Engineered hardwood flooring offers a durable and beautiful option for upgrading the look of your home. With its layered construction and easy installation process, it has become a popular choice among homeowners. If you’re considering installing engineered hardwood flooring, follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure a successful and professional-looking installation.
Step 1: Prepare the Subfloor
Before you begin the installation process, it’s crucial to prepare the subfloor properly. Start by removing any existing flooring, such as carpet or vinyl. Inspect the subfloor for any damage, unevenness, or moisture issues. Repair any damages and ensure that the subfloor is clean and dry.
If you’re installing over concrete, check the moisture level of the slab using a moisture meter. Ideally, the moisture content should be below 4%. If the readings are higher, consult a professional to mitigate moisture issues before proceeding with the installation process.
Step 2: Acclimate the Flooring
Engineered hardwood flooring needs time to acclimate to the environment it will be installed in. Open the boxes and lay out the planks in the room for at least 48 hours before installation. This allows the flooring to adjust to the humidity and temperature of the space, minimizing the risk of expansion or contraction after installation.
During the acclimation period, keep the room’s temperature and humidity levels similar to the typical conditions in the house. This step is particularly crucial if you live in an area with high humidity levels or extreme temperature changes.
Step 3: Install the Underlayment
Before laying the engineered hardwood planks, install an underlayment to provide additional support and reduce noise. Begin by rolling out the underlayment perpendicular to the direction you plan to install the flooring. Trim the excess using a utility knife and secure the underlayment with staples or tape, ensuring a tight fit between the edges.
Underlayments can be foam, cork, or felt, depending on your preference. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation to achieve the desired results.
Step 4: Lay the Flooring
Start the installation process along a wall, preferably the longest wall in the room. Leave a 1/4-inch gap between the flooring and the wall to allow for expansion. Use spacers to maintain this gap consistently throughout the installation process.
Slide the tongue of the first plank into the groove of the second plank at a 45-degree angle. Use a tapping block and a mallet to gently tap the joint, ensuring a tight fit. Continue this process until the first row is complete.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
After installing the majority of the floor, you may need to cut the last row of planks to fit. Measure and mark the length required, then use a saw to achieve a clean cut. Remember to leave a 1/4-inch expansion gap at both ends of the final row.
Once all the planks are installed, remove the spacers and install baseboards or quarter rounds to cover the gaps. Use a finish nail gun or adhesive to secure them to the wall while leaving space for the floor to expand or contract.
Installing engineered hardwood flooring is a rewarding project that can transform the look and feel of your home. By following these steps and taking the time to properly prepare, acclimate, and install the flooring, you can achieve a professional and long-lasting result. Remember to follow manufacturer guidelines, take safety precautions, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if necessary. Now, enjoy your beautiful new engineered hardwood floors!