Hardwood Floor Installation: Site Preparation
Step 1. Job Site Preparation for a Wood Floor
The most critical step that many do it yourself hardwood floor
installations are missing is adequate site preparation even BEFORE
any hardwood flooring arrives.
A subfloor that is rigid enough, level and adequately screwed
is a great starting point for diy installation. Wood Flooring
requires attention to humidity, so knowing and maintaining correct
moisture levels in the house will assure a stable floor.
These two elements, the right subfloor and the right environment,
are essential when learning how to install hardwood flooring!
What is considered an adequate subfloor?
Aspenite or any other particle board product is not considered
to be suitable for nail down hardwood floors. It neither holds
nails adequately or has enough strength to prevent saging.The
National Hardwood Flooring Association recommends that all 3/4"
flooring be nailed down onto a minimum of 5/8" tongue and
groove plywood or 5/8" oriented strand board (OSB).
It is essential that the subfloor be screwed down securily to
the underlying floor joists.. but don't go crazy or you'll not
be able to nail the flooring down in place without hitting all
the screws. Once that has been completed, although it may seem
kind of stupid, it is a good idea to jump around on every corner
of the floor, to locate any remaining squeaks. Add additional
screws and reblock the floor from underneath as necessary. Don't
let anyone convince you that squeaking can be solved by nailing
down your flooring. At that point, it is usually too late!
Where it is difficult to add screws, try some of the fantastic
construction adheasives like PL premium, and glue in support blocks
behind ducting or in any other locations that are difficult to
I'd like to install wood floor in a new house,
are there any special issues here?
It is a great idea to spend ten dollars and buy a humidistat
to measure the relative humidity in your home. New houses are
notorious for very high humidity. You have cement foundations
drying, new paint and drywall, all adding moisture into this environment.
You should not bring into the home or even think of installing
a new wood floor in Northern Ontario until the humidity is below
55%. If you install your wood flooring prematurely, under excessively
high humidity, its guaranteed to swell and compress the edges
of the wood. During the first dry winter these same boards will
show significant cracks as they react to a much dryer environment.
The game plan is to have a home environment on the day of installation
that represents the "yearly average" humidity common
in your part of the world. If the moisture content of the flooring
is also at this "yearly average" than the hardwood floor
installation will be a success.
How to Install Hardwood Flooring