Hardwood plank flooring adds an elegant and timeless look to any space. Installing hardwood planks may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, you can achieve professional-looking results. This guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to install hardwood plank flooring in your home.
Step 1: Prepare the Subfloor
Before installing hardwood planks, ensure that the subfloor is clean, level, and dry. Remove any existing flooring and thoroughly clean the subfloor, removing any debris or adhesive residue. Fill and level any low spots or gaps with self-leveling compound.
It’s essential to acclimate the hardwood planks to the room’s temperature and humidity for at least 72 hours. Open the packaging and lay the planks in the room where they will be installed. This process allows the wood to adjust to the environment, reducing the risk of expansion or contraction after installation.
Step 2: Install the Underlayment
Before laying the hardwood planks, it’s recommended to install an underlayment for added stability, moisture resistance, and sound absorption. Roll out the underlayment perpendicular to the direction you plan to install the planks. Trim it to fit the room using a utility knife.
Secure the underlayment to the subfloor using adhesive or nails, as recommended by the manufacturer. Properly overlapping and sealing the seams of the underlayment will provide a more secure base for the hardwood flooring.
Step 3: Lay the Hardwood Planks
Begin the installation by laying the first row of hardwood planks along the longest straight wall in the room. Place spacers between the planks and the wall to allow for expansion. Ensure the groove side of the planks faces the wall.
Hold the next plank at a slight angle to the first, aligning the tongue with the groove of the already installed plank. Gently tap the plank with a mallet or a tapping block until the two planks click together. Continue this process, working row by row, until the entire floor is covered.
Remember to stagger the planks to create a more natural and aesthetically pleasing look. Measure and cut planks to fit against walls and obstacles as necessary, using a miter saw or a circular saw.
Step 4: Finish the Installation
Once the hardwood planks are installed, remove the spacers and install the baseboards or molding to cover the expansion gap. Use a nail gun or adhesive to secure them to the walls. Fill any visible nail holes with wood filler that matches the floor color, and sand down any rough areas.
Finally, apply the desired finish to the hardwood flooring. Whether it’s oil-based or water-based, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and drying time. Applying multiple coats will ensure long-lasting protection and enhance the natural beauty of the wood.