A guest post by Grace Bailey edited by Deb Villeneuve

DIY hardwood floor installation does not have to be such a huge responsibility providing you follow a few golden rules that experts have been using for years. By arming yourself with some of the basic principles and tips you will soon be rewarded by a beautiful new floor to be proud of.

Most flooring specialists use one of the 3 methods for laying wooden floors and these are the gluing down, floating floor and nailed down methods. Each method will require a set of different tools and materials in order to complete the job successfully.
It is very important to ensure that the floor you intend to install your hardwood to is as flat as possible to prevent an uneven and unsightly finish. The floor must also be free of dampness and dust wherever possible. Dampness or mold will undoubtedly result in problems later on. A good product for leveling uneven floors is self leveling compound. This is a very easy solution which guarantees a flat even floor. The compound is simply mixed with water and then poured onto the floor. It will find its own level and dry leaving a completely flat service to lay the new floor.

Hardwood can become warped if it is not left for at least 48 hours in the environment where it will be used; therefore it is wise to leave the hardwood flat for the first few days before fixing it to the floor. The floor must first be covered with an underlay such as asphalt. This will make the wood much easier to lie and the underlay will protect the wood from future problems. Simply cut the underlay material to the size of the room and cover the whole floor area with it. The underlay does not need to be fastened to the floor.

Now it’s time to start laying your new hardwood floor. Take your time and think about each step before being too hasty, the flooring is not cheap and you don’t want to ruin anything in the process. Carefully measure the wood to be cut and if possible, use a table saw for the cutting process as this will ensure a much better finish. If a table saw is not available then an electrical circular saw or jigsaw can give good results if used correctly. Another way to cut the wood is by using the traditional tradesman method of the handsaw for wood.

Start installing the hardwood planks at the longest wall and then adding more wood plank by plank. Some hardwood planks will have the ability to be joined to the next by snapping in to place. Other planks may have no such joins and they will simply lie side by side. If you will be using the nail down method then this is the time to mark out the pilot holes for the nails. If however you are using the glue down method then you will obviously need to apply the glue to either the prepared floor or to the wood itself, depending on the manufacturers’ recommendations. The easier method is the floating floor and this needs no glue or nails, it simply is held in place by the support provided by each plank.

When the floor planks have all been laid you will have to decide what coating you will use for the final finish. If however you have purchased pre-finished hardwood then you will avoid having to do this. If you are not sure what coating to use, then a good idea is to approach the supplier that sold the hardwood flooring to you.

By now you should have a brand new beautiful hardwood floor which you can enjoy for many years.

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