The beauty and elegance of hardwood floors make them one of the most sought-after flooring solutions both for commercial as well as residential properties. There are a wide variety of hardwood flooring types available including the original red oak, bamboo, white ash, cherry, pecan and many more.
Hardwood flooring is made of solid wood that is milled into planks that are later joined by using a tongue and groove system. The planks are generally nailed to a wooden subfloor although they can also be installed directly onto a concrete surface, but it is not recommended. If you have decided to install a hardwood floor then here are some installation tips that will save you time, money and a lot of aggravation.
- Choosing the right hardwood flooring. Beyond personal style and taste, there are some practical aspects to choosing the finish of your hardwood floors. The room where you wish to install the new floor is a vital factor as a very light or dark finish will not fare well in a kitchen as stains are more visible on these finishes. However, a little used room will be ideal for lighter finishes whereas one with greater traffic will require a darker, stronger finish which is more resistant to wear and tear.
- Preparing a solid foundation. Preparing the existing subfloor is vital for long-lasting beautiful hardwood flooring because if you take shortcuts and install over a badly damaged floor or an uneven floor you will soon find you have to start over again. The planks will not join properly and can even be damaged by regular traffic if there are large gaps in the subfloor because there will be very little support for the new floor.
If the subfloor only has a few rough areas or gauges then adding an underlayment will suffice, however if the problems are more pronounced then you will need to use a leveling agent. A little preparation will save you a lot of time, money and heartache.
- Silent hardwood flooring. Hardwood flooring is a thing of beauty, bringing a room an exquisite air of elegance and sophistication. That is, until you set foot on it and find that you have the only hardwood floor that comes with a colony of mice which has set up residence under your floor. To avoid the highly irritating squeak that accompanies natural wood floors applying a layer of Rosin paper under the hardwood flooring, on the subfloor, which will prevent noisy wood-on-wood contact.
- Don't jump into the deep end first. If this is your first time installing a hardwood floor then don't assume you will get it right the first time. There's nothing worse than realizing your first board was off by a fraction of an inch and now the whole floor must be ripped up. Practice does make perfect, so first lay the floor out before attempting to nail it or glue it into position. Even if you are a seasoned installer that does not make you impervious to mistakes and your excuses will be even more limited.
- Don't eyeball it. Use chalk lines to mark your layout because, unless you have an amazing cybernetic implant, then you are never going to get a good result. When marking out your lines don't forget to leave a 1/4" gap to allow the wood some room to expand into due to seasonal changes.
These tips will help your hardwood flooring installation proceed without a glitch, but if you feel uncertain or not up to the task then the best option would be to employ a professional to do it. The added expense will be worth it in the long run.