Most of us think that because hardwood floors are a rather sensitive and expensive material, we should always seek the help of professionals to get them installed.
Thus, it is comforting to know that with the right tools and the right kind hardwood, it is pretty much a do it yourself endeavor. And because prefinished hardwood floor planks are already available in hardware stores and instructional manuals everywhere, then you really have nothing to worry about.
How do you install hardwood flooring? First, decide whether you want to use oak, maple or cherry, or rustic ash. Oak is the most expensive kind of hardwood material, but it is reputably the best and the sturdiest. If you’re working under a particular budget, maple or rustic ash are also okay and will last as long as oak with proper care and maintenance.
Next, prepare the following materials: the hardwood planks, a vapor barrier paper, a pry bar, a hammer, a speed drill and drill bits, a pneumatic flooring pack (which consists of a nail gun, staples, a mallet, a hose, and an air compressor), a staple gun, a tape measure, a chalk line, and, of course, your how-to manual.
It would be wise to study the manual before you go about hammering away so you don’t waste time. Some hardware stores already have prepackaged hardwood installation necessities so you can avoid the hassle of looking for each piece. Of course, you shouldn’t forget your safety goggles and gloves, as all the drilling and hammering could produce wood dust and can be harmful when inhaled.
Before buying hardwood floor planks, measure the surface where you are going to install them. Order planks that are around 10 to 15 inches bigger to allow room for errors. Expect that your initial attempt will be very challenging, but once you get that first plank in place, the rest should be a breeze.
Get rid of squeaks by tightly nailing the hardwood plank into the subfloor. When cutting, always provide extra space. When you’re dealing with hardwood floors, it’s best to go over and make the necessary adjustments than be left with a space that would look awkward to fill.
If you got a prefinished hardwood floor, then the job is done after you’ve installed the planks in place. But if you bought wood in its purest form, you should also pre-equip yourself with sanding and finishing tools and prepare for another challenging task ahead.