DIY Network

Installing Hardwood Floors

With a few careful preparations, elbow grease and a weekend, you can have beautiful new floors.

More in Kitchen

  • Time

    Weekend

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Installation Tips:

- Running the hardwood boards perpendicular to floor joists will prevents sagging.

- Leave a 3/8-inch gap between the walls and the flooring to allow the wood to expand and contract. You'll cover this gap later with baseboard and shoe molding.

- Leave the hardwood flooring material in your house for 10 to 14 days to acclimate to your room’s environment. This will limit the amount of natural expanding and contracting your flooring will undergo in its lifetime.

Safety Alerts:

- If you suspect your old flooring may contain asbestos, don’t remove or disturb the flooring until it is tested. Consider installing your new floors on top of the old flooring.

Apply the Felt Paper Over the Subfloor

First, be sure there are no marks or dents in the sub-floor. Roll the felt paper over the sub-floors, making sure they slightly overlap the edges (Image 1). Felt paper acts as vapor barrier and reduces floor noise.

Cut the felt paper around vents and trim the edges along the wall (Image 2).

Determine the Layout

Starting in the corner, use a finish nailer to secure the first board to the floor (Image 1). Use a finish nailer on the first few boards closest to the wall as this space will be too tight for a floor stapler.

Loosely lay out a few boards next to each other, measuring as you go where the next board needs to be cut and staggering the board seams about 6 to 8 inches apart and using different size pieces (Image 2). This gives the flooring added strength and beauty.

Secure the Boards

Cut the marked boards with a miter saw (Image 1).

Place the new board on floor next to secured board and uses a rubber mallet (Image 2) to lock in the tongue-and groove construction (Image 3).

Use a flooring stapler every 6-inches or so to secure boards (Image 4) to the sub-floor and continue this way until the floor is complete.

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