How to install hardwood flooring

How to Install Hardwood Flooring

Everyone knows that hardwood floors are beautiful. Besides, they are durable and add value to your home. As for their installation, doing it yourself can be a great project. Likewise, you can save a lot of money. However, you should keep in mind a few helpful tips. Have the right tools. As well as following the right steps to install hardwood flooring.

Useful tips about how to install hardwood flooring

Hardwood floors have particular features. Some of them you should take into account when you have decided to install it yourself. Besides, these elements determine the best places and ways for its installation.

How to install hardwood flooring

1- Difficulty level to install hardwood flooring

We well know that there are different types of hardwood floors. Therefore, the difficulty level of each one is different. For example, engineered wood can be glued or stapled. That is why it will require more effort to install.

According to its thickness, it can last from 15 to 75 years. Yes, up to 75 years your floor can last. This is because, if it is a thick board, it can be sanded and restored. However, if the board is thin (5/16 inch), it will last 30 years at the most.

Similarly, traditional hardwood is ¾” thick. Its installation necessarily requires nails and staples. Thus, the difficulty level is higher. Still, this investment will be well worth it. Because they are one of the most durable types of flooring.

2- Moisture levels

Hardwood is not the most water-resistant flooring. For this reason, if you are going to install this flooring in damp locations. Consider a type of wood such as teak that is more resistant to moisture.

Never install hardwood floors in a heated space. This can cause non-reversible damage to your floor. 

3- Types of underlayment

The underlayment is an important element for hardwood floors. Therefore, you should choose it properly. The recommended underlayments for hardwood floors are mainly plywood and concrete. Preferably, do not install hardwood flooring over an existing floor.

Because they are particularly sensitive to subfloor defects. A defect in the installation of your floor can mean squeaks, indentations, or bumps. And these unforeseen events in a hardwood floor can be hard to fix.

For this reason, it will be important to properly prepare the subfloor. To do this, remove all furniture from the room. Also, remove old moldings and flooring. Clean the subfloor if necessary. In the same way, if you notice protrusions, screws, or indentations. It doesn’t hurt to try a few planks on the floor to ensure that it is flat. Although it should not be completely smooth, it should be flat.

4- Acclimate hardwood flooring

As already mentioned, hardwood is sensitive to temperature changes. Therefore, it will be necessary to order your flooring in advance. This will allow it to acclimatize at the site temperature.

Furthermore, you can use this time to mix the pieces from different boxes. This way you will achieve an ideal pattern. You can also design your floor and mark the pieces before the installation begins.

5- Material quantity

Another important factor for your installation. Undoubtedly, it is to determine the amount of flooring you need to buy. To do this, multiply the length by the width of your room. Then add an extra 10 to 15%. This is to avoid being too tight and in case of damaged boards.

What you will need to install hardwood flooring

This list will help you to have everything you need for your installation. So make sure you have them before you start installing your hardwood floor.


  • Hardwood flooring
  • Baseboards
  • Transition pieces
  • Moldings
  • Underlayment (Recommended)
  • Spacers
  • Wood putty
  • Tape measure
  • Nails
  • Glue


  • Table saw
  • Circular Saw
  • Drills and bits
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Hammer
  • Rubber mallet
  • Pencil
  • Glasses and safety mask
  • Knife
  • Floor stapler
  • Pull bar

Step by step to install hardwood flooring

Installing your hardwood floor will be a big challenge. But rest assured that it will be just as satisfying to finish. As we already mentioned, depending on the type of wood flooring. There are different installation methods. That’s why, below, we show you each one. Now, if you’ve taken the tips into account and have the necessary materials and tools, let’s get started.

Prepare the space to install hardwood flooring

In any kind of hardwood flooring installation, preparing the subfloor is key because wood floors are especially sensitive to defects.

Step 1: Prepare the subfloor

Initially, you will need to remove the furniture and old moldings from the space. If necessary, remove your old flooring as well.

Then, once you have cleaned the subfloor. Check that it is flat. It does not need to be perfectly smooth. But if you notice any bumps, it is best to sand them out.

Prepare the floor

Step 2: Install underlayment

Install underlayment only if you have chosen hardwood. This is recommended because underlayment absorbs sound. Also, this way you will have better results.


Tip: Note that, engineered wood floors do not require the use of underlayment.

Step 3: Set the design

To start the flooring installation. It is recommended to mark a guideline for the first row. Therefore, take advantage during the acclimatization time of your floor. This way you will have everything ready to start.

Also, mix boards from different boxes. This way you will have a better design for your floor. Because, if you install boards from the same box. You can have darker places on your floor.

Glue down installation

To begin with, we will talk about the glue-down installation. In this case, the floor is glued to the subfloor. Therefore, use it if you have a concrete floor or if you choose engineered wood flooring. Here are the necessary steps for this method.

Glue down installation

Step 1: Apply glue

Apply a small amount of glue. So that it covers the width of two to three boards. Also, scrape off the glue with the trowel. Use it to clean the residue from the bucket. Don’t forget to place the spacers on the walls.

Step 2: Spread the glue

Then, trowel at a 45° angle. Spread the glue. Also, make sure that the teeth touch the floor. Continue spreading the glue two to three rows at a time.

Step 3: Install the first row

Following the guideline you drew. Place the first boards of your design in the first row. Also, don’t forget to place spacers on all the pieces and make sure the tongue is facing into the room.

