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Hardwood Flooring Installation Tips

You have decided it is time to upgrade your home, and you are installing new flooring. This simple change will make a large difference in the look and feel of your home. Since it is your home, you have also decided that you, and maybe your significant other or family, are going to install it yourself because, really, it looks easy. It doesn’t have to be daunting nor does it mean you will be living in a construction zone for weeks because there are tips and tricks to make installing a hardwood floor yourself quick and easy.


If you are doing more renovations than just new flooring in your home, it is generally recommended that flooring should the last item to be installed, since floors are prone to damage during construction. If flooring is the only renovation you are completing at this time, then timing more than likely is not an issue in your case.

Preparing the Floor

Just like when building a house, a great foundation is essential in ensuring your installation results in a beautiful floor that lasts for many years. A new floor, for best results, should be installed over a flat, clean, smooth surface. This surface could be a plywood subfloor, concrete slab (moisture sealed) or even an existing floor that is in decent condition and is level. The benefit to installing over an existing floor is that you will not need to go through the task of taking out the floor, and the old floor acts as an additional sound barrier. Only use a floating floor system when installing over an existing floor.

Adjusting to Your Home

Solid wood floors – unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer – need to adjust to the heat and humidity in your home before they are installed. When the flooring is delivered to your home it should be stacked, without the packaging, in the room it will be installed in for several days where the temperature is set at normal levels for the home.

Floor Layout

Before you really start installing the floor it is best to make a plan and pre-lay the boards – without securing them – so you have an idea of how it will look, and you can change it before anything is in place. It is also advisable to make sure the walls run parallel to each other because if they are not your floor will appear off.

Laying the First Boards

If you have determined your walls are parallel to each other, and you have properly prepped the floor, you are ready to start laying down your first floor boards. For the very first 3 boards you should choose ones that are incredibly straight and vary in length from each other by at least 6 inches. This variation will allow for your floor to be staggered and not all of your boards will align giving it the true hardwood floor look.

Finishing the Installation

Now that you have the first few rows of boards in place you are ready to move on to finish the room. Before securing these boards in place, though, you dry fit these boards by laying them out and making sure you like how they look on the floor before permanently putting them in place. Don’t forget to continue to stagger the lengths of boards by at least 6 inches so your floorboards are not closely lined up in length.

Room Accessories

If you have any fixtures in this room that stick out such as heat registers or fireplaces you will have to floor around these. For items such as these you can create a buffer out of miter board around this object. It will buffer between the heat source and the flooring to help avoid warping after installation.

After this you can remove any spacers from the flooring, cut off any excess underlying material that may be visible around the edges and re-install the baseboards, remembering to nail the baseboards to the wall and not the floor.

Congratulations! You have just installed your very own hardwood floor. Home renovations are tough and trying, and they can also become very expensive very quickly. By tackling this installation yourself you are saving money and gaining bragging rights at social events that you know how to install floors. These floors will bring years of enjoyment to you and your family, and definitely feel free to show them off by offering to host any event.

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