How to install hardwood flooring.

It is very common for hardwood flooring to be installed over an existing subfloor the subfloor needs to be three quarter of an inch plywood.However installing hardwood floors in today’s day and age includes nailing methods that have changed very much over the last few years.

In the old days we used to use nailers by hand with the big old mallet they required exact aim and quite a bit of strength but today we don’t rely on those nailers anymore instead we rely on pneumatic nailers.

In the old days the nails were very similar to a cut nail use for concrete today we use staplers for the most part. The question is asked all the time is it better to use nails or is it better to use staples.
For me is very easy staples come with long legs. As they entered the hardwood the legs braid themselves creating a very intricate lock. It is very hard to remove boards that were stapled together. Installers always have their own preference of which tool is best to use on the hardwood floors. We will leave that choice up to them but remember pneumatic staplers are much better to use.

The next thing that one has to make sure is that we have a good subfloor. The proper subfloor is three quarter of an inch plywood, particle board will not do or any other subfloor that is thinner than three quarter of an inch will not allow the nails or staples to seat properly.

If the nails do not grab a hold of the subfloor in a proper way the floor will be spongy underfoot will make noise, it will creak and the nails eventually will loosen over time.

How to acclimate hardwood flooring

Before we start with our installation we have to ask ourselves do we need to acclimate the hardwood the answer can be multifold. If we’re in the winter and especially in the Northeast where we have a lot of heating in the houses, yes we have to acclimate the hardwood that we want to install to the moisture that’s existing in the room.

And what about the summer do we need to acclimate hardwood flooring during the summer months. During the summer months we also need to acclimate hardwood because the moisture level in the house and the relative moisture is much higher than that of the wood. If we installed the wood without any acclamation the wood will pick up all the excess moisture after installation causing it to buckle and squeeze. To avoid this from happening we use tarpaper as an underlayment that will slow down the hardwood from taking up too much moisture too fast.

If we install hardwood flooring over new construction we have to be particularly careful at the moisture content in the relative moisture in the new environment. New construction and new houses are full of moisture, why? New plywood has moisture new drywall new plaster new paint, all of these elements put out all the excess in as soon as they are installed. So, what do we do? We run the heaters in the house allowing for all the excess moisture to be evaporated as soon as possible. If you are installing hardwood in the winter you have to make sure the heat is on in the house. Sometimes builders they ask you to install the hardwood flooring in the house without any heat due to the pressure of selling it to the customer and people wanting to move in a timely manner. We always refuse to do such installations without heat because when the actual heating of the house comes online later on it will cause the wood to buckle shrink move and overall cause a problem with the installation.

INSTALLATION above grade or below grade.

Solid hardwood floor should be installed above grade for installations below grade you must choose what is called engineered hardwood flooring.

Thank you for following this post about installation of hardwood flooring. In our next post we will cover how to install hardwood flooring below grade.