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Installation Methods for Solid and Engineered Flooring

Looking into purchasing and installing a new hardwood floor? Regardless of whether you’ve hired someone to install the floor or if you’re taking the do-it-yourself approach, knowing more about your options can help you make the right decision. Since there are a variety of installation options, you will first need to discern what type of subfloor your home has to make sure you pick a suitable installation method. The type of subfloor has a significant impact on installation whether you are looking into solid hardwood or engineered hardwood.

The three most pervasive types of subfloor include particleboard, cement or concrete, and plywood with oriented strand board (OSB) over joists. For all engineered floors, the floating and glue-down methods will work. As for solid floors over concrete and plywood, the glue-down and nail-down methods will work. Solid flooring on top of particle board can only be installed with the glue-down method.

As for vinyl flooring or any other flooring type you may have, this will need to be removed first since it will not work as an appropriate subfloor. You need to be working with a dense and flat subfloor before you get around to the installation process for any wooden flooring.

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Here is a more in-depth explanation of the various installation methods:

Glue-Down Method

With this somewhat self-explanatory method, you must attach the new flooring to the subfloor using an adhesive or some sort of bonding agent. This installation method can be used when installing any kind of flooring regardless of your subfloor type. Keep in mind that if you have a concrete subfloor, an epoxy membrane will need to be applied so that moisture won’t rise up and damage your new flooring. Overall, this installation method can lead to sturdy and effective results, but it is a more difficult method that beginners should avoid tackling without professional assistance. Not only are adhesive substances usually toxic and capable of creating a mess, but laying the floor down flat can be a precarious procedure.

Floating Method

This approach requires little experience and skill and can be the ideal method for beginner DIY enthusiasts. Instead of nailing or gluing the flooring to the subfloor, you will be relying on the flooring’s weight to keep everything in place. Since a PVA glue is used to connect the grooves and tongues of the boards together, this is not a viable method for solid hardwood floors, which will move when not firmly situated. On the other hand, this method works wonders for engineered hardwood. You can also easily place materials underneath to reduce sound and moisture, and you can install under-floor heating as well.

Nail-Down Method

Remember that a nail-down approach may also work for engineered hardwood; however, it is quite suitable for when solid hardwood is being installed over a wooden subfloor. With this method, you use nails to attach the solid flooring to the subfloor. This is another approach that typically requires professional aid since you need to be very precise for the flooring to be properly fastened. Many view the nail-down method as tedious and time-consuming as well. If you can follow through on this method though and get assistance from a flooring company like The Floor Shop, the end result will be a stunning hardwood floor that will have unbelievable longevity given the right amount of maintenance.

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