How to Install Hardwood Plank Flooring

Hardwood plank flooring is a popular choice for homeowners due to its durability and timeless beauty. Installing hardwood plank flooring can enhance the aesthetics of your space while adding value to your home. If you are considering installing hardwood plank flooring yourself, follow these step-by-step instructions for a successful installation.

1. Preparation: Before starting the installation process, ensure that your subfloor is clean, level, and dry. Remove any existing flooring, baseboards, and trim. Acclimate the hardwood planks to the room’s temperature and humidity for at least 48 hours, as this will prevent expansion or contraction of the wood once installed.

2. Measure and Plan: Measure the room’s square footage to determine the amount of hardwood planks needed. It is recommended to order an extra 10% of flooring to account for any mistakes or damaged planks during installation. Create a layout plan, considering the direction you want the floorboards to run and any transition pieces required for doorways or between rooms.

3. Install the Underlayment: If your subfloor requires additional protection or insulation, consider installing an underlayment. Roll out the underlayment perpendicular to the floorboards with the seams overlapping and secure it in place with tape. This will help reduce noise, absorb moisture, and provide a smoother base for your hardwood planks.

4. Begin Installation: Start in a corner of the room and lay the first row of hardwood planks with the tongue side facing the wall. Remember to leave a ⅜-inch expansion gap along the walls to allow the wood to naturally expand. Use a tapping block and a rubber mallet to fit each subsequent plank tightly against the previous one. Stagger the planks by at least 6 inches for a more natural look.

5. Nail or Staple: As you progress, secure the hardwood planks to the subfloor using a nail gun or pneumatic stapler. Position nails or staples approximately every 6 to 8 inches, ensuring they are angled towards the floorboard’s tongue at a 45-degree angle. Be cautious not to hit the planks too hard, as this may cause damage to the wood surface.

6. Trim and Cut: When reaching the end of a row or around obstacles like doorways or vents, you will need to cut the planks accordingly. Measure and mark the planks before making cuts using a miter saw, ensuring the precise fit. Remember to maintain the necessary expansion gap and make any necessary adjustments to achieve a seamless finish.

7. Continue Installation: Repeat the process, row by row, until the floor is completely covered. Make sure to stagger the ends of the planks in adjacent rows to enhance stability. Use a pry bar and a hammer to close any gaps between rows or to adjust planks that are not aligning properly. It is important to check for levelness regularly throughout the installation.

8. Finishing Touches: Once all the hardwood planks are installed, reinstall the baseboards and trim. Install transition pieces, such as thresholds or reducers, between your hardwood floor and other types of flooring to create a seamless transition. Lastly, use a flooring nailer and a punch tool to sink any visible nails slightly below the surface.

By following these steps, you can successfully install hardwood plank flooring in your home. Remember, proper installation is crucial for a durable and visually appealing floor. Take your time, pay attention to detail, and enjoy the beautiful result of your hard work!