When it comes to installing hardwood floors we may seek help of professionals to get the job done. If you have the budget for this then this a a great way to proceed, but if you are like many homeowners and your funds are limited, a self-install is on your agenda.
Thankfully it is not that difficult to plan and prepare for this type of home improvement. In fact, once you have the right materials and tools lined up the process is step-by-step. Prefinished hardwood floor planks are available through your local hardware store and instructions can be easily found online or at the library. A couple of good places to visit are wikiHow and The Family Handyman.
Once you have properly prepared your new flooring area and eliminated any problems such as moisture, mold, uneven areas, etc. it’s time to get your project started.
Five simple steps on how to properly install hardwood flooring:
- Decide on the type of wood to use such as oak, maple cherry, rustic ash, ect. Keep in mind that oak is the most expensive of all the hardwoods, but is the most sturdy to use. On the lower end of the budget scale are maple or rustic ash, which can last as long as oak with proper care and maintenance.
- Measure the surface where you will install your new hardwood floor, and plan for 10 to 15 inches larger to compensate for any errors. This can always be cut away during the installation.
- Prepare your materials. In addition to your hardwood planks you will need vapor barrier paper, a pry bar, hammer, speed drill and drill bits, a pneumatic flooring pack (nail gun, staples, mallet, hose, and air compressor), staple gun, tape measure, chalk line, and, if needed, a how-to booklet or video. Most lumber supply shops and hardware stores will carry these materials.
- Take the time to read instructions and watch helpful videos before starting any home project like this one. Once you begin be sure to wear safety goggles, a face mask and gloves, as drilling and hammering produces quite a bit of wood dust, which can be harmful or cause injuries. As with any new project, getting that first plank in place can be a challenge, but the rest of the installation will become easier.
- Tightly nail the hardwood plank into the subfloor to avoid squeaking, and provide extra space when cutting the pieces. Once the job is complete you will want to go over and make the necessary adjustments and filling.
Prefinished hardwood flooring is much easier to put into place. Wood in its purest form will require sanding and finishing tools with more steps in order to maintain a clean, and uniform installation.
If you are doing this project at home for the first time enlist the help of someone you know who would be willing to help you with materials, guidance, and installation tasks. If they have finished a job like this one they can provides helpful advice to make the task go a lot smoother.