Unfinished oak hardwood flooring is a popular choice among homeowners who prefer a natural and authentic look for their floors. As the name suggests, unfinished oak hardwood flooring is not pre-finished with any stain or sealant, allowing you to personalize and customize the final look of your floors according to your preference. This guide will walk you through the process of installing and finishing unfinished oak hardwood flooring to achieve beautiful and durable results.
Before you begin the installation process, make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials. You will need unfinished oak hardwood planks, a moisture barrier, a nail gun or flooring stapler, a mallet, a saw, a tape measure, a carpenter’s square, and a pry bar. Start by removing any existing flooring and ensuring that the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. It is important to acclimate the hardwood planks to the room’s environment before installation, so leave the planks in the room for at least 48 hours.
Once the preparation is complete, you can start the installation process. Begin by rolling out the moisture barrier and securing it to the subfloor using staples or adhesive. This barrier will protect the hardwood flooring from moisture, preventing any potential damage in the future. Next, lay the first row of unfinished oak hardwood planks along a starting wall, leaving a 1/2-inch gap between the planks and the wall to allow for expansion. Use the nail gun or flooring stapler to secure the planks to the subfloor, aiming for the tongue of the planks at a 45-degree angle. For the next rows, connect the tongue and groove of each plank and use the mallet to tap them tightly together.
After completing the installation of the unfinished oak hardwood flooring, it is time to finish and protect the surface. Sanding the floor is the initial step to achieve a smooth and even surface. Start with rough sandpaper to remove any imperfections or unevenness, and then progress to finer sandpaper for a polished finish. Be sure to wear a dust mask and protective eyewear during this process. Once the sanding is complete, remove all the dust using a vacuum and tack cloth.
With the floor prepped and sanded, you are now ready to apply a finish to your unfinished oak hardwood flooring. There are various finishes available, such as polyurethane, tung oil, and wax. Each finish has its own advantages and characteristics, so research and choose the one that best fits your needs. Apply the finish according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using a brush or roller, and allow it to dry completely between coats. Remember to lightly sand the surface between coats to ensure a smooth finish. Once the final coat is dry, your unfinished oak hardwood flooring is ready to be enjoyed.