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Installing Solid and Engineered Wood Flooring

Prefinished hardwood flooring not only allows you to stylishly transform your home, it also provides a great investment for any property. This guide highlights the essential information required for your hardwood installation.

We always recommend utilising the services of a professional fitter prior to beginning the installation of solid or engineered wood flooring due to the complex nature of the product. The number of environmental factors which can affect the intergrity of the installation are high and can easily be overlooked by inexperienced DIY installers. The experience of a professional fitter will help to ensure many of the common problems which can arise during the installation of the product (or after) can be invaluable and will help you avoid many of costly pitfalls or difficulties of a DIY installation.


The following information is for guidance and information only and we cannot be held responsible for any problems which may arise as a result of utilising the information contained below. There are three methods that can be utilised to install hardwood flooring :

  • Glue Down – For solid tongue and groove flooring fitted over wood or concrete subfloor.

  • Nail/Staple – For engineered or solid tongue and groove flooring fitted over plywood.


TOOLS REQUIRED

General Tools:

● 4” or 6” Level
● Safety goggles
● Chalk Line
● Rubber Mallet
● Crow Bar
● Spacers
● Electric Saw
● Tape Measure
● Hammer
● Tapping Block
● Jigsaw
● Craft Knife

Glue Down Installation:

● Notched Trowel
● Flooring Adhesive
● Adhesive Remover
●Weighted Items

Nail / Staple Installation:

● Electric Drill
● Nail Punch
● Staple / Nail Gun
● Staples / Nails
● Pliers
● Wire Cutters

PREPARE YOUR SUBFLOOR

  • If required, remove all existing flooring and ensure that the subfloor is level and free from imperfections. Use a self leveling compound to level all low areas.
  • Perform all moisture tests according to manufacturers recommendations.
  • Allow your flooring to acclimatise in the installation area for a minimum of 5 days for engineered, 7 days for solid wood products, 48 hours is only acceptable for laminate flooring. The product must be stored in a flat position with no excess weight on top and inside the product packaging in which it was delivered. It is important to follow the advice of a professional fitter but The longer it is left to acclimatise the less likely you are to encounter issues later with heat expansion or contraction.

  • Ensure all doors and moldings are removed and vacuum subfloor.

  • Install flooring parallel to incoming light source. In narrow rooms, install parallel to the longest wall.

TIPS AND TRICKS

  • Always leave at least a ½” expansion perimeter. A greater gap may be necessary in humid climates.
  • Allow flooring to acclimatise in installation environment. Never store outside, in garages or in direct sunlight.

  • A moisture barrier should be installed between your flooring and your subfloor.

  • Joints should be staggered 2-3 times the width of the board for an even looking floor.

  • Inspect all boards thoroughly before you install them and cut away any damages.

  • Always cut into the pre-finished side of the flooring to avoid chipping the finish.

  • Use a tapping block to move the boards into position. The flooring will damage if hit directly.

  • All cutting should be done in another area to keep the installation area free from sawdust and woodchips.





GLUE DOWN INSTALLATION

Use this method for solid tongue and groove flooring fitted over a wood or concrete subfloor.

INSTALL THE FIRST ROW

Extra time should be taken when installing the first row of your flooring as it is vital that the first row is straight even if the walls are not.

  • Start at the longest wall and measure out your expansion gap (usually 1/2”) in several places and draw a chalk line.

  • Arrange your flooring with the groove towards the wall but do not glue yet. Spacers should be placed between the hardwood and the wall.

  • When happy with the fit, pile the boards in the order that they will be installed and put to one side.

  • Apply the adhesive to the subfloor according to manufactures instructions and re-install the first row of flooring using spacers between each board and the wall.

  • Squeeze the tongue and grooves together tightly and remove any excess adhesive.

  • Once you have reached the wall, measure, cut and fit the last board into place and add a spacer.

  • Allow the first row to completely set before continuing installation.

INSTALL THE MAIN PART OF THE FLOOR

  • Start the second row with a partial board (approx 8”-10” in length).
  • Apply adhesive to the subfloor and fit the hardwood together as you did with the first row and work your way across the rest of the floor.

  • Weigh down any areas where the flooring is not securely in contact with the subfloor using books, buckets or other heavy objects.

INSTALL THE LAST ROW

  • Once you have reached the end wall, measure out your expansion gap (usually 1/2”) in several places and draw a chalk line.
  • Arrange the last row with the tongue or cut towards the wall.

  • When happy with the fit, pile the boards in the order that they will be installed and put to one side.

  • Apply the adhesive to the subfloor according to the manufacturers instructions and re-install the last row of flooring using spacers between each board and the wall.

  • At the end wall, measure, cut and fit the last board into place and add a spacer.

YOUR FINISHED FLOOR

  • Ensure the flooring is firmly in contact with the subfloor using a 100lb – 150lb roller which can be rented from most equipment rental shops. Heavy objects can also be used to replicate rolling.
  • The adhesive should be left to set for between 8-24 hours. During this time do not walk or place anything on the flooring (e.g. furniture). Spacers can be removed once the flooring is completely dry.



NAIL/STAPLE INSTALLATION

Use this method for engineered or solid tongue and groove flooring fitted over plywood. Nails and staples should be chosen in accordance to manufacturers recommendations.

Each tongue should be fastened at proper intervals:

  • 3”-4” for staples
  • 4”-6” for nails
  • 1”-2” for each end joint.

INSTALL THE FIRST ROW

Extra time should be taken when installing the first row of your flooring as it is vital that the first row is straight even if the walls are not.

  • Start at the longest wall and measure out your expansion gap (usually 1/2”) in several places and draw a chalk line.

  • Arrange your flooring with the groove towards the wall but do not secure yet. Spacers should be placed between the hardwood and the wall.

  • When happy with the fit, nail/staple the first row to the plywood at proper intervals.

  • Once you have reached the wall, measure, cut and fit the last board into place and add a spacer.

INSTALL THE MAIN PART OF THE FLOOR

  • Start the second row with a partial board (approx 8”-10” in length).

  • Fit this board together with the first row and use an angled stapler to secure in place.

  • Continue with this process until you reach the last few rows.

INSTALL THE LAST ROW

  • For the last few rows, your stapler may no longer fit between your flooring and the wall. Continue fitting your floor but do not staple. A rubber mallet should be used to secure each board tightly without damaging the hardwood.

  • For the last row, measure out your expansion gap (usually ½”) in several places and draw a chalk line.

  • Lay out your last row of flooring with the tongue or cut towards the wall and again tap with a rubber mallet to fit boards together.

  • Top nail / staple the last row in place. Nail in more frequent intervals as this row is holding several in place.

FINISH YOUR FLOOR

  • With this method, your hardwood floor does not need any time to set. Once the floor is finished, all spacers can be removed and you can begin using your new floor.


PROFILES
AND NOSINGS

  • Twin Profile – For transitions between a floor and interior/exterior doorways and transitions between similar height flooring.
  • Ramp Profile – For transitions between two floors of different height, e.g. laminate to vinyl.
  • Nosing Profile – Used on steps and staircases to provide the proper overhang.
  • End Profile – Used for similar height floors and also used around brickwork (such as fireplaces).

OTHER USEFUL GUIDES 

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