Installing new hardwood flooring in your house can be a bit of an intimidating job. But let me reassure you that with the proper tools and the right kind hardwood, it is easily a do it yourself endeavor. Especially with pre-finished hardwood flooring, which is the majority of hardwood flooring that is sold today. Therefore you really have nothing to stress over.
First of all you have to choose the kind of wood you want to use and the color of stain you want for your floors. There are also different widths of boards and grades of the lumber you can choose from, which all affects the cost.
Oak and maple are the 2 most common types of wooden flooring. You can’t fail with either one. Oak is reputably the finest and the sturdiest. If you are working under a particular budget, maple or country ash are also OK and can last as long as oak with proper care and maintenance. For something a little atypical you can try cherry hardwood flooring. The gloss deepens over time and use into a deep patina; in the proper house this result would be breathtaking. Other sought after types for lighter toned floors are pine or bamboo wooden flooring. Bamboo is very sturdy and has a compressed grain which appears very symmetrical and even.
Now the width of the boards can either make a more formal or casual area. The wider the plank, the more informal the feeling and the more tightly the boards are separated the more elegant the area will look. Sloped edges also add to the impression of elegance in an elegant area.
When you pick up your flooring, take it directly into your home and let it sit and acclimatize. This is crucial; permitting the wood to adapt to your house’s moisture levels means a longer lasting installation. It is best to be left for a couple of days but at least overnight.
While you’re waiting, put some floor felt or asphalt felt as a kind of water guard on your floor. This also allows the flooring boards to slide together more easily. Now you’re ready to start the installation.
1. Make sure to allow a ½ inch between your boards and the wall, this is for expansion purposes which happen in high humidity time of the year. Don’t worry it will be buried by your baseboard.
2. Caulk a straight line along the starting wall to help you get your flooring running straight.
3. Set out a few boards prior to nailing as this helps the blend any color differences in the wood and helps offset the seams properly. Start with the longest boards; you’ll be able to build out from these, keeping the end joints in abutting rows at least six inches from one another.
4. Nail the first row straight down through the boards. It’s the only way. Before nailing any adjacent rows, rap the row with a rubber mallet to make sure it is good and tight with the adjacent row or you will leave gaps in your wood plank floor.
5. If you’re using a flooring mallet (and you should be) be careful. The mallet will unquestionably help you put in your floor quicker but if you’re not careful you can easily miss and damage the board your working on. If you do that you have to poke the nails out and junk the board.
6. Keep an eye on what you wear on your feet. You can mark up your new wooden floor before you even have it finished.
7. On the last couple of rows you need to use a pry bar to wedge the rows tightly together and once again you will have to nail these rows straight down through the boards. Once nailed, you’re finished except for filling the surface nail holes!
Now you have a brand new hardwood floor to love and to add to the value of your home.