You can install a hickory floor in almost any room of your house. You might want to avoid the bathroom though. There is so much of humidity/no humidity cycle in a bathroom that a hardwood floor is a poor choice. Wood will absorb moisture which causes it to expand. And then as it dries it contracts. Constantly being in this kind of motion is detrimental. Another consideration is that any wood will rot over time when water stands on it.
Traditional hickory strip or plank wood floor material is fastened to a subflooring base. After that is completed, the floor is sanded and finished, usually with polyurethane or a similar finish. This subflooring base may be a previous floor covering such as vinyl, an existing wood floor, plywood subfloor, or a moisture proofed concrete slab.
Removing Old Floor
If you install a hickory floor over an existing floor, you get to avoid the messy job of taking out the old floor and you get instant soundproofing plus insulation that the old floor gives it. On the flip side, a disadvantage to having the old floor in place is that any irregularities will have to be corrected. And, the new hickory floor will raise the floor level, which might make any transition at a hallway or the next room awkward.
Before you begin installing your hickory floor, stack the wood indoors for a couple of days. This will allow the flooring time to adjust itself to humidity level in your home. You will install the floor perpendicular to your floor joists.
Carefully mark the positions of your floor joists along a wall to use for reference. Now cover the subfloor with one layer of 15-pound felt. Overlap the seams by about three inches and tack it down with your staple gun. This will provide a moisture barrier and will minimize squeaking.
When you install the floor, the most efficient thing to do is to lay out a few rows of boards and stagger them in such a way that no end joint is any closer than six inches to any end joint on the following row. As you move along installing the boards, cut pieces of at least 8 inches to fit at the each row’s end. Be sure to allow a one half inch gap at the wall.
Cut the boards using a radial arm saw or electric miter saw. When you blind nail with a hammer using finish nails, do not attempt to drive the nail flush with the wood. If you do this the indentations will be visible. Rather, leave all nail heads sticking up about one eighth of an inch; and then place your nail set sideways on it by the upper edge of the tongue and set the nail home. Do this by gently tapping the nail set. Now use the tip of the nail set, recessing the nail head to be flush at the surface of the wood.
When you install the second row and every row after that, move a short piece of hickory along the edge. Give it a smart rap with your mallet. This will tighten the new row against the previous one before you nail it.
When you get to the last row, take a block and a pry bar and wedge the final boards tightly into position. Drill pilot holes and face nail the boards at the place where the baseboard molding will cover it. Set the nail heads just below the hickory surface.
When you get done, you can sand your newly installed hickory floor and finish it with the finish of your choice.