Step 4: Install the second row

To install the second row. Locate the groove in the tongue. This will make the fit with the pieces of the first row. Then click between the pieces. Also, use the rubber mallet and draw bar. Glue the pieces to the floor.

Step 5: Finish the installation

Finally, install the remaining rows. Don’t forget to apply glue for only two or three rows. Then wait 24 hours for it to dry completely. Then remove the spacers.

Nail down installation

Nail down installation is the most durable of all. That is why many homeowners prefer it. Besides, it requires underlayment to give better acoustics and moisture resistance to the hardwood flooring.

How to install hardwood flooring

Step 1: Pre-drill the first row

In this installation method, you will need to pre-drill holes. Therefore, drill holes ¼ inch from the shorter side of the board. Don’t forget to place the spacers. This way, the holes will be ½ inch from the wall. Then drill holes every 6 inches along the length of the board. Place the screws in the holes you prepared.

Step 2: Countersinking the nails

Second, drive a blind nail at 45°. Because it requires securing the piece to the floor. Also, be sure to countersink the nail. Thus, it does not interfere with the attachment.

Step 3: Install the first rows

With steps 1 and 2 install the first row. Likewise, when you reach the end. Cut the board to size. This way, the excess will be used for the second row.

Then place the second row. To do this, place the groove over the tongue. Also secure the pieces by tapping with the rubber mallet. Repeat these steps for all the pieces in the second row. If you still do not have room for the stapler. Then repeat this process on the third row.

Step 4: Install the next rows

Then, when you are ready to use the stapler. Install the next rows of flooring. Also, do not forget to place the spacers on all walls. The stapler must be placed under the board. Therefore, once there, tap firmly with the mallet. Finally, check that the nail is in place.

Step 5: Install the last rows

Once you do not have room for the stapler. The last rows must be installed manually. Repeat steps 1 and 2 in a way that secures the pieces to the floor. Then screw the pieces into the holes.

Step 6: Final touches

To finish, apply putty on the boards. Because it is necessary to fill the holes. Perform this step on the first and last row.

Click lock installation

Installing hardwood floors with the click method is the most common. Because it is the simplest within the wood flooring. It can be used over concrete floors. Also, if you have radiant heating and you want hardwood floors. Without a doubt, this is your best choice.

Click lock installation

Step 1: Install the first row

The first row should be nailed to the floor. Because you need to give it stability. Therefore, in this method drill pilot holes. To do this, drill holes 1 inch from the wall. Then drill every 4 inches over the board.

Likewise, as in the nail-down installation. Place screws in the holes you drilled. Once you have secured your first row. Install the remaining rows of hardwood flooring.

Step 2: Install the remaining rows

The remaining rows are easy to install. Therefore, you only need to place the groove in the tongue. Make sure there are no gaps between the pieces. Also, use the rubber mallet to fit them.

At the end of each row. Cut the pieces to size. Besides, do not forget to place the spacers on all the walls.

Step 3: Finish the installation

Finally, apply putty in the holes. This is to hide the screws. This way, you will get a uniform floor.

Complete the installation

Whichever method you used. Take into account these final steps. Because they are needed for the perfect result.

Step 1: Installing moldings

In this regard, install the final pieces. So, place the moldings and secure them with nails to the wall. Finish by applying putty to hide the holes.

Vinyl flooring installation

Step 2: Installing transition pieces

For the installation of the transition pieces. Measure the space required. Then, cut the piece to size. Finally, glue the piece to the hardwood floor.


Common mistakes about how to install hardwood flooring

There are common mistakes when you install hardwood flooring. Therefore, we summarize them below. So you can keep them in mind.

1- Expansion gap

The installation of your hardwood floor should be done with ¾” expansion space. A common mistake that is often made is to forget this. So keep in mind that wood expands and contracts with temperature changes. Because of this consider using wall spacers when installing your floor.

Expansion space

2- Wet concrete

Likewise, if you are installing your floor in a new home. Make sure the concrete is completely dry before laying your floor. Because another mistake that is often made is to lay it without it being completely dry. In this case, also consider including underlayment. This moisture barrier will enhance your installation.

3- Prepare the subfloor

Wood floors are especially sensitive to the subfloor. You shouldn’t skimp on subfloor preparation. Make sure you have the flattest possible subfloor. This will prevent future issues. For example, loud creaking in your wood floor. There may also be loose boards that will need to be replaced.

How to install hardwood flooring

4- Nailing boards in a hurry

Keeping in mind that wood floors are nailed to the floor. Therefore, you must make sure that each piece is nailed correctly. Because, if you rush to finish your installation. It can cause you problems in the future.

5- Choice of wood type

This is perhaps the most common mistake in wood flooring. So keep these tips in mind. Walnut or maple are hardwoods. Because of this, they are ideal for high traffic spaces. For example, living rooms or hallways.

If you have children or pets, choose lighter woods. However, if you are going to install in spaces with a lot of natural light. Choose dark colors, as they are more resistant to wear and tear.

Wood flooring types

6- Set the design before installation

Another common mistake is not spending enough time on design. Because of the style of wood flooring. It is necessary to design your floor. Therefore, mix pieces from different boxes. Also, take the time to measure the pieces over your space. This way, you will be able to identify deficiencies before installation.

Hardwood flooring boards

To sum up, stay and watch with us how to install hardwood flooring in the video tutorial below…

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