You have finally picked out the perfect hardwood flooring! Now it is time to get ready for the hardwood installation. The hardwood installation process may seem overwhelming. Rather than waiting until the day of installation, it is a good idea to get familiar with the process beforehand to know what to expect.
Before the hardwood installation process begins, a representative from the flooring company will come to your home. First, they will inspect the floor and possibly take measurements of the existing floor. This helps them better prepare for the day of installation. If there are questions regarding the install, now is a great time ask. Some good questions to ask are:
- What is the timeline for this project?
- What furniture needs to be moved before the installation begins?
- Is it ok to enter the room during the installation process?
- Is it ok to enter the room before the installation is completed?
Next, the representative will likely give instructions as to what needs to be moved from the room the hardwood is being installed in. This may include appliances such a refrigerator, an oven, a couch, etc. If moving these items will be difficult, it is a good idea to hire a third party company to move them.
Finally, the last step of pre-installation is to acclimate the hardwood to the home or building it will be installed in. This is a critical step! The hardwood needs to adapt to the moisture and temperature of the area it will be properly installed (you don’t want the hardwood to shrink or grow after it has been installed). Find an unused room and leave the flooring in there for a couple days for acclimation.
After the hardwood flooring has acclimated to the room it is time to install it! If there is already flooring where the hardwood will go, it may have to be ripped out and discarded. It is a good idea to have a large dumpster available during installation to keep trash and debris in one space. Check out this site for more information about dumpster sizes! Once the old flooring is gone, it is time to get to work on the installing process.
Because the installation process is typically very noisy and messy, homeowners usually leave their house. Depending on the amount of hardwood that needs to be installed, some people plan to leave their house for a couple days. If noise and some dust do not bother you, you will have the opportunity to see how to install hardwood floors! Every flooring company has their own way of installation but in general, these are the steps:
- Prep and clean
- It is crucial that the sub floor the hardwood will be on is clean and free of any debris including nails or tack strips if there was previously carpet. Next, follow up with a good sweep and vacuum!
- Lay the moisture barrier
- After the floor is clean, underlayment will be put on top of the over the sub flooring. This will protect the subfloor underneath from water damage. In addition, it will make a smooth surface to lay the hardwood on.
- Hardwood Installation
- Finally, it time to install the hardwood flooring!
- Most people choose to start at the furthest wall from the door and work backwards. However, this is a personal preference. Most hardwood floors installers will leave about a 3/8″ gap between the hardwood floor and wall trim to accommodate wood expansion.
- Next it the tricky part. The most common way to install hardwood is by nailing the pieces down. Drill small holes (the size of the nail that will hold down the floor) into the hardwood pieces. After that, line up the first piece of hardwood against the line that is 3/8″ away from the wall trim and hammer the nails in directly to the subfloor.
- Note: There must be a 3/8″ gap between all of the wall trims in the room the hardwood is being installed
- Once the edge pieces have been installed, place the next piece against the original pieces and hammer a nail into the tongue (side of the hardwood piece) at a diagonal.
- After a couple rows of manual hammering, a Pneumatic nail gun will be used for the much of the installation process. This makes it much faster.
- Finally, as the hardwood gets closer to the opposite edge of the room it will be impossible to use the nail gun. Therefore, nails will have to be manually hammered into the hardwood. When laying the last row, rather than hammering the nails at an angle, nail them straight down into the subfloor.
- Quarter Round
- The final step of the hardwood installation process is to add the quarter round. This will cover the gab between the hardwood and the wall trim.
- Use a brad nail gun to nail the quarter round to the wall trim, not the hardwood. This will give the room a completed look!
After Hardwood Installation
After the hardwood has been installed the installation crew will clean up any messes left behind. They may recommend you add rubber pads on the bottom of furniture that will be on top the hardwood floor. This will prevent any scratching on the new floors. Finally, it is time to step back and admire the beautiful addition to your home or building!
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