How To Install Hardwood Floors In Your Home
When it comes to home design, there are few things as classic as hardwood floors. They’re in the glossy pages of design magazines and they’re the shiny prize of every home remodel show. With such a big reputation, you’d think hardwood floors have been the norm in America for hundreds of years.
Believe it or not, hardwood floors as we know them today are a relatively new feature of American homes. While wood was the first choice for homes in the past, these floors were built with thick planks from old lumber. The floors would be left untreated so they’d be more durable and built to last. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that we saw an emergence of the polished hardwood floors we know today.
Home buyers today increasingly want homes that are move-in ready, and many buyers consider flooring to be one of the most important factors in choosing a home. In fact, hardwood floors are considered the best return on investment when it comes to renovating your flooring. In this guide, we’ll discuss how to install hardwood floors in your own home so you can relish this design classic for decades to come.
Can You Install Hardwood Floors Yourself?
One of the first questions budget-crunching homeowners have is whether they can install hardwood floors themselves. While in the past you would need a professional to make sure the job is done right, it’s easier than ever to DIY your own flooring without any experience.
There have been big advancements in the ways hardwood floors are constructed which make them easier to install. Some, for instance, are built pre-finished so you don’t have to seal or finish the flooring yourself. These are big improvements, but you’ll still need to keep in mind your expectations when choosing to DIY a project like this.
A professional can certainly get the job done faster, and they might also be willing to work with you. For instance, you might be able to tackle some of the project yourself, but you’d rather a pro come in for the finishing touches. If you do the job yourself, you’ll need to factor in the cost of materials as well as the time it’ll take to figure out all of the steps. However, the savings might be worth it.
Installing Hardwood Floors in Your Home
Now, let’s break down the different steps of installing your own hardwood floors. If you work quickly, this process can be done in as little as 2 days as long as you’re careful with your measurements. You’ll need both woodworking tools as well as measuring tools. For the flooring, you’ll need to accurately measure the are of your house and order a little more wood to be safe. A home improvement store can help with measurements and ordering.
- Measure – Start by measuring your space. You’ll need the square footage. It’s common to add 10-15% extra to account for any mistakes.
- Check Your Sub-Floor – You’ll need at least a three-quarter inch plywood sub-floor. Check this for any squeaks which will need to be screwed down with a drywall screw.
- Pre-Installation – Next, apply vapor barrier paper over the floor which will separate the plywood from the hardwood.
- Start Your Installation – To start, begin at the longest unobstructed wall. Use a chalk line to leave space from the baseboards that allow for expansion. Select a long board for your first row and align it with your chalk line. Add pilot holes down through the plank to the sub-floor. Face-nail each board. When laying the rest of the boards in the row, remember to keep them random lengths.
- Staple Your Boards – After laying a few rows, drill pilot holes into the tongues of every board. Next, use a pneumatic nail gun to drive a staple into the tongue of the plank.
- Last Boards – For the last board, there might be a narrow gap. If so, take a measurement to fit it into place exactly. Finally, replace your shoe molding in the room and putty your nail holes that are face-nailed. Make sure your wood putty matches the floor so it looks natural.
- Maintenance – Remember that your hardwood floor will need regular maintenance to look its best and last a long time. Use a floor cleaning kit with a damp cloth regularly.
These are all of the steps to DIY your own hardwood floors. Though it’s not overly complicated, it does take a lot of precision to get the measurements right the first time. It’s possible to do this yourself, but it’s always wise to consult with a professional before starting a new project on your home.
Hardwood floors add value to your property and they look great. Is your home in need of this modern upgrade? If so, it might be easier than you think.