Installation for Hardwood Flooring

Safety Gear

  • Safety Goggles
  • Ear Protection
  • Heavy Gloves

Materials Needed

  • Hardwood
  • Modular Porch System Kit
  • Wood Putty (make sure it matches your hardwood flooring)
  • Vapor Barrier Paper
  • Pneumatic Flooring Package (can be rented at local hardware store)

Tools Needed

  • Nail Set
  • Staple Gun
  • Chalk Line
  • Tape Measure
  • Chop Saw
  • Table Saw
  • Electric Drill
  • Drill Bits
  • Hammer

Step 1: Choosing Your Hardwood Floor
Pick the hardwood species and board widths that look best and fit your home’s style.

TIP: Wider boards can make a large space seem smaller and more inviting.

Step 2: Measure Your Room
Width x Length = Square FootageGet the square footage of your room by multiplying the width by the length. When you order your hardwood flooring, be sure to order 15% more square footage to account for any cutting mistakes.

Step 3: Check For Floor Squeaks
By now you should have removed any old flooring and your sub-floor is now exposed (sub-floor must be at least ¾” of plywood). Walk around on your sub-floor and find any squeaks. If you find one, screw a long drywall screw into the sub-floor where you found the squeak and joist it.

TIP: If there are squeaks in the sub-floor there will be squeaks in your hardwood flooring, so this is the best time to take care of it.

Step 4: Prepare The Area
Remove all shoe molding, sweep all debris and thoroughly clean.

Step 5: Install The Vapor Barrier Paper
Roll out your vapor barrier paper making sure to overlap by 4”. Staple the paper securely to your sub-floor. For this part, you can use a 15-pound felt or tar paper. This is a cheaper option at only $12 a roll at most hardware stores. Use a pencil to mark the location of the joists along the baseboards.

Step 6: Find Your Starting Point
You want to start your installation along your longest unobstructed wall. If you haven’t removed the shoe molding, do so now. Use your chalk line to snap a line 3/8” out from your baseboard. This will allow the wood to expand and shrink during weather changes and prevent warping.

Step 7: Place And Organize Boards
To begin the first row, choose a long, straight board. Find your chalk line and align the edge of your board to it. Next, drill pilot holes through the plank and into the sub-floor and joist. Locate the point of every joist and face-nail each board at that point. Use a nail-set to set every nail so that it can later be covered with wood putty.

TIP: The pneumatic nail gun is too big to use for the first row so use the face-nail technique for the entire first row. Remember to keep the board lengths random!

Step 8: Hand Nailing The Rolls
Once you have installed the first few rows you are closer to the point where you can use the pneumatic nail gun. First you must drill pilot holes through the tongue and hand-nail each board until you have sufficient clearance for the pneumatic nail gun.

TIP: Lay out your boards so you can make sure they have varying lengths and you will not line up seams. This will ensure the best look with your hardwood flooring installation.

Step 9: Stapling Your Boards
Take your pneumatic nail gun and place the lip over the edge of the board aiming it directly into the tongue of your hardwood board. Use your mallet to strike the gun firmly, driving the staple into the board.

TIP: When you have to install your boards near a threshold (Closet opening or doorways) don’t worry about lining the boards up exactly. After the floor is installed grab a circular saw and cut across the boards in a straight line to produce an exact cut.

Step 10: Filling The Gaps
Pay attention to where the boards fit together. One end has a groove and the other has a tongue. The tongues fit into the grooves. When cutting boards to fit the gaps be sure you are cutting the wall end of the board. If you cut the wrong end you won’t have a groove that fits into the tongue.

TIP: Each board should have at least 2 nails. A good rule is to put a nail in every 10” to 12”.

Step 11: Approaching The Opposite Wall
As your flooring installation progresses, you will get closer to the opposite wall. This means you will lose the clearance needed to use the pneumatic nail gun. Like in earlier steps, drill pilot holes then hand-nail the boards. Once you get too close to the wall, drill pilot holes through top of the boards and face-nail your boards. Use the nail-set to set the nails.

Step 12: Fitting The Last Board
There may not be enough room to fit the entire width of the last board. Measure how much will, keeping in mind you need to leave 3/8” gap. Cut the board length-wise along your measurement and fit into place.

Step 13: Fill The Face-nailed holes
Locate the small holes on top of your boards where you had to face-nail. Fill them with your wood putty and wipe off the excess.

TIP: Make sure your wood putty matches the color of your hardwood floors so it doesn’t stand out.

Step 14: Replace Shoe Molding
Re-install the shoe molding you removed earlier and you are done! Learn how to take care of your floors in our maintenance section.