Engineered Hardwood Floor Installation: Part 1

Engineered Hardwood Floor Installation: Part 1

The stunning look of new hardwood makes any
home great. It comes in many colors and species to match the style of your home. You can choose
traditional solid hardwood, OR a more budget-friendly alternative, engineered hardwood. You can install engineered hardwood several
ways: staple down, glue down, nail and floating. Your application will depend on your subfloor
and specific product. For each method you’ll need to prep your
subfloor. Lay out any underlayment, if needed, and mark a starting line. You can see how
in our online video. Here are some tips for all methods. Let your
flooring acclimate to the room temperature and humidity for at least 72 hours. Some products
need to be removed from the boxes, others don’t. Check the instructions–follow the
specifics for installation. Also, before you get started check for warped
and defective boards. A few bad pieces are not uncommon.
And it’s a good idea to install the boards from several boxes to mix up color and shades.
Add up the flooring width to calculate the width of the last row. If it’s skinnier
than 1-inch, cut the first row in half. While you’re installing, try to keep a few
things in mind. Maintain the recommended expansion gap at the perimeter of the room, always stagger
the joints about 6-inches, and avoid stair-stepping and H joints. Try to get a few rows between
joints that are lined up. Got it? Let’s get to work. Of all the installation methods floating is
the easiest. It works great over existing vinyl. And some flooring even locks together
to make the installation even easier. To start be sure you’ve prepped the floor
with underlayment and layout lines. Use the longest, straightest boards for row one, and
set your first piece on the starting line—tongue side facing the wall. Place spacers against
the wall to maintain the expansion gap, typically about ½-inch for floating. On the next piece, overlap the boards so the
end joint is tight. Work left to right to finish up row one. At the end you might need
to cut. Set the piece face up and cut. For row two, angle the piece into the first
row and fold flat to lock it in place. Same thing for the next piece. You can use a tapping
block to help lock pieces together, then just keep going. It’s that easy. Remember to keep your joints tight and staggered
at least 6-inches. Cut around any obstructions like vents or
columns. To get under doorjambs with locking engineered you might have to shave off the
ledge of the groove in the previous row. Apply a bead of glue to both pieces and slide into
place. Hold the pieces together with painter’s tape until the glue dries. When you get to the end, you might need to
use a pull bar to wedge the final strips in place. That finishes the floating installation. Want more great ideas and how-to’s? Go to or click Subscribe. To see the other installations, like how to
glue down on concrete, check out Part Two.

25 thoughts on “Engineered Hardwood Floor Installation: Part 1

  1. I am installing a 3/8" thick tongue and grove engineered flooring. I plan on nailing through the tongue as you show, but not sure if I should use 16 or 18 gauge nails ? Help anyone?

  2. for a 5/8 Bamboo, staples 18ga or finish nails? I tried cleats 16 and break everything and I am also afraid of 18 cleats!

  3. what was that sander that was being use on the concrete floor in video, I have a slight imperfections in concrete can I use that tool?

  4. This looks amazing. It is really tough installing engineered wood, it takes a lot of time and hard work. I really appreciate the work of carpenters who invest their time and energy in making the house more beautiful.

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