How to Install Finished Hardwood Flooring

Finished hardwood flooring can add beauty and warmth to any room in your home. Whether you are renovating your current space or building a new one, installing hardwood flooring is a worthwhile investment. The process may seem daunting at first, but with the right tools and knowledge, you can achieve professional-looking results. This guide will take you through the necessary steps to install finished hardwood flooring successfully.

Step 1: Prepare the Subfloor

Before installing finished hardwood flooring, it is crucial to prepare the subfloor properly. Start by removing any existing flooring material, such as carpet or tiles. Next, thoroughly clean the subfloor to remove any dust, dirt, or debris. If there are any imperfections, such as cracks or uneven surfaces, use a floor-leveling compound to smooth them out. It is necessary to ensure that the subfloor is clean, dry, level, and structurally sound before proceeding.

Step 2: Acclimate the Hardwood Flooring

Allow the hardwood flooring to acclimate to the room’s environment before installation. This step is essential as it prevents the flooring from shrinking, expanding, or warping after installation. Remove the flooring from the packaging and leave it in the room where it will be installed for at least 48 hours. This will allow the wood to adjust to the temperature and humidity conditions of the space. Make sure to stack the flooring planks loosely and avoid exposing them to moisture or extreme temperatures during acclimation.

Step 3: Install the Hardwood Flooring

Begin by laying a moisture barrier over the prepared subfloor. This barrier will protect the hardwood from moisture that may seep up from below. Once the moisture barrier is in place, start laying the hardwood flooring from the longest wall in the room. Use a pneumatic flooring nailer or stapler to secure the planks to the subfloor. Place the nails or staples about every 8 to 10 inches along the edges of each plank, and every 12 inches within the field of the plank. Use a tapping block and mallet to ensure each plank fits tightly against the previous one.

Continue installing the hardwood flooring until the entire room is complete, leaving a 1/2-inch expansion gap around the perimeter of the room. This gap allows for natural expansion and contraction of the wood due to changes in temperature and humidity. Finally, install the baseboards or quarter-round molding to cover the expansion gap and provide a finished look.

With these steps, you can successfully install finished hardwood flooring in your home. Remember to take your time, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and use the right tools for each task. Hardwood flooring is a long-lasting and timeless option that can greatly enhance the aesthetic appeal and value of your living space.