Hardwood is considered to be the best type of flooring with regards to its utility, longevity, durability and aesthetics. It scores highly in all the criteria required for a good flooring option. In fact, if installed and maintained properly, it can even be passed on down the generations. The biggest advantage probably stems from the fact that age enhances the character of hardwood giving it a classical beauty which is difficult to find and even more difficult to replicate.
Hardwood floor installation can be divided into certain stages, each of which have their own importance and thus need to be carried out with care and near perfection. The stages include:
- Hardwood flooring preparation: This is perhaps the most crucial part of the whole procedure since it ensures a good quality and durable end result. New wood flooring should always be installed on a base which is clean, level and smooth and also structurally very sound. Hardwood flooring can be laid on:
- An old wood covering,
- A wooden floor in good condition that already exists,
- A new sub-floor made of plywood or
- Even a concrete slab which is moisture proof.
- Hardwood floor layout: For the best result, the direction in which the floor joists supporting the subfloor needs to be determined so that the installation of the hardwood floor can be carried out perpendicular to that. While this process is not mandatory, the result is by far so superior that it is always best to carry out this little exercise. The installation of the hardwood also needs to start from the longest and the most visible single straight wall in the room.
- Cutting and fastening the hardwood floor: Each of these two processes determines the quality of the result. Thus, for cutting of the hardwood, the following points are of great relevance:
- A power saw with a fence is the best tool for ripping the flooring,
- For crosscuts, a power circular saw yields the best results,
- A portable sober saw makes it easier to make irregular cuts and curved ends,
- The boards need to be cut face down when using a circular saw and face up when using a power saw,
- All end cuts need to be perfectly and precisely square.
In order to facilitate proper fastening of the hardwood, they need to be nailed to each other in a continuous and smooth flow so as to make it seem almost seamless. This is done using either of the two processes of:
- Face nailing wherein a power nailer might or might not be used and
- Bling mailer which mandatorily needs a power nailer.
- Flooring: Laying the first three flooring rows is always very crucial since they determine the straightness and neatness of the end result. Hence for installing the first three rows, absolutely straight hardwood flooring boards need to be used. The starter board for each row needs to be carefully and precisely cut so that their lengths vary by atleast 6inches so as to get a staggered row of end-joints. The rows should also be simultaneously installed in a way that the groove of a board in the second row fits in perfectly with the tongue of a first row board. A drill, a nail set and a hammer are mandatory tools that are required for this section of hardwood floor installation.
- Completing the hardwood floor installation: The rest of the rows also need to be dry fit in a staggered manner in the same way so as to give the room a pleasant and smooth appearance and pattern. All the floors but the last three rows then need to be blind nailed using a pneumatic floor nailer. Since blind nailing is not possible in these last few rows, the top nail is used. Any and all face nail holes need to be then filled with wood putty and the excess wiped off to give the whole floor a grand look.
While hardwood floor installation can also be done at home, it is always better to carry it out using experts so that the end result reflects the quality of the hardwood used for the flooring and also ensure longevity with minimum maintenance.
Author Bio: A flooring expert par excellence, the author is an asset to homefloors.ca and is a master in the art of installation and maintenance of hardwood floors. His articles are also extremely popular and can be easily converted into reality because of the simple way in which they are written.