Installing Wood Flooring
Installing your own hardwood floors is a great way save money and to enjoy the satisfaction of doing it yourself. Hardwood floor installation is definitely a project that you can do and save thousands of dollars in the process. Before you order your finished or unfinished flooring, there is some planning and preparation required so that your hardwood flooring installation will be a successful one.
First thing you need to do is take measurements of all the rooms where you're considering installing hardwood floors. Remember that you'll be installing the hardwood strips, parquets or planks perpendicularly, or across the floor joists. Many older houses may not have parallel walls so expect to use some odd shaped pieces to make the floor flush with the wall at some points.
Most hardwood floor packages come in fixed lengths and the square footage covered will be stated on the box. You have to estimate how many of these packages you'll need, or in the case of loose hardwood strips, how many strips you'll need to cover your floors. Expect to pay anywhere from $2 to $20 per square foot.
Know beforehand which stains or floor finishes are best for the type of hardwood and which will look best.
Remember to bring your hardwood into the room you want to install it. That's needed because the hardwood must acclimated to the room's typical humidity. It can take up to 6 weeks for the wood to acclimatize. Even if you keep it in the room 3 weeks in advance, it will help to ensure the amount of expansion or contraction won't cause your floors to look haphazard.
Remove the old floor covering including molding. Measure the floor from wall to wall and take into account a inch space between the edge of the floor boards and the wall. This is to allow the flooring to expand with humidity changes. Check the subfloor and ensure it is sturdy enough to hold the new flooring. Check for squeaks and cracked boards by walking along the joists. Fasten loose boards with screws or ring shank nails.
Your subfloor must be level or the installation may not go smoothly and the floor may not look the way you expected. Check the level of the floor and if there are any board sections rising up, you may have to get a sander and sand them down. If there are dips, you may have to fill them with a wood leveling compound.
If there is a lack of parallel in the walls, you may have to cut a tapered piece to allow a good fit to the wall and the adjacent floorboards you're installing. There are spacers available to help you keep the required " distance to the wall. When you have your starter board in place, it should be nailed into the floor joist, not just the subfloor.
Hardwood flooring kits should come with odd sized pieces which allow you to stagger the position of boards lengthwise so that two boards don't get positioned directly beside each other. Hammer each board's groove into the adjacent tongue. Nail both boards into the same joist. Now you can continue positioning the boards and tapping them into place as you go across the floor. If there obstructions such as a doorway, fireplace, and air heat register, or from gaps from a pipe running through the floor, you'll have to measure and cut the boards to allow for the opening.
After you're finished, vacuum your new floor and clean up. Always follow the directions of hardwood floor manufacturers when cleaning your new floor. The finish might be harmed by solutions that are commonly thought to be okay. Some types of cleaners could make the floor slippery and hazardous. See the hardwood floor care page for more tips.