How to Guide: Unfinished Maple Flooring

Unfinished maple flooring is a popular choice for homeowners looking for a natural and versatile flooring option. With its light and creamy color, maple can brighten any space and complement a wide range of interior designs. While prefinished maple flooring is readily available, some individuals prefer the flexibility and customization options that unfinished maple flooring offers. This informative guide will walk you through the steps needed to install and finish your own unfinished maple flooring.

Step 1: Preparation
Before installing your unfinished maple flooring, ensure that your subfloor is clean, level, and dry. Remove any existing flooring materials and clean the subfloor thoroughly. Additionally, acclimate the maple flooring to the room where it will be installed by leaving it in the room for at least 48 hours. This will allow the wood to adjust to the temperature and humidity of the space.

Step 2: Installation
Start the installation process by laying down a layer of underlayment or moisture barrier to protect your subfloor from potential moisture damage. Begin installing the unfinished maple flooring along the longest, straightest wall in the room. Place the first board with its groove facing the wall and secure it to the subfloor using a pneumatic flooring nailer or a drill and screws. Subsequent boards should be joined together using a mallet and a tapping block, ensuring each board is snugly fitted against the previous one. Repeat this process, working row by row until the entire room is covered.

Step 3: Finishing
Once the unfinished maple flooring has been installed, it’s time to finish it. Begin by sanding the entire floor with a drum sander, using progressively finer grits of sandpaper. This will help ensure a smooth, even surface. After sanding, vacuum and clean the floor to remove any dust or debris. Next, apply a high-quality wood floor stain using a brush, roller, or sprayer, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the stain to dry completely before applying multiple coats of a polyurethane finish. Lightly sand between each coat for a smooth and durable finish. Finally, allow the finish to cure for the recommended time before moving furniture back into the room.