Is Wood Flooring Easy To Install? How To Install Wood Flooring

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Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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The short answer to this is yes. The slightly longer version tells us that a lot of types of wood flooring come in click-in-place designs that allow for very simple installation. You can handle it yourself with some basic tools and some know-how.

Solid wood flooring takes a little more preparation and slight variations in the technique, but ultimately, it’s the same process. “Click in place” tells you all you need to know. You can get click vinyl flooring, click laminate flooring, click engineered flooring, and click solid wood flooring, so no matter the style, the type, or the temperament of the wood, you will be able to get the home you want with your own hands.

Read on to see our guide on how to do it right.

Is Wood Flooring Easy to Install?

Is Wood Flooring Easy To Install?

Wood flooring can be a great addition to any home, adding both beauty and value. However, whether or not it is easy to install depends on several factors. Here are some factors that affect the ease of installation:

  • Type of wood flooring: The ease of installation can depend on the type of wood flooring being installed. For example, prefinished wood flooring may be easier to install because it does not require sanding or finishing on-site. However, unfinished wood flooring may be more difficult to install because it requires additional steps such as sanding and finishing.
  • Subfloor condition: The subfloor’s condition can also affect the ease of installation. If the subfloor is uneven or has moisture issues, it can create challenges for installation. Sometimes, the subfloor may need to be repaired or replaced before installing hardwood flooring.
  • Installer experience: The experience of the installer can also affect the ease of installation. A professional installer with years of experience will likely have an easier time installing wood flooring than a novice DIY installer.

Compared to other flooring types, wood flooring can be relatively easy to install. Unlike tile or carpet, wood flooring does not require grout or adhesives. The planks can be nailed or glued directly to the subfloor, making installation quicker and more straightforward.

However, there are some potential challenges and drawbacks when installing wood flooring. For example, wood flooring can be more expensive than other types of flooring, and it may require more maintenance over time.

Additionally, wood flooring can be prone to scratches and dents, which may require sanding and refinishing to repair. Finally, installing wood flooring can be time-consuming, especially for larger rooms or complex layouts.

Overall, while wood flooring can be relatively easy to install, it is important to consider all the factors involved before embarking on a DIY installation project. Hiring a professional installer with experience in wood flooring installation may be beneficial for the best results.

How to Install Wood Floors

How to Install Wood Floors

Installing wood flooring can be a great way to enhance the look and value of your home. Here are the steps you should follow for a successful wood flooring installation:

1. Tools and Materials Needed

The essentials for laying your flooring are so basic you’ll probably have most of them in your home already. You need a pencil, a measuring tape, and a hand saw. You’ll also need some underlay, which you can purchase from your floor specialist or any nearby DIY store.

And, of course, you’ll need the click vinyl flooring, laminate, etc. Laminate, solid hardwood floors, and engineered wood floors don’t like the humidity to different degrees, so you’ll have to acclimatize them. This is as simple as leaving the panels unwrapped in the room they are supposed to be laid in overnight. They’ll soon get used to the temperature and humidity.

2. Preparation of the Subfloor

The preparation of the subfloor is a crucial step in the installation of wood flooring. A properly prepared subfloor will provide a level and stable base for the flooring, ensuring the installation is successful and long-lasting. Here are the key points to keep in mind when preparing the subfloor:

  • Evaluate the condition of the subfloor: Before installing wood flooring, it is important to evaluate the subfloor’s condition. The subfloor should be clean, dry, and free of debris or adhesive residue. It should also be level, with no high spots or low spots that could affect the installation.
  • Repair any damage: If the subfloor is damaged, it should be repaired before installing the wood flooring. This may involve filling in cracks or holes, leveling the subfloor, or replacing damaged sections.
  • Check for moisture: It is important to check the moisture content of the subfloor before installing wood flooring. Moisture can cause a solid hardwood floor to warp or buckle over time, so it is essential to ensure the subfloor is dry before installation.
  • Install a moisture barrier: If the subfloor is concrete or is concerned about moisture, a moisture barrier should be installed before the wood flooring. This can be a layer of plastic sheeting or a special moisture barrier product designed for this purpose.
  • Check for levelness: A level subfloor is essential for a successful wood flooring installation. If the subfloor is not level, it will need to be leveled using a self-leveling compound or by sanding down high spots.

3. Laying the Underlayment

When installing wood flooring, laying the underlayment is a crucial step in the process. The best underlayment for wood floors acts as a barrier between the subfloor and the new flooring, helping to prevent moisture from seeping through and providing an even surface for the flooring to be laid on.

