We are a young couple remodeling our first house...one outdated / ugly thing at a time. This blog documents our remodel projects and ideas.


Hardwood Floor Installation - DIY Style

Yesssss! We installed the hardwood floors! After tearing out the built-insdemoing the fireplace, and removing the carpet, it was time for the much feared anticipated installation...and of course we did all the work ourselves with the enlisted help of my parentals. What - did you think we would hire out the installation? Of course not, we are DIYers! And this was a first for this little DIYer. I have installed hardwood floor to a wood sub floor using a nail gun, but we are on a concrete slab and this installation was a whole new ballgame.
To keep this from being the longest how-to post ever, I'm not going to bore you with every single detail of the installation. If you want the details, hit me up on the contact page with any questions and I'll be more than happy to fill you in. I am thankful that we only laid hardwood in the living room. Not because it is hard to do (it was actually easy), but it will make you feel like you are 108 years old the next day. Trust me. Being on your knees on concrete all day is not fun.

Okay, let's get started with the tutorial! The needed supplies to install engineered hardwood floors include hardwood (duh), adhesive, square-notch trowel, white rubber mallet (white won't scuff the floor), tape, a mitre saw, and knee pads for good measure. And some words of advice, make sure the floor is completely clean before you start. The adhesive is very sticky and you don't want any debris getting into it and under the hardwood. The only "rule" of laying hardwood floors is to make sure that none of the joints are next to each other. And when laying the floor, be sure to only beat on the groove side so you don't ruin the tongue side. Here is a picture of the tongue and groove:
Step 1 - Glue. Using the trowel, spread a semi-thin layer of the glue onto a section of the concrete starting in a corner. Make sure to go longer along the wall than deeper so you will be able to reach and lay the hardwood. Go back over the glue, holding the notched side of the trowel at a 45 degree angle to create ridges. (Use the same method on the hardwood adhesive as with tile adhesive.) Let the glue setup for about 10 minutes before you lay the hardwood. Step 1 is done. Easy, huh?

Step 2 - Lay Hardwood. After the glue has setup and become tacky, you can start laying the hardwood. The first piece and row are the most important because it is the baseline for the rest. Lay the first piece down, making sure that the groove side is towards you and the tongue is facing the wall. This way the tongue won't become damaged if we have to hammer a piece into place. Continue laying the hardwood until you have covered the glue. If a piece is stubborn and doesn't want to go into place, use the rubber mallet to tap it into place. Also, tap the pieces along the groove side once they are laid down to ensure a snug fit. When you get to the end of a row, cut the last board to the appropriate length with the mitre saw.
You can see the adhesive on the floor and the stair-step install of the hardwood. This picture is looking down toward the extra bedrooms. The hall used to have carpet in it, just like the living room; however, it now will have hardwood. Only the bedrooms will have carpet now.

Step 3 - Tape. This isn't a requirement; however, if you are going to walk on the floor I would suggest it. We placed a strip of gorilla tape (which is the best tape ever) every few feet just to make sure the hardwood wouldn't move. And between the stickiest adhesive and the best tape, that floor didn't go anywhere.

Step 4. - Repeat. Keep gluing, laying, and taping until the floor is done.

That's it folks. Like I said, it really wasn't hard - just don't tell my knees it wasn't hard. Laying the hardwood is easy work. The hardest part for us was blending in the new with the old, and it was all because of that carpet inset we removed. The hardwood floor going into the sun room was straight cut across and we couldn't lay the hardwood down with a straight cut end in the middle of the floor. To fix this straight cut end, we had to tear up a few boards of the old floor so the new floor would blend in. Like this:
My lovely mom is tearing up some of the old floor so it will be staggered instead of straight cut. This was not an easy task. But, we succeeded and got all the hardwood installed.

Now we need to sand it all down and get it ready for refinishing, which of course we will do it all ourselves. Are you a DIY hardwood floor installer? Or do you prefer to have the pros install?

Psss - We also sanded and refinished the floor, total DIY of course. Here is the rundown on sanding and my how-to refinish here.


Julie said...

You make it sound so easy! I want to install wood floors in our entire downstairs plus our staircase. You are giving me confidence that my hubbie and I can DIY it :) I'm visiting form TDC's Before and After Party!

Julie said...

Great Work! We re-finished our hardwood floors before we moved in to our house and that was a lot of work!
Have a great day!

Amanda said...

I've included this how-to in a round up on Craft Gossip today
http://homeandgarden.craftgossip.com/9-great-how-tos-for-your-home/ Thanks for sharing it! :)

If you would like a "featured by" button, you can grab one here!

Anonymous said...

We just refinished our hard wood floor I was much easier that we thought it would be. I turned out beautiful and we think it looks better that the original finish when the floor was new.

vancouver install custom hardwood said...

These tips shared for the hardwood installation are helpful for me. My home floor had got old and rubbish. So I want to install hardwood over there.

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