on materials and must use one, screw a piece of wood to the subfloor approximately 1 inch from the plank. Utilize the timber as a brace while driving a wedge of timber between the timber and the bowed board. As soon as the plank is aligned and in place, nail it in place.

Step 13: Master Obstacles

When installing flooring around an obstruction, such as a built-in cabinet or fireplace hearth, frame the base. For a snug fit, you may need to trim the ends of the boards. If the tongue will interfere with a cabinet or other obstruction, cut it off. Since you are working close to an obstruction, you should nail these planks with your face.

Step 14: Cut for Corners

At the point where a board will meet a corner, place the end of the board against the wall and make a mark. Cut the required notch with a jigsaw, leaving a 1/2-inch expansion space.

Step 15: Lay the Final Row

Install the final row of planks before nailing them in place. Because these are too close together to utilize a side nailer, you must drill pilot holes and employ face-nailing.

Step 16: Finalize the Last Row

It may be necessary to rip-cut the final course. Protecting the wall with a scrap of wood, tighten the final courses with a pry bar. Drill pilot holes and hammer nails through the face of the boards. Fill the nail holes with wood filler.

Step 17: Mind the Gap

Cover the space between the last row and the wall with shoe molding and baseboard. Align the bottom edge of the baseboard so that it is flush with the top of the wooden floor, and then attach the baseboard to the wall. Attach the shoe (or quarter-round) molding slightly above the wood planks to the baseboard.

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