Install Wood Floor Step by Step

Installing hardwood flooring is increasing in popularity amongst homeowners as a way to spruce up and revitalize any room, with the kitchen being the most popular. Anyone with some basic carpentry skills, patience and the right tips can install a hardwood floor. Lets walk through a basic how-to when it comes to installing wood flooring.

1. Choose the hardwood species and board widths for the room installation. Remember, different species of woods have different properties. Consult your local home improvement store for information on choosing the right type of hardwood for your floors.

2. Measure the width and length of the room and multiply for the square footage. When ordering hardwood flooring it is a good rule of thumb to allow 10-15 percent extra for irregular boards and any cutting mistakes.

3. Check the sub-floor. Minimum requirements are a 3/4" plywood sub-floor. Make sure there are no squeaks in the floor. Remove shoe-molding from the room and sweep and clean thoroughly.

4. Roll out strips of vapor barrier paper, allowing at least a 4" overlap and staple securely with a staple gun to the sub-floor. Mark with a pencil along the baseboards where the joists are located.

5. Start the installation at the longest unobstructed wall. Remove the shoe molding and snap a chalk line 3/8" out from the baseboard.

6. Begin by selecting a long board to start the first row. Pick one that is straight. Align the edge of the board with the chalk line and drill pilot holes down through the hardwood plank and into the sub-floor and joist. Face-nail each board at the point of every joist and set the nail with a nail-set Face-nail the entire first row and remember to keep the board lengths random.

7. After the first few rows have been installed, drill pilot holes down into the tongue of each board and hand-nail the rolls until there is enough clearance for the pneumatic nail gun.

8. Using the pneumatic nail gun, place the gun lip over the edge of the board and strike firmly with the mallet driving the staple into the tongue of the hardwood plank.

9. As you near the opposite wall, clearance for the pneumatic nail gun becomes an issue. Drill pilot holes and hand-nail the boards until there is no longer clearance for the drill and hammer. At that point, drill pilot holes down into the top of the boards and face-nail the boards, remembering to set the nails with a nail-set.

10. If you are left with a narrow gap for the last board, take a measurement and rip (cut length-wise) the last board to fit into place. Remember to leave a 3/8" gap at the end wall for expansion and contraction space.

11. Replace shoe molding in room and putty all of the nail holes that have been face-nailed. Be sure and get wood putty that matches your floor. Fill the hole and wipe off the excess.

12. Maintenance is easy for a pre-finished hardwood floor -- keep grit off of the surface by sweeping regularly and use a flooring cleaning kit (alcohol-based) and spray on and wipe off with a damp cloth.

Congratulations, you have now installed your first wood floor.

See Also:

Planning Wood Flooring Installation
Cherry Hardwood Flooring