Installing Hardwood Flooring
Do It Like a Pro & Love It For Life

To Install wood floor products like a pro is not difficult. Like anything else it mostly requires good "how-to" information. Here's some ideas, designed to answer the most common questions, specifically on how to install a standard 3/4" "nail down" strip hardwood flooring,

If you haven't already read up on the steps necessary to prepare your room for hardwood floor installation, then before you leave this site it might be a good idea to scan that article as well.

This is not meant to replace a professional installer, only to offer a little help for the motivated, brave sole that wishes to install the flooring themselves.

Here's some ideas...

Where to start your hardwood flooring?

Pick the longest, most visible wall to start your installation. Start by laying down a chalk line 1/2" from the wall and extent it the full length. This is where your first row of flooring will go.

Remember for maximum performance strip flooring must be nailed down at opposite directions to the floor joists.

How do I nail down the first few rows? My nailer hits the wall so I can't use it.

The first few rows must be face nailed (from the top surface of the wood down), with the groove facing the wall and the tongue side facing the room. You must predrill a hole into the wood, close to the groove side, then using a 2" spiral finishing nails, attach the flooring to the subfloor, following along your chalk line.

Use the longest, straightest boards for the first row. Once they have been nailed in place, go back and nail the same boards through the tongue, predrilling and nailing at an angle. After the third row or so is in place you can use a Manual or Pneumatic floor nailer.

A floor nail or cleat should be set into each floor joist, assuming 16" spacing and an additional nail between each set. This should result in a spacing of every 8" to 10" as recommended by the National Flooring Association. Each board must have a minimum of two nails each.

Lay out multiple rows ahead of you. Remove any boards you are unhappy with and use them in a closet. Never cluster darker boards under a bed. The bed may get moved later on! Assure that no two boards end in the same place. Alter lengths, to stager joints 6" apart.

Inspect each piece for defects. Most quality manufacturers are careful in cutting out any damage, but humans are sorting the wood and can miss a piece. Some defects don't always show up right away, and develop in transit, so all manufacturers put the responsibility on the installer to do the final inspection at the job site.

What do I do when I hit the far wall?

The last 2 or 3 rows will have to be hand nailed in the same way as you started the floor. Often the last row will not fit a full strip of flooring. You must cut to width enough flooring to hand nail the last row, leaving enough space that when all is said and done there remains a 1/2" expansion space between the wall and the wood.

Well that is all you need to know to install a wood floor... good luck, have fun

Further Information:
Hardwood Floor Installation
Acclimatizing a Hardwood Floor