Here are some crucial points to consider when laying the underlayment:

  • Choose the right type of underlayment: There are various types of underlayment materials available, including foam, cork, and plywood. Each type has its benefits, so choosing the one best suited for your specific flooring and subflooring needs is essential.
  • Ensure the subfloor is clean and level: Before laying the underlayment, it’s essential to thoroughly clean the subfloor to ensure no debris or dust could impact the installation. The subfloor should also be level, as any bumps or unevenness could cause problems with the underlayment and flooring.
  • Overlap the underlayment sheets: When laying the underlayment, it’s essential to overlap the sheets by several inches to ensure complete coverage and avoid any gaps. This will help prevent any moisture from seeping through and causing damage to the flooring.
  • Tape the seams: After laying the underlayment, it’s important to tape the seams between the sheets to ensure a tight seal. This will also help prevent moisture from seeping through and causing problems with the flooring.
  • Trim excess underlayment: Any excess material should be trimmed away once the underlayment is laid and taped. This will help ensure a smooth and even surface for the new flooring to be laid on.

4. Installing the First Row of Flooring

Installing the First Row of Flooring

When installing wood flooring, the first row is one of the most critical steps to get right. Here are key points to keep in mind when installing the first row of flooring:

  • Determine the starting wall: Start the first row of flooring along the longest straight wall in the room. This will create a straight reference line for the rest of the flooring installation.
  • Measure and cut the first board: Measure the length of the first row and cut the first board to the appropriate length, leaving a 1/4-inch gap between the board and the wall for expansion. Use a table saw or circular saw to cut the board.
  • Install the first board: Place the first board against the starting wall, with the tongue facing out. Ensure it is flush against the wall and aligned with the reference line. Nail or staple the board into place, ensuring the fasteners are at a 45-degree angle.
  • Install the next board: Place the next board end-to-end with the first board, the tongue, and the groove interlocking. Use a tapping block and a hammer to tap the board into place gently. Nail or staple the board into place.
  • Continue installing the first row: Continue installing boards this way, ensuring they are straight and aligned with the reference line. Cut the last board in the first row to fit as needed.
  • Check for gaps: Check for gaps between the boards as you go, and use a pry bar or tapping block to adjust them as necessary.
  • Repeat for subsequent rows: Once the first row is installed, repeat the process for subsequent rows, making sure to stagger the end joints of the boards by at least 6 inches.

5. Laying Subsequent Rows of Flooring

Laying subsequent rows of flooring is an essential step in installing hardwood flooring. This process involves connecting and securing the tongue and groove boards together to create a seamless, sturdy floor. Here are key points to keep in mind when laying subsequent rows of flooring:

  • Stagger the boards: Avoid creating a pattern or repeating the same board length in adjacent rows. Instead, stagger the boards randomly to create a more natural-looking floor.
  • Maintain proper spacing: Make sure to maintain the proper expansion gap between the boards and the walls, allowing the flooring to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity. Use spacers to ensure that the gap remains consistent.
  • Use a tapping block and mallet: Connect the tongue and groove boards by tapping them together with a tapping block and mallet. This will ensure that the boards fit snugly together and prevent gaps from forming.
  • Secure the boards: Use a flooring nailer or stapler to secure the boards to the subfloor. Make sure to angle the nails or staples at a 45-degree angle to prevent them from popping up over time.
  • Check for level and flatness: Use a level and straight edge to check that each row is level and flat. Use shims to level the boards or sand down high spots if necessary.
  • Trim the last board: The last board in each row must be cut to fit. Use a saw to carefully cut the board to the proper length, leaving the appropriate expansion gap between the board and the wall.

6. Cutting and Fitting the Last Row of Flooring

Cutting and Fitting the Last Row of Flooring

Cutting and fitting the last row of flooring can be challenging when you install hardwood floors. However, achieving a professional-looking finish with the right tools and techniques is possible. Here are crucial points to keep in mind when cutting and fitting the last row of flooring:

  • Measure the space: Before cutting the last row of flooring, measuring the remaining space between the last row of flooring and the wall is important. This will help you determine how wide the last row of flooring needs to be and whether it needs to be cut to fit.
  • Cut the planks: Use a saw or a jigsaw to cut the planks to size. Remember to wear protective eyewear and earplugs when using power tools. Cut the planks to the correct width and length, leaving enough space for expansion gaps.
  • Test fit the planks: Once the planks have been cut, test them to ensure that they fit snugly, and there are no gaps between them and the wall. If necessary, trim the planks further to achieve a tight fit.
  • Install the planks: Once they have been cut to size and test fit, apply adhesive to the back of the planks and fit them into place. Use a tapping block and a mallet to gently tap the planks into place, ensuring they are level and flush with the rest of the flooring.
  • Install the baseboards: Once the last row of flooring has been installed, it is time to install the baseboards or trim. Use finishing nails or adhesive to attach the baseboards to the wall.

