DIY Network

How to Install Wood Flooring

Home inspector and Finders Fixers host Tim Hockenberry shows how to remove and install wood flooring with these step-by-step instructions.

More in Plumbing

installing wood flooring

Step 1: Remove Existing Floorboards

Remove all of the existing floorboards. Be sure to use gloves for safety. Shoe molds hold the floorboards in place wherever it meets the wall. Use a pry bar and hammer to pop it off and work your way down.

remove all of existing floorboards

Step 2: Remove Padding and Baseboards

Once all of the floorboards and molding have been pulled out, remove the old padding and baseboards. Sweep the area clean making sure to clear away any debris that was left behind.

remove old padding and baseboards

Step 3: Measure, Cut and Apply Rosin Paper

Measure and cut the rosin paper to size. Lay down the rosin paper over the existing vinyl floor. Start at the far wall and staple into place.

Finders Fixers Tip: Rosin paper is perfect in a floor above finished living space. If the floor is above an unfinished area like a crawl space, use 15-pound tar paper for moisture control under the hardwood floor.

measure and cut rosin paper to size

Step 4: Apply a Chalk Line, and Set Flooring

If using 3" flooring, measure 3-1/2" away from the wall; mark, and lay down a chalk line (image 1). Now you can start the floor off straight.

Bring the first piece in and set the tongue right to that line (image 2). Face nail the first board to ensure a solid starting point.

Once the back board is in place, place several blind nails (in the groove) in the board every 4 to 6".

Step 5: Cut a Notch for a Floor Vent

If there's a floor vent, cut through the rosin paper. Lay down the next plank in place and mark the width and depth of where the vent lands. Transfer the measured distance from the back of the vent onto the plank. Use a table saw to cut out the marked notch. Repeat the process for the plank on the other side of the vent.

Continue laying down the rosin paper and new flooring putting a nail or staple in the boards every 4 to 6".

Finders Fixers Tip: Wood is a natural product and can have varying grains and colors in each box. It's a good idea to always have two boxes going so you can pull from the two. Another key is to alternate or stagger the lengths of the boards. Racking prevents weak spots.

cut floor vent through rosin paper

Step 6: Fill the Holes

Use wood putty that matches the color of the new flooring to fill in the holes wherever a board was face nailed into place. Warm up the putty in your hands to make it pliable. Roll it into a ball and press down filling the hole completely. Once set, go back over and wipe the surface.

use wood putty that matches color to fill holes

Step 7: Add Baseboard Molding and a Threshold

Once all the flooring has been laid down, install new baseboard molding (image 1). Begin by first measuring the base mold and cutting to size. Set it in place and secure with nails. Use 2" finish nails starting at the corner and drive two rows of nails into the studs.

Finally, add a threshold (image 2), nailing it into the floor at each corner completing the new flooring.

Was this project helpful?

Don't forget: Read comments and leave your own

Advertisement

COMMENT ON THIS PROJECT

    

Sign in

All fields are required.

E-mail Address:

Password:

Remember me on this computer

Signing in

Please enter your email address and we will send your password

E-mail Address

Your password has been sent and should arrive in your mailbox very soon.

Not a member?

Sign up with DIY Network to share tips with other do-it-yourselfers and comment and ask questions on projects.

It's free and easy.