Installing Hardwood Floors
If you are thinking about or renovating a dwelling of some kind, the decision to have a hardwood floor installed should be first on your list. Why choose hardwood floors? It adds not just a touch of elegance, but also a new level of sophistication. Smaller houses appear larger, and all homes with hardwood flooring don’t just appear more expensive; the hardwood floors can also increase the value of your home. Furthermore, hardwood floor installation is increasingly becoming much easier to put in these days. Even if you are fairly new to carpentry, you can create a masterpiece floor in no time.
There are certain hardwood floor installation steps you should follow. These basic steps start with hardwood floor selection and continue into the installation process. Here are the basics you’ll want to consider when it comes to installing hardwood floors.
Choosing the Proper Hardwood
The first thing to do is pick the right hardwood for your home. Selecting the proper hardwood is very important as it needs to match your color scheme, the area of the floor, and its actual shape. You can choose your hardwood based on a number of factors. These attributes include the type of wood used, its actual form, and how it will be laid on the floor. Usually, it is a combination of these different attributes that will help you in your final decision.
There are several types of wood that you can choose from. Naturally, the ones most considered are those with considerable strength and the ability to withstand pressure and occasional exposure to certain liquids. The most common ones are maple, oak, and walnut. Maple wood is very tough and can easily be subjected to wear and tear with no issues. At the same time, it can be polished conveniently. Oakwood especially the red variety is also very popular because of its prominent tan. Walnut is another popular choice due to its classic brown color.
Treatments and Finishing
Other exotic types such as teak and pine can be a good choice. Naturally, since the color of the walls is also a factor, how the woods are treated becomes important as well.
For example, there are certain types that are stained to increase their lightness or darkness to match a color scheme. Other treatments include antiquing or whitewashing. In the same manner, how the topcoat looks should also be part of your decision. Some types of finishing include varnishing or applying urethanes. Finishing on hardwood allows it to interact with natural or artificial lighting. A small portion of people does leave the wood untreated or finished, especially if the hardwood is used as flooring on a front porch.
Aside from the wood type and treatment, the form of the wood is also very important. One can simply choose cuts of solid wood. Another option is engineered wood, which is made from layers of thin wood. Hardwood can also be acrylic impregnated, which means a form of acrylic is combined with solid wood. The last two forms were devised to increase the stability of the wood. This is something to think about when the area where they should be installed would have high foot traffic all throughout the day or most times.
Revealing the Sub-Floor
Once you have decided on the hardwood floor installation you’ll be using, it is time to begin the installation. At this point, it is expected that you clear all the carpeting and furniture in the room.
Next, you should remove the existing floor, regardless if it is tile or laminate. Removing them is essential because these current floors can affect how the new hardwood attaches to the surface.
It becomes trickier if you already have some form of wood flooring. Removing wood will actually require tools compared to simply installing. Therefore, you need to have the right equipment to avoid losing precious time that could have been used for the actual installation. Most importantly, better scan the exposed layer for any debris such as loose tacks or nails.
It Pays to Recycle and to Be Prepared
Since you are already using natural materials, try to find a way to recycle the ones that you have taken out. If you are unable to do that, at least dispose of them properly. There are existing companies that will gladly receive your flooring for other uses too.
It’s also essential that you have to be prepared since sometimes the sub-floor may require its own treatment, although, for the most part, you simply need to have it cleaned thoroughly. You may also have to apply a cement mixture to the cracks to fill in the gaps.
Hardwoods require either glues or nails when being laid out. If you are using the former, ensure that you already have enough adhesive material to cover the entire area. Another thing you would need is a flat tool to help you apply the adhesive on the sub-floor and maybe even on the bottom of the hardwood. If the hardwood needs nails, make sure that you have the correct type of nails and hammer to do the job. For additional safety, there are already nail guides that keep your fingers from getting hit. You may also need a rubber mallet to keep the wood boards in place.
Have a Guide for the Hardwood Floor Installation
It will also be easier for you to install hardwood floors if you can make some form of a visible line to guide you in laying the hardwood out. One way is to use a string with chalk powder. Tape the string at the far end and pull it on the other side until it forms a straight line. Slightly pluck it as you would a guitar string, and a white line will appear on your sub-floor.
Also, it’s best to lay down the finest boards first, but if all of them are particularly strong and solid, you can start with the straightest and longest. This is to ensure that the first line of wood will dictate the succeeding lines. It will also ensure that the floor will get a parallel effect.
Never apply the adhesive on the floor all at once, or you will face a certain disaster. If you have chosen a properly made hardwood, placing the next slab will be easier as it will simply slide right through. Make sure that you are firmly decided on the wood slats you will be laying before gluing or nailing it. You can simply place it on the floor and check it is the right fit. Though it will definitely make the process a little longer, it will ensure that the outcome is all that you have hoped for.
Hardwood Flooring Installation For Lasting Beauty
Hardwood flooring is a beautiful option to enhance your home’s flooring. Many homes that are over 100 years old still have the original hardwood flooring intact. Even mistreated hardwood floors can be refinished to show the beauty of the original wood.
Basic Hardwood Flooring Installation Process
Along the walls perpendicular to the floor joists, mark the joist so that the marks can be seen above the new flooring.
You will need a sturdy subfloor on which to install the hardwood floor. Cover this subfloor with asphalt felt. Most installers choose 15-pound felt and overlap all seems by three inches. The felt is stapled into place using an automatic staple gun.
Find the center of the room width-wise and use a chalk line to snap a centerline parallel with the wall from which you intend to start. You will also need to snap lines between the joist marks.
Another line should be snapped about 1/2 inch from the beginning wall but parallel with the centerline. The gap gives room for expansion and will not show as it will be concealed by the baseboard molding.
For the first row, you will need to find the longest boards or the widest planks. Close to the wall where nail heads will not show since they will be covered, drill a pilot hole for each finishing nail. These holes should be at 90 degrees to the face of the floorboards. Nail into place at each floor joist. Set the nails below the surface of the board face using a punch or nail set.
Once the first row is nailed near the wall the remaining nails will be set in a blind position so they are not seen. It is necessary to do it by hand for the first three rows. You need to drill a pilot hole through the exposed tongue at a 45-degree angle. These holes should correspond to the chalk line snapped to mark the floor joists and at ten-inch intervals. One and one-half-inch finishing nails are used. These nails also need to be set.
Before Nailing the Nest Rows
Before nailing the second row or any other row after that, use a small piece of flooring that fits the exposed tongue to fit the boards together using a mallet. Boards should extend more than six inches beyond the end of any adjacent row and not over any joints in the sub-flooring. Wide plank flooring may have special instructions for nailing due to expansion.
If you are flooring a large area, a hardwood flooring installation nailer makes the work go quicker. It slips over the tongue of the board being installed and a mallet is used to hit the plunger. A nailer can be used for nails or staples that are up to 2 inches.
For the last row, a block with a pry bar will work to wedge the boards together tightly. Once again you will need to drill holes perpendicular to the face of the board for nailing. Remember that these nails will be covered with baseboard. Once completed you’ll have a quality hardwood flooring installation you can appreciate for years to come.