How to Install Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring

Wide plank hardwood flooring offers a beautiful and timeless look to any space. With its wider planks compared to traditional flooring, it adds warmth and character to your home. If you’re considering installing wide plank hardwood flooring yourself, here is a step-by-step guide to help you achieve a successful installation.

1. Prepare the Subfloor: The first step is to ensure your subfloor is clean, level, and dry. Remove any existing flooring, carpet, or debris from the area. Check for any loose or squeaky floorboards and secure them properly. Use a moisture meter to test the subfloor’s moisture content. Ideally, the moisture level should be between 6% and 9% for hardwood installation. Sweep the subfloor to make sure it’s free of dust or dirt.

2. Acclimate the Flooring: Wide plank hardwood flooring needs to acclimate to the room’s environment for a minimum of 72 hours. Place the unopened boxes of flooring in the room where it will be installed. This allows the wood to adjust to the temperature and humidity of the space, preventing expansion or contraction after installation. Keep the room’s temperature and humidity levels consistent during this period.

3. Measure and Plan: Before starting the installation, carefully measure and plan your layout. Measure the length and width of the room, and calculate the square footage to determine the amount of flooring needed. Consider the direction of the planks, typically parallel to the longest wall, for a visually appealing result. Plan the starting point to ensure the first row is straight and evenly spaced. This step is crucial to achieve a professional-looking installation.

4. Install the Vapor Barrier: Lay down a vapor barrier over the subfloor to protect the hardwood from moisture. Use a plastic moisture barrier or felt paper to create a moisture barrier. Overlap the seams by 6 inches and attach them securely with adhesive or tape. Trim any excess material around the edges of the room.

5. Start Installing the Planks: Begin your installation from the starting point you planned. Place the first plank alongside the wall with the groove side facing the wall. Use spacers to provide a little gap between the plank and the wall for expansion. Secure the first row of planks to the subfloor using a pneumatic flooring stapler or nailer. Make sure each plank is tightly interconnected with the previous one. Use a tapping block and mallet to fit each plank together.

6. Continue the Installation: As you proceed with the installation, cut the last plank of each row to fit accordingly. Remember to stagger the end joints of the planks by at least 6 inches for a more natural look. Use a circular saw or a miter saw to make accurate cuts. Continue installing the planks row by row, working your way across the room. Be patient and take your time to ensure each plank is securely installed.

7. Trim and Finish: Once you reach the last row, you might need to trim the planks to fit against the wall. Measure and cut the planks carefully, leaving a small expansion gap between the last row and the wall. Use a pry bar or crowbar to tap the last row into place. After completing the installation, remove the spacers and install any required transition pieces, such as thresholds or baseboards. Give the floor a final clean and apply the desired finish to protect and enhance its natural beauty.

By following these steps, you can enjoy the beauty of wide plank hardwood flooring in your home. Remember to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions specific to the flooring you’ve chosen. Installing wide plank hardwood flooring can be a satisfying DIY project, but if you’re unsure or lack experience, it’s always recommended to consult with a professional.