How to Install Hardwood Floors

How to Install Hardwood Floors

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Flooring is a home renovation project that many home owners can take on themselves, however the installation does need to be done correctly in order for the floors to be enjoyed for years to come. It is important to take the time and do a quality installation than to have to replace boards, or the whole floor, in only a couple short years.

Choose your Flooring

The first thing you’ll need to do is choose the floor you want for your home. There’s a lot of variety out there: real wood floor, vinyl, laminate, bamboo, etc. Determine the lifestyle you have and what’s best suited to you. This is an area you will want to do some research in before you make a purchase.


Make sure you measure the area, or areas, you plan to install the flooring in. If you aren’t sure how to measure properly most stores or professionals will come out and do the measurement for you. Most manufacturers suggest you add about 10 – 15% to your measurement to allow for waste and making cuts.

Check your Sub-Floor and Install a Vapor Barrier

You will want to make sure your sub-floor is at least ¾” plywood. You can also fix squeaky floors by screwing a long drywall screw into the area where it’s noisy in the sub-floor before installing the new flooring. Then install your vapor barrier, in strips with a 4” overlap. Then attach it to the sub-floor. This is usually done by stapling it.

Start Installing

It is recommended to start along the longest, unobstructed wall in the room.  Remove the baseboards then snap a chalk line about 3/8” away from the wall. This space will allow for the floor to contract and expand during changes in temperature.

Place the Boards

Pick a long straight board and align it with the chalk line you just drew. Start drilling holes and screwing appropriate screws into the plank. Continue to lay planks and screw them into the subfloor. You will want to vary, or stagger, the plank lengths as if the boards all align the floor will look unnatural. You might have the option to install a floating floor, where it is not nailed into the sub-floor. All floors will have a tongue and groove side to them, so make sure you align a tongue with a groove as you don’t want to end up with a large gap between boards and the wall.

Overall, installing hardwood floors has become an easy task that homeowners can complete themselves over a weekend, or within a few days. Retailers also have information sessions quite frequently so you can pick up tips and tricks when purchasing your flooring.


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