Hardwood flooring offers several options for installation methods.
Depending on your subfloor, wood or concrete, and your product selection, hardwood flooring may be glued down, nailed/stapled down or “floated” over the substrate. Your sales associate can help you determine the right product for your application.
Hardwood flooring is available in solid and engineered. The basic installation methods vary and are outlined below. Critical to the success of your new floor, regardless of the installation method, is proper acclimation, floor prep and moisture compliance.
It is important to determine what furniture and/or appliances can and will be moved by the installer. Typically, there are select items, such as antiques, pianos and aquariums, for which moving services may not be available. Most flooring installers are not licensed to disconnect or reconnect water or gas. It is recommended that a licensed professional be retained to take care of plumbing, electrical and electronic needs. If you are doing the furniture and appliance removal yourself, be sure to have the work areas cleared before the installer arrives. Please consult your sales associate for more specific information.
It is important to follow manufacturer specifications for acclimation of the product to the area in which it will be placed. This helps to minimize the natural expansion and contraction that may occur once the product has been installed. The nature of wood is to expand and contract along with the climate, so regulation of temperature and moisture is key to overall satisfaction along with proper expansion gap placement.
Excessive moisture in the subfloor will also compromise your installation. The subfloor must also comply structurally. There may also be restrictions to the level of grade on which the selected wood may be installed. Consult your sales associate or manufacturer information for more details.
Periodically, you may discover concealed damaged once your old floor covering has been removed. It is at this time that a qualified installer will be able to determine any repairs necessary to bring the floor into compliance with manufacturer specifications and allow it to properly accept the new flooring.
Solid Wood: Solid wood is nailed. Nail type, size and spacing depend on the thickness of the planks. Remove existing base, shoe molds and thresholds. Undercut doors and casings. Countersink and fill all face nail holes.
Engineered Wood: Engineered products are typically nailed/stapled, glued and select engineered products may be floated. Remove existing base, shoe molds and thresholds. Undercut doors and casings.
When nailing/stapling, the proper size nail or staple must be used to ensure performance and minimize risk of damage. Proper spacing of the nails/staples must also be observed.
Glue down methods include wet or dry lay and require proper trowel size and open time to be effective.
Floating flooring is usually installed using a tongue-and-groove-type system and is not attached directly to the subfloor. Some may require adhesive to be placed within the tongue-and-groove of some or all of the flooring. Note that floating is the only acceptable application over a radiant heat floor.
Plank placement is also important to the performance of the finished floor. Staggering the board lengths and ends of the planks in each row helps increase the stability of the floor. It is recommended that wood from assorted cartons be combined to ensure a more natural look and shading mix throughout the installation.
Once the installation is complete, be sure to comply with restrictions and limitations on foot traffic so your floor has time to settle and acclimate properly. Be sure to use protectors when replacing or moving furniture over your new wood floor.
A good installation and proper maintenance will ensure a beautiful floor for years of enjoyment.