One of the best ways to increase a home’s value is by updating the flooring. You can hardly go wrong with hardwood flooring despite the ever-changing trends. As long as you use the right tools, have adequate knowledge and patience, the installation of the floor wouldn’t be a much bothersome job.
When using solid hardwood flooring, leave the wood in open boxes for at least a few weeks before installing the hardwood flooring. The wood needs to acclimatize to your home’s temperature and humidity to prevent cupping or shrinking post installation.
Advice for installing Solid Hardwood in 7 Steps
- Removing the Baseboard
Before installing solid hardwood flooring, the baseboard needs to be removed. While people may recommend undercutting the base, it may make you lose height of the baseboard. You may want to replace or upgrade your baseboard when installing new hardwood flooring. To ensure you remove the base cleanly score the top edge of the base with a utility knife. To pull the baseboard away from the wall, use a small trim pry bar. If you plan to use the baseboard again, set it aside on the site or dispose if you plan to replace it post installation of the hardwood floor.
- Preparing the subfloor
It may take more time to prepare the subfloor that the actual installation of the hardwood flooring. When removing carpet, you can simply use pliers to pull up the carpet and then remove tack strips and underlayment.
When removing other types of flooring, the work may be more time consuming. Vinyl flooring is the most difficult to remove Hardwood flooring may be installed on top of particle boards, however most manufacturers wouldn’t recommend that as the staples and nails won’t hold on well. You may simply remove the vinyl layer with a scraper and heat gun the surface flat in case of vinyl over OSB or ply underlayment.
- Final Subfloor Preparation
It is important to check for remaining nails or uneven floor after removing the flooring before you begin installing the new flooring. You can use a steel dustpan or a scraper to run it across the floor at a sharp angle to figure out what needs to be fixed. You can sand the edges to ensure that the edges of the subfloor are flat. With this done, the installation will get much easier.
- Laying Moisture Barrier/ Paper
To keep things from sliding around, it is best that you use a paper underlay as a moisture barrier. You can check with the hardwood supplier as to what they’d recommend according to local climate.
- Racking the Floor
While trends change, the fundamentals remain the same. Here is what to follow when laying out the floor:
- Ensure that the joints do not come too close together. The joints at the same location need to be at least two rows apart instead of one row apart as seen in older homes.
- Start laying out or racking before you start stapling or nailing. When racking, use both the table saw or miter saw and ensure that you have a clean cutting area to avoid sawdust under every board post cutting.
- Installing and Layout the Hardwood
Use a pneumatic tool for nailing, as it is one of the most important steps of the installation. You can rent the equipment if you don’t have it already. Manual nailing is also a choice with professionals these days.
Solid hardwood has some natural expansion and thus you must leave space for that while nailing. The baseboard will cover the extra-allotted space. This is essential to avoid floor cupping at a later stage due to expansion.
- Baseboard Installation and Touch ups
Once the installation is done, half the work is still left. You need to re-install the baseboard and ensure that any nailing marks you may have made on the wall or the floor is cleaned. These touch ups add to the wow factor of your flooring.
This done, installing solid hardwood flooring will now be a breeze.