How to Install Solid Hardwood Floors

How to Install Solid Hardwood Floors


Solid hardwood flooring looks great in any
home, and it can add to the value of your house. We’ll show you how to install solid hardwood
flooring. If you haven’t prepped your floor, do that
first. You can learn about that in our subfloor prep video. Speaking of subfloors, ¾-inch solid hardwood
needs to be installed with nails over plywood, on or above grade in your home–not in a basement
and not directly on concrete. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for
specifics. Here’s a quick overview of the installation.
Run the flooring along the length of the room with an expansion gap at the perimeter—solid
hardwood expands and contracts. Stagger the joints at least 6-inches and also avoid H
joints, in other words don’t allow the joints to line up unless there are at least two rows
between them. It’s smart to calcuate the width of the
last row too. If it will be less than 1-inch, consider cutting the first row by half. Before you get started, determine how much
flooring you’ll need by multiplying the length times width of the room to get the
square footage. Add about 10% extra for any warped or damaged boards.
When you have your flooring, let it acclimate to the room temperature and humidity for at
least 72 hours. Typically, you remove the flooring from the boxes and stack it in the
room. This is a good time to check for any warped or defective boards. Hold onto them–you
can use the bad pieces to help pry the last row into place. Also you might be able to
cut off the damaged parts and use the good pieces for your install. When the flooring has acclimated, pick out
the straightest boards for the first two rows. Hold the first board on the starting line
you snapped during prep, groove side toward the wall. Set spacers for the expansion gap—typically
¾-inches. Face nail about ½-inch from the tongue side, starting about 3-inches from
the ends, and generally every 6-inches in between. We’re using an air nail gun, but
drill pilot holes if you’re using a hammer and nail set. Tap the next piece in place with a tapping
block and mallet, and continue face nailing. You can fill the nail holes with matching
floor putty later. When you get to the end, cut the board to
fit. Remember to account for the expansion gap. Place the board face up, and cut with
a flooring blade. Then install. Now blind nail at a 45-degree angle every six inches.
If using a hammer and nails be sure to drill pilot holes. To start the second row, push the groove onto
the tongue of the first row and tap the boards together with a tapping block. Keep installing
the next few rows this way, staggering the joints at least 6-inches. It’s a little
slow now, but the installation will pick up once you have enough room to use a flooring
nailer. To use the flooring nailer hold it against
the flooring tongue, and hit it with a hammer, and hit it again, and again, spacing the nails. Continue installing the rest of the floor,
staggering the joints and maintaining the expansion gaps. Mix boards from different
boxes so you don’t have patches of similar color or grains. Cut around any obstructions like vents or
columns. When you get to the last few rows where the
flooring nailer won’t fit, blind nail where you can. For the last two rows you’ll have
to face nail along the tongue side. To fit the very last row, cut the pieces–
keeping in mind the expansion gap. Use a pull bar to wedge the pieces in place. Then face
nail. If the last strip will be less than 1-inch
wide, glue it to the previous row. Finish up by cutting the excess underlayment,
filling nail holes with wood putty and reattaching the baseboards and shoe moulding. Attach the
trim to the wall, not the floor. Then attach the transitions. And it’s finished. Solid hardwood definitely adds a rich look
to this room. Want more great ideas and how-to’s? Go to
Lowes.com/HowTo or click Subscribe. If you’re looking for another hardwood flooring
option, check out How to Install Engineered Wood Flooring.

46 thoughts on “How to Install Solid Hardwood Floors

  1. IF wood peices are warped, why would I buy it?  This video basically just tells consumers "Yeah, we threw some warped boards in there, deal with it."

  2. i have been told to install solid timber floor. you need to glue and nailed it.
    in this video only nailed . its right way to install or wrong?

  3. My dad wants my sister and I to install wood flooring on our own to save money and he made it seem so easy but after seeing this video, i think its better to pay for the service lol

  4. "warped"
    "bad"
    "defective"
    "damaged"
    In the PLAN & PREP portion of the video, these four words are used to describe brand-new boards…PRE-installation! Now, as a consumer, please tell me why I should accept, much less pay for, a bad, damaged, or defective product. If I were buying ceramic tiles or brick pavers, and some of them were found to be broken, chipped or cracked, I would exchange or return them for new, first-quality product. Why does this same standard of quality not apply to hardwood flooring?

  5. the only things I saw was 1, the underpayment should not have been up against the wall, there should have been a 3/8" gap, and 2 if you're going to use quarter round then you shouldn't need putty if you nail the boards on the edges because the trim would hide the holes. 3, I'd glue the grooves of the last rows where the gun wouldn't fit instead of face nailing them. Other than that, thumbs up

  6. Help Help…more help- My sub floor moisture is 7% but the actual floor that will be installed in 0%. It has not been acclimated yet. I read there should be more than 4% variance…. While 7% is normal for subfloor- What am I suppose to do if the top floor is 0%???

  7. What are the pros and cons of using a hammer and nail set over a nail gun? I have a brad nail gun, which I assume is good enough?

  8. very cool.
    I just refinished 900 square foot of oak floors. I didn't use non-powered hand tools though. I had to start by pulling out about 1500 staples…. There was carpet installed on top. Then I had to scrape off the paint. One of the prevoius owners used a spray rig to paint the trim. There was Paint about 18 inches in from all the walls. Anyway. I used a BLO finish with paste wax. Three coats of BLO and two of wax. Then used a buffer. I figured it would be easier to redo spots with that finish. We have Three small dogs and a boatload of kids and grand-kids. Even after five weeks of work, the floor has a bit more "Character" than I would like. But it is way better than the carpet that we pulled out. Looking forward to seeing you use a plane on that floor. Keep it up!

  9. Great video on sanding wood floors , want a step by step guide to sanding and polish wood floors click here !! https://goo.gl/xjvszw

  10. Yeah I'm good with all that. I could do it myself, but this is the type of job I'd rather hire somebody to do for me. Looks like a pain in the ass.

  11. can u install the 3/4 wooden boards by gluing them into vinyl tiles if they are well attached to the concrete , ?

  12. Why face nail the entire first row instead of the last piece in the first row. Why not face nail the entire row? or why not blind nail the entire row? Also what is the method I need to use in order to figure up if I need to cut my first row in half?

  13. I have 4 dogs and 4 cats inside, while I do keep a tidy home vacuuming everyday, I would enjoy hard wood flooring with an occasional area rug. Thanks for the video.

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