DIY Network

How to Install Fabricated Hardwood Floor

An old floor can really hurt the value of a home. Bad flooring is unsightly and can be easily replaced. Learn how to install new wood flooring with these step-by-step directions.

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  • Time


  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Cover the Floor With Plywood

Cover the floor with 1/2" plywood. Stagger the joints to ensure the least amount of flex in the subfloor.

Step 2: Screw the Floor Down

Some people use staples, but using screws will help with squeaky floors. As a rule, the screws need to be secured every 3" on seam and 6" apart in the field. You start in the corner and work your way out. Ryan and the homeowner used a standing deck gun (basically a screw gun) that you slide a strip of screws in place, allowing you to stand up and rapid fire the screws in place.

Tip: You can use another drill to reverse mistakes.

Step 3: Fill in the Gaps

Fill in all the gaps and seams that are 1/4" or larger with skim coat mortar.
Note: Filling the gaps helps eliminate flex in the floor.

fill in all gaps and seams with skim coat mortar

Step 4: Sand Out the Rough Spots

Once the patching compound is dry, use a belt sander to smooth out the edges.

use belt sander to smooth out edges

Step 5: Measure the Floor

Use a laser level to determine a reference line as a starting point. Take two measurements, one from each end of the room, to make sure the line is an equal distance from the wall.

Line up the tongue of the first board with the reference line. The most important thing here is to be accurate.

Step 6: Secure the Board

Secure the board with a special stapler (air stapler attached to an air compressor) for hardwood floors set at about 80 pounds, using 1" long 3/16" crown staples every 6 to 8 inches. Make sure your staple gun is adjusted so that your stapler doesn't interfere with the next course of flooring.

Note: Stapler rental costs approximately $40 a day.

It is important to stagger the boards with ends no closer than 6" apart. Use factory supplied tapping block to tighten boards.

secure boards with a special air stapler

Step 7: Apply Loose Tongue

To finish up the flooring, on the side without a tongue you use spline material called loose tongue. Slip it into the groove and once it is in place you can reverse the boards and then you have a tongue to nail to.