How to Install Hardwood Plank Flooring

Hardwood plank flooring adds elegance and natural beauty to any space. Whether you are renovating your home or installing new flooring, hardwood planks are a great choice. This guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to install hardwood plank flooring, ensuring a successful and beautiful result.

Step 1: Prepare the Subfloor

Start by preparing the subfloor. Ensure that the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. Remove any existing flooring and repair any damaged areas. If installing over concrete, use a moisture barrier to prevent any moisture from reaching the hardwood planks. Additionally, ensure that the subfloor is free of any protruding nails or screws that may cause issues during installation.

Step 2: Acclimate the Hardwood Planks

Before installation, it is important to acclimate the hardwood planks to the room’s temperature and humidity. Open the boxes of planks and spread them out in the room where they will be installed. Leave them for at least 48 hours to allow the wood to adjust to the environment. This helps to prevent any warping or expansion of the planks after installation.

Step 3: Install the First Row

Begin installation by installing the first row of hardwood planks. Start on one side of the room, preferably against a wall, and lay the planks down with the tongue side facing the wall. Leave a small gap, usually around ⅜ inch, between the planks and the wall to allow for expansion. Nail or staple the planks to the subfloor, ensuring they are securely fastened.

Step 4: Continue with Subsequent Rows

Once the first row is in place, continue with the subsequent rows. Insert the tongue of each new plank into the groove of the previously installed plank, angling it slightly and pressing it down until it locks into place. Use a rubber mallet to gently tap the planks together if needed. Stagger the end joints of each row, aiming for a random pattern for a more natural look. Remember to leave the required expansion gap between the planks and the walls.

Step 5: Cut and Install the Last Row

As you approach the last row, it is likely that the planks will need to be cut to fit the remaining space. Measure the width needed for the last row and cut the planks accordingly, leaving the required expansion gap. Use a table saw or a circular saw to make the cuts. Install the last row by angling it into place and connecting the tongue and groove as with the previous rows.

Step 6: Finish and Enjoy

After all the planks are installed, it’s time to finish the flooring. Sand the surface lightly to remove any imperfections and to create a smooth surface. Apply a protective finish, such as polyurethane, using a brush or a roller. Allow the finish to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions before moving any furniture onto the newly installed hardwood plank flooring. Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy the beauty of your new hardwood floor!