November 2, 2022

A Complete Guide to Installing Hardwood Floors: What To Do Before Installation

Home improvement projects are one of the best ways to keep your house in peak condition, be trendier, and increase its value over time. While it provides several benefits to homeowners, renovations are never easy and affordable projects to finish. Most of the time, the tasks require professional services, which can add to more costs. To reduce the expenses to ensure your project’s completion, doing these tasks yourself is inevitable. Hardwood flooring installation is no exception. Get started with your home flooring improvement with these two-part how-to story guides to installing hardwood floors.

Before Installation: Prepping Your Floors

Hardwood floors are easy to maintain and last longer than most flooring options, but installing them is not an easy and quick process. These sturdy wooden planks require more preparation and attention from home remodelers. DIY hardwood installers have to be precise about how they lay out each plank to ensure that they won't move or crack.

To do that, prepare your subfloors, understand what installation method fits your hardwood floorings, and acclimate your planks. Here is how you can do them.

Preparing Subfloors

Before starting any floor installations, you must prepare the space and the subfloors beforehand. When installing hardwood over existing floors, always ensure that all doors can still open while you’re doing the project and move all appliances and furniture out of the room.

Thoroughly clean and dry your subfloors and check that the space is flat and even. Homeowners can install most hardwood flooring over ceramic tile or marble. However, it’s better to ask your trusted hardwood flooring professional, and their opinion on the best underlayment and adhesives to use.

Avoid sanding any surfaces containing asbestos or spaces with lead-based finishing coats. Professional installers recommend removing the old finishes and making repairs or replacements after. Start measuring your room and add five percent to the finished square footage. Doing this will help you get a cutting allowance. Remove all millwork and trims on your floorings and mark the floors with chalk to get the balance and positions correctly. 

Hardwood Flooring Installation Methods: Which Should You Use?

Determining how to install your chosen hardwood floor is essential to prevent additional mistakes once you start laying them out. Contrary to what most remodelers think, installing hardwood floorings will depend on the plank’s width, thickness, and construction. Moreover, installation methods will also differ on the rooms where you will be installing them.

Nailing or stapling the boards to the wood subfloor is the classic method of installing solid hardwood floors. Unlike them, homeowners can use fasteners, glue, or floating floors for engineered hardwood. Installers also need to consider the grade of the solid hardwood.

Nailing and stapling are challenging methods, but most experts recommend them to homeowners. Although glue installations are often easier for other renovations, gluing hardwood is more challenging, even for seasoned DIY home remodelers.

Upon purchasing your hardwood, consult a professional on which installation method is best. Keep in mind that hardwood floorings are costly projects. Any mistake can cause early damage and even destroy the entire look of your floors. 

Acclimate Your Floors

One of the biggest mistakes of newbie remodelers when installing hardwood floors is nailing them upon arrival to the site. Unlike your other flooring options, solid hardwood flooring requires time to acclimate to the climate of the space or room.

When acclimating your hardwood, move the boards into an area with room temperature and humidity. Remember to do this for three to five days before installing them. While acclimating, you can lay your hardwood planks on the floor and mix them to get varied shades and lengths. Doing this will also help you inspect and separate the warped and damaged hardwood.

Hardwood acclimation helps in the adjustment of the hardwood's moisture content to the conditions of your home. It also minimizes the movement of the hardwood flooring after nailing or gluing them. While this process is essential for solid hardwood, engineered hardwood doesn’t need to acclimate, and homeowners can install them immediately. But it’s preferable to store them in the same way before installation.

Check the room you will use for storage and keep the humidity level from 35 to 55 percent or at the level the manufacturer recommends. After acclimating them, choose the straightest wood planks from the pile for the first two rows of your hardwood flooring. 

Preparation is Key

Every home remodeling project is a tedious undertaking for homeowners. While the experience is already stressful with the help of professional remodelers, doing it yourself is on another level. Completing a home improvement project alone requires knowledge, sufficient skills, and a ton of preparation. Although the amount of prepping your floors for installation is too much work, the benefits of having hardwood flooring will make up for it.

Start your preparations for your flooring project with Kelly Hardwood Floors today!