Planning A DIY Hardwood Flooring Installation? Here’s What You Need To Know
Difficulty level: High | Time required: 3-5 days (150-250sf a day)
In this project DIY hardwood floor installation tutorial, you can review all the considerations and planning that needs to be done in order to do a DIY hardwood floor install.
Armed with all the step-by-step’s you’ll need to complete the job, you can decide if it’s a project you’re willing to take on to save a few dollars.
Lucky for you, floating wood flooring is one of the easiest types of floors to install. If you’re planning to glue or nail down wooding flooring it is more difficult, but the tools it requires your probably familiar with already. Tools like drills, saws, and hammers.
First, let’s begin with the tool you’ll need to complete your hardwood install.
Tools Needed for A DIY Hardwood Install
Note: If you don’t already have a flooring nailer, you can usually rent one at your local Home Depot store.
- Nail Down Flooring
- Pneumatic Flooring Nailer
- Nail Set
- Pry Bar
- Wood Glue
- Safety Mask
- Glue Down Flooring
- Drill with Drill Bits
- Tape Measure
- Safety Glasses
- Knee Pads
- Molding, Trim and Underlayment
- Circular, Miter or Table Saw
- Utility Knife
- Work Gloves
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Before Laying Hardwood – Review These Do’s and Don’ts
Before you begin the hardwood floor installation:
Before Laying Hardwood – Do
- Leave wood to acclimate in the room you’re installing it in for a minimum of seven days (minimum 2-3 weeks for bamboo) prior to installation, at temperatures of 65°F to 75°F.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY, Level your subfloor– The subfloor must be completely level and smooth. ¾-inch CDX plywood is preferred and ¾-inch OSB is acceptable. Minimum 5/8-inch CDX existing wood floor or tongue-and-groove solid wood subfloor is also acceptable. Install on or above grade, not below grade.
- Use a premium adhesive with “moisture resistant & sound absorption barriers” built-in
Before Laying Hardwood – Don’t
- Lay rows of flooring from the same box. Different boxes of hardwood will vary. Get a blend throughout the entire floor area, to do that open up and intermix boards from at least 4-5 cartons during the installation.
Other Considerations to Keep in Mind
Will You Install Flooring Under the Door Jambs?
Instead of cutting the flooring to work around your door jamb, cutting the door jamb instead is a much easier alternative. You can easily undercut your door jamb with a thin fine cut handsaw or a Japanese pull saw. Use a scrap piece of flooring as a thickness guide so that the new flooring easily slides underneath.
Will You Need Flooring Transitions?
Seams Between Two Floors of the Same Material
This is important to consider when purchasing your new hardwood materials. If you can purchase the same type of flooring (i.e., ceramic to ceramic), or flooring with the same thickness (i.e., ⅜” to ⅜”), you probably don’t need a transition at all. You should be able to connect them seamlessly but it can be quite tricky for a beginner. Often times a transition strip may still be added between rooms of similar flooring materials to allow for expansion and contraction.
Seams Between Floors of Different Materials
If you are installing a hardwood flooring that does not match the flooring type of another room- bathrooms for example, or floors with moisture-resistant flooring coverings- a transition strip is necessary.
There are many different types of flooring transition materials to consider. This will depend on your design choices- if you’d like to introduce a new design element to stand out- or for safety and visibility- for example, senior homes or people who need to see and anticipate the change in floor elevation.
Fastening Hardwood Flooring – Staples or Nails?
The most secure way to install hardwood flooring to your subfloor is with fasteners, rather than adhesives or even as floating floors. Different fasteners- manual flooring nailer, pneumatic flooring nailers, nail guns, staple guns- each have a different holding strength to consider for your flooring type. You’ll want to keep this in mind to avoid spitting your hardwood and costing you money.
Generally a manual flooring nailer, you have one option: cleat nails. If you prefer pneumatic flooring nailers, you have your choice of a tool compatible with either cleats or staples.
Are You Up for the DIY Hardwood Install Challenge?
Now that you’ve reviewed all the considerations and planning in order to do a DIY hardwood floor install, how do you feel about the project? Luckily for today’s DIY’ers, there are plenty of amazing YouTube videos to take you step-by-step throughout the entire project should you get stuck.
If you’re up for the job, check in next month (April 2019) as we walk you through the additional steps of your hardwood installation:
- Prepping a Plywood Subfloor for Hardwood Flooring Installation
- Getting Started Laying The Hardwood Flooring
Need to Talk to a Flooring Installation Expert?
Our team of dedicated installers has over 25 years of experience. Give us a call to talk about your hardwood flooring install.