If you have done a good prep job, checking your subsurface, choosing your hardwood flooring with care and carefully planning, then the next step in your process of laying hardwood floor is the actual installation itself.

Stage A: Preparation – See INSTALLATION GUIDE

STAGE B: LAYING THE FLOOR
Step 4: First board and rows
Step 5: General laying procedure
Step 6: Special maneuvering
Step 7: Final rows

Stage C: Final Touches – See INSTALLATION GUIDE

STAGE B: LAYING THE FLOOR

Laying hardwood floor comes down to getting the first and the last rows right. Use the same procedure for the first row to fit the last row. Throughout, measure your spacing, use your chalk line guides, scribe fit any boards that need to be cut and make sure to use spacers. Here are the steps you will need to follow to get a great result:

Step 4: First board and rows

  • Make sure that your first row of flooring is straight. This is the most critical part of laying hardwood floor, and if you get this wrong, the project will be much harder than it should be! Work according to the floor, and your sketches of the dimensions of the room, not the walls. Remember that even walls that look straight can be out of square!
  • Measure out your expansion joint along the longest wall (use two or more points) and snap a chalk line along those points. Remember that hardwood flooring expands and contracts with heat and moisture, and that you need to make allowance for that when laying hardwood flooring.
  • Place the first row of flooring alongside the wall that you are starting the installation on, with the groove facing towards the wall. Dry fit this row (do not apply glue or fixings until it is perfectly straight) and do any scribing necessary. Make sure that you place spacers between the wall and the flooring, so that you maintain your expansion spacing.

Step 5: General laying procedure

  • Once you are satisfied that the first row is as straight and perfect as it’s going to get, remove the boards, and stack them in the order they will be laid. You can also use chalk to mark them if you would like.
  • Using a trowel, apply the adhesive you are using to the sub floor. Make sure that you follow the manufacturers’ instructions to the letter, otherwise you may find that all the hard work you are going to in laying hardwood floor is for nothing a few months, or years down the line. Also, remember to do this in a well-ventilated area! Some adhesives can contain solvents that may be harmful in enclosed spaces.
  • Refit the first row of flooring that you have marked, measured, and cut to size, ensuring that your spacers remain in place along your expansion joint, and that the boards are fully in contact with the adhesive you have applied.
  • As you progress down the first row of flooring, make sure that all joints and tongue and grooves fit snugly, and use small finishing nails to secure them if preferred.
  • Cut the last board in the first row to size, use a pinch bar to fit it, and use a spacer to keep it in place.
  • Once you are happy that the first row is in place, and that it is straight, level and perfect, you can move on to laying the remaining hardwood floor. Start with a short board, and work your way through each row, taking care that the boards are fitted snugly together, and that they are adhering well to the adhesive. If there are any areas where you feel that the hardwood flooring may not be laying correctly on the adhesive, weight that area while you continue.

Step 6: Special maneuvering

You’re likely to come across some obstacles along the way. Closets, additional rooms, doorways and hallways are just a few of the common ones. No sweat! With a few cuts you can fit the pieces of the puzzle and the result will be something you can take pride in.

Step 7: Final rows

  • Follow the same procedure as you did for the first row to fit the last row. Measure your spacing, snap a chalk line, scribe fit any boards that need to be cut, and make sure to use spacers.
  • When your final row is in place then leave the room empty and closed until the flooring has completely set and hardened in place. Impatience may cost you – not to mention ruining your hard work.

Laying hardwood floor is not as difficult as you may believe, although it does take a time and effort to start the job right and get it done right. Just a suggestion, but skimping on materials or trying to cut corners may lead to a project that becomes a much bigger headache than you had hoped.

For the next steps including the final touches, click back to the Installing Hardwood Flooring guide. If you’re sanding and finishing the floor yourself check out Refinishing tab at the left. By the way, congrats on getting this far – take a break to give yourself a pat on the back!

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