A Comprehensive Homeowner’s Guide Plus Tips

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Flooring projects are so popular among homeowners that more than 5 million people remodeled their homes in 2017. 

Out of all the other flooring materials, homeowners consistently choose wood to transform the feel of their homes.

While hardwood floors can add stylistic flair to your home, they’re also one of the most reliable and comfortable flooring materials out there. 

Interested in getting your own wood floors? Keep reading to learn how to install hardwood floors using DIY installation. 

One of the benefits of hardwood floors is that there are actually different methods of installation.

So, you can choose the method that fits your style and budget. Here are the different methods to consider:

  • Nailing floors
  • Gluing floors with adhesive
  • Click-lock installation

Installing hardwood floors with adhesive is one of the more common methods. Naturally, the glue does all the work to secure the boards together.

Comparing Methods

Nailing the boards down is another common choice. Although glue and click-lock installation are secure methods, nail-down installation is more permanent than these other options.

Metal nails are simply stiff and sturdy enough to hold the floors in place after years of wear and tear. 

However, nail-down installation can be more expensive since it requires a sub-layer of wood.

Plywood is used to build this sub-layer so that nails can penetrate and secure the upper layer further into the floor.

Click-lock installation also requires a sublayer which can add to the overall cost of this method.

Unlike nail-down installation, you can have a variety of sub-layer materials available to you like tire or cement.

One of the advantages of click-lock installation is that it seals out moisture and protects your wood.

Panels of wood are “clicked” together which fastens them tightly and eliminates any open cracks. 

Measure the Site

Before you do any installation, you’ve got to get the numbers right. A good rule of thumb is to leave room for some irregular fitting or measurement mistakes.

The way to do this is by providing ten percent more space than you measured. 

This isn’t a required step, but it does help you account for planks that aren’t evenly cut or that just have an irregular shape.

You should also include this additional 10 percent of space if you’re installing wood in a diagonally shaped area.

To measure how much wood you need, you’ll need to measure the length and the width of the room.

Prep the Site

No matter which method you choose, prepping the installation site is the best way to ensure that your floors come out even and secure.

You can begin by lining the planks of wood in rows. If you have planks instead of even panels, some of them may not be as straight as others.

So be sure to pick the straightest planks for your first row. The first area you should install should be the floor with the longest wall area. 

Your subfloor should be sanded down to create a smooth and level area for the top layer.

This subfloor also needs a covering of underlayment to keep the installation process dry and keep out moisture.

If you have a gap between the flooring and the wall, you should measure out and mark a 1/2 inch of space.

The molding around the floor should also be removed so you get a more accurate measure of the space.

Start the Installation

You’ll need to make sure you have the right tools for installation. These tools may vary depending on the method you choose.

Nailing

If you choose to nail your wood floors down, you’ll need a pneumatic nailer or power nailer. Putty will additionally help you cover up any open spaces between the planks. 

Start this installation method by drilling pilot holes into your boards, approximately 1 inch from the edge.

Then start nailing either 6d or 8d nails into the holes. Be sure to push the boards together as you lay them down so that the floor will fit snugly, and continue this process for each row. 

Gluing

For the glue-down method, you’ll need to use a trowel to spread the glue evenly across the subfloor. Only spread enough glue for the row that you’re currently laying.

Once the glue is spread, you can simply lay the first row and continue this method until finished. 

The glue-down method can be more straightforward than nail-down installation. You also don’t need as many pricey tools such as power nailers. 

Click-Lock

Many homeowners choose click-lock installation as their DIY option since it’s faster than the other two methods.

While it does involve nailing down the first row of panels, you only need to click together the other panels to install the whole floor. 

You can follow the same rules of measuring and spacing used in the nail-down installation.

However, click-lock panels may also come with measuring instructions from the manufacturer. In this case, you can follow these steps to drill and drive the first nails.

Cost of the Project 

The cost of materials for your DIY hardwood floor project can be daunting. However, the project costs largely depend on the materials you use.

Materials are priced by the square foot, which means you can order wood materials from around $6 per square foot. This price can rise if you decide you want prefinished hardwood flooring. 

Additionally, the type of wood and style definitely determine the cost of the project. Wood materials vary in thickness because they have multiple layers which increase the wood’s durability and quality. 

For instance, engineered wood comes in three wood types: basic, mid, and high. The basic wood type contains three layers and runs much cheaper than its alternatives.

A mid wood type contains five core layers and high wood type contains at least seven. Each respective wood type comes at a higher price as you add more layers of wood. 

How to Install Hardwood Floors for Yourself

Learning how to install hardwood floors can be one of those DIY projects that get you great results you can see. Imagine how rewarding walking on your new hardwood floor is going to be?

Do you have other DIY projects you want information on? If so, keep scrolling our blog for more helpful guides. 

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