Not only is hardwood flooring beautiful and durable, but installing hardwood floors in your home also increases the resale value of your house. Before jumping right in and installing hardwood flooring throughout your home, though, it’s essential to be familiar with the basics of this type of flooring, learn how to install hardwood floors, and review some tips that will help you be successful when it comes time to upgrade your home with some beautiful hardwood.
Here are the Benefits of Hardwood Floors
Everything about hardwood flooring imparts a feeling of grandeur and stability to your home. While other types of flooring attempt to mimic hardwood, there’s nothing like the feeling of actual wood under your feet. Hardwood floors are also incredibly durable and last much longer than other types of flooring. For instance, while there’s not much that you can do to stop carpet decaying and becoming filthy over the years, hardwood floors that are correctly installed and cared for can last for the entire life of your house.
Hardwood is easy to clean, and while it can get scuffed, you can almost always just sand and refinish the scuffed area. Hardwood floors have better acoustics than any other type of flooring and promote better air quality in your home. While flooring options like carpet release particles into the air, hardwood contains no fibers or grout lines, making it one of the healthiest choices for flooring in your home.
Understand the Different Types of Hardwood Flooring
Different varieties of wood can be used for hardwood floors. The most commonly used types are maple, oak, and cherry. Bamboo hardwood flooring has also become incredibly popular in recent years even though bamboo is technically a type of grass. Other common types of wood used in hardwood flooring are walnut and ash, and you can pay extra to enjoy the benefits of rare species of wood like mahogany, teak, mesquite, and jarrah.
While solid hardwood is the highest quality option for the floors in your home, there’s another option available called engineered wood. The best application for engineered wood is in basements that are subject to fluctuations in the humidity since this type of hardwood is formed of various layers of wood that are all glued together.
Solid wood floors expand and contract in humid conditions which can lead to damage to your floors or walls while engineered wood doesn’t expand as much. However, engineered wood is not as durable or long-lasting. Given the fact that it’s constructed of various layers instead of one solid piece, you’ll only be able to sand it once or twice before you break through the top layer of wood.
When selecting the right type of hardwood flooring for your home, you’ll also want to decide whether you want your wood finished or unfinished. If you’re planning on applying a custom stain before the final finish, you’ll want to receive your hardwood flooring unfinished. But if you’re not planning to make any alterations to the floor before installation, you’ll want to purchase hardwood that’s already sanded, finished, and sealed.
How to Install Hardwood Floors Yourself
Installing your own hardwood floors can be a fun and rewarding experience if done correctly. However, installing hardwood flooring is harder than it looks and you’ll only have one chance to do it right. Review these simple steps before getting started to make sure that your flooring installation goes off without a hitch.
Step #1: Measure
Measuring the area where you’ll be installing new hardwood floors is quite possibly the most crucial step of the whole process. There’s an old adage which warns, “Measure twice and cut once”. But in the case of hardwood flooring, it’s better to measure twice and then measure again to make sure. We always recommend that you order about 10% extra wood above and beyond your measurements to account for measuring errors and defective planks.
Step #2: Subfloor
Check the subflooring for any squeakiness or damage. Remove the shoe molding along the walls and clean the floor thoroughly with a broom and vacuum cleaner.
Step #3: Install the vapor barrier
Roll strips of vapor barrier over the floor, allowing for at least 4 inches of overlap on each side. Once arranged perfectly, securely staple the vapor barrier to the subfloor.
Step #4: Begin installation
Begin installing your wood flooring at the largest unobstructed wall. Make sure to leave about 3/8 of an inch between the flooring and the wall to allow for expansion caused by changes in the weather.
Step #5: Face nails
For the first few rows of boards, drill pilot holes through the boards and face-nail the boards in place. Then, fill the gaps with wood putty for a perfect seal.
Step #6: Pneumatic nail gun
For the remainder of the boards, use a pneumatic nail gun to secure the boards into place. Place the lip of the gun on the edge of the board and strike with the mallet to drive the nail through the tongue of the board.
Step #7: Fill in the gaps
If any holes are leftover once you’ve laid all the boards into place, cut boards as necessary to fill in the gaps. Be sure to leave a 3/8 inch clearance between the filler board and the wall.
Step #8: Fill in the holes
Replace the shoe molding around the edge of the room and insert wood putty into all of the holes left behind by the nails; this completes your hardwood flooring installation.
You don’t have to install hardwood floors yourself. You can save yourself the effort by hiring a specialist. The bottom line is that the investment will be worth it when the value of your home is increased.
This guest post contribution was provided by MacDonald Hardwoods, a hardwood flooring store in Denver, Colorado. For over three decades, Macwoods serviced Colorado with a large selection of hardwood flooring and floor maintenance services, including cleaning and flooring installation.