7. Installing the Baseboards or Trim

When installing hardwood floors, the final step is to install the baseboards or trim. Here are some important points to consider:

  • Choose the right type of baseboard or trim: There are a variety of baseboard and trim styles available, so choose the one that complements the flooring and overall decor of the room. Common types include base shoe, quarter round, and cove molding.
  • Measure and cut the baseboards or trim: Measure the length of each wall where the baseboards or trim will be installed. Use a miter or hand saw to cut the baseboards or trim to the correct length and angle at the corners.
  • Pre-paint or stain the baseboards or trim: It is easier to paint or stain the baseboards or trim before installation. This way, the baseboards or trim can be installed and touched up if needed.
  • Attach the baseboards or trim: Use finishing nails to attach the baseboards or trim to the wall. Start at one end of the wall and work down, spacing the nails evenly apart.
  • Fill nail holes and caulk gaps: Use wood filler to fill the nail holes and any gaps between the baseboards or trim and the wall. Allow the filler to dry, and then sand it smooth. Use caulk to fill any remaining gaps between the baseboards or frame and the wall.
  • Touch up paint or stain: Once the filler and caulk have dried, touch up the paint or stain on the baseboards or trim as needed.

Our Top Tips

Investing in some knee pads can make the whole process a lot easier. You’ll be crawling around a lot, and your knees will thank you when you put your feet on your new flooring. You can also make the sawing easier on yourself by switching to an electric chop saw or jigsaw.

If you want the best results, keep a spirit level nearby and measure as you go. You don’t want to notice a rise in one of the middle pieces once you’re done and have to tear the whole thing apart to solve it.

It’s also suggested that you get some spacers, especially for the laminate flooring option, as you’ll have to keep a 10mm space between the flooring and everything else in the room, including walls, skirting, door frames, stairs, other flooring, radiator pipes, and kitchen units.

What Are The Differences Between the Floor Types?

What Are The Differences Between The Floor Types?

Some types of flooring are more involved than others to lay. The laminate is the simplest and takes the least amount of tools.

Solid wood flooring takes wood to concrete glue or flooring nailer, depending on what you’re laying your floor on, and because it expands and shrinks in the humidity, the spacing between it and everything else is extended to 10-12mm. There are also different instructions for whether you are installing concrete or plywood.

Engineered flooring has a few ways to install it. You will also need a nailer if you’re going down the nail installation route, flexible wood flooring glue if you’d instead stick it down, or PVA glue and underlay if you’re going for a floating installation.

LVT flooring isn’t as solid as the other options, so you can forgo the saw for a Stanley knife, and the spacing is reduced to 7-10mm. But you will need an underlay and a rubber mallet. The LVT underlay makes vinyl wood panels waterproof, so you must get that laid down well before you put it in your next panel.

You’ll have to do the two in succession, and when you’re done, you’ll be left with a beautiful, maintainable floor that you have laid with your hands. Well done.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Installing Wood Flooring

1. Can I install wood flooring myself?

Yes, it is feasible to install hardwood flooring yourself. However, the ease of installation can vary depending on the type of wood flooring and the tools and materials you have available. Some types of wood flooring may require specialized tools or professional installation.

2. What is the method of installation of wooden flooring?

The installation method for wooden flooring can vary depending on the type of flooring, but it typically involves preparing the subfloor, laying an underlayment (if needed), and then laying the flooring in a specific pattern. The last row of flooring may need cutting to fit the remaining space.

3. Do I need underlayment for hardwood flooring?

It depends on the type of hardwood flooring you are installing and the condition of your subfloor. An underlayment can help reduce noise, improve insulation, and provide a smoother surface for installation. Some hardwood flooring may come with an attached underlayment, while others may require a separate underlayment.

4. What is best to put under a hardwood floor?

The best material to put under hardwood floors depends on the type of hardwood flooring and the condition of your subfloor. Some common underlayment materials include cork, foam, felt, or rubber. These materials can provide insulation, noise reduction, and a smoother surface for installation.

5. Can you lay wood flooring on concrete?

Yes, it is possible to lay wood flooring on a concrete subfloor. However, it is essential to use a vapor barrier or moisture barrier to prevent moisture from seeping into the wood. A special adhesive may also be required to ensure the wood flooring properly adheres to the concrete slab.

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About the author

Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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