Where Can Hardwood Flooring Be Installed?

Hardwood flooring may be installed on subfloors whether on grade or above grade:

Concrete Subfloors

Concrete floors must completely be moisture-free. Hardwood flooring should only be installed over concrete floors that have been in place for at least 30 days.

Wood Subfloors

OSB board or plywood that are movement-free and structurally secured.

Other Flooring Systems

Hardwood flooring can be installed over vinyl, stone or tile floors. Integrity of these flooring systems need to be checked before installing the hardwood flooring. As much as possible never install hardwood flooring areas with high levels of moisture. Natural hardwood tends to expand and contract when exposed to high moisture.

Solid Hardwood VS. Engineered Hardwood

Whether solid or engineered, the unmatched beauty of hardwood remains the same. Each type of solid hardwood flooring has its own benefits providing you with an awesome and long-lasting flooring system.  Solid hardwood flooring is a single piece of wood available in thickness of between 5/8 to ¾ inches. It can be refinished and sanded numerous times. It is not recommended for installation in below-grade basements because it can twist, warp, expand and contract depending on the level of humidity.

Engineered hardwood is made up of several layers of wood, often plywood with real wood on the top layer. It is thinner than solid hardwood and is available in thickness of between 1/16 to 3/16 inches, thinner than solid hardwood.

Engineered hardwood can be used in all areas of the home (above-grade and below-grade) because it is resistant to changes in the humidity and extreme temperatures.  It comes pre-finished thus it no longer needs to be finished and sanded. Engineered hardwood can only be refinished and sanded once or twice in its lifetime depending on its thickness. In summary, solid hardwood flooring is a single piece of wood and engineered hardwood is made of layers of wood with the top layer being solid hardwood. Tongue and groove plank designs are available for both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood flooring.

Pre-Finished versus Unfinished

Pre-finished hardwood flooring comes sealed, sanded and already with a protective finish making installation quick. The floor is ready for use immediately upon installation. Unfinished hardwood flooring still needs to be sealed, sanded and given a protective finish on site. This type of hardwood flooring is ideal when you need to apply a custom stain before the final finish.

Nail Down

This installation method is ideal for thin solid hardwood and engineered hardwood floorings. Nails are used to secure the wood flooring to the subfloor. When this method is used on thick wood, nailing cleats are required. This installation method should only be used on above grade or wooden subfloors.

Nails are also best used for harder hardwood floors. Different species of hardwood vary in hardness as measured by the Janka Scale. This is to say that maple, walnut, and ebony to name a few species have different ratings of hardness.

Exotic woods which is often harder should be installed with nails. Using staples will require more force to get the staples to bite which may cause splitting of the planks of hardwood.

Glue Down

This installation method is ideal for solid hardwood flooring 5/16 thick, parquets and engineered hardwood floors. A hard wearing adhesive is used to bond the wood to the subfloor. The glue down method allows the hardwood to stay securely in place for extremely long years adding a semblance of permanence.

Staple Down

This installation method uses staples instead of nails to attach the hardwood to the subfloor. It is a simpler method than using nails. This installation method is ideal for 5/8-inch engineered hardwood floors or thinner.  Wooden flooring installed through stapling are more tightly secured to the subfloor than when nails are used.

Floating Installation

This installation method requires an underlayment pad between the hardwood flooring and the subfloor to serve as a cushion. This is an easy and fast installation method and reduces noise when the floor is walked on. It also makes the hardwood flooring softer to walk on. This method can be used on any type of subfloor.

In the floating method, hardwood is not directly attached to the subfloor thus it has a bit more room to move to allow the wood’s natural expansion and contraction process.

Tongue and groove hardwood planks are similar to puzzle pieces. Each piece is designed to fit into another piece. It does not mean though that the tongue is simply slipped into the groove. Tongue and groove hardwood planks still need to be nailed or stapled, to the subfloor. Engineered hardwood floors can be glued or floating aside from being nailed or stapled.

Our Simple Process to New Beautiful Hardwood Floors

Installing hardwood flooring will ensure an awesome, beautiful and durable floors for your home. it also adds value to your home. All benefits of hardwood flooring can only be gained when installation is properly done.  When you remove any existing flooring system, what remains is either a concrete or plywood subfloor. Preparing the subfloor or surface is the most import part of installing hardwood flooring. Proper preparation will ensure a hassle-free and successful hardwood flooring installation.

Clean the subfloor. Get rid of all debris, dust and dirt as well as all existing adhesives and any coatings. Use an electric sander to remove and signs of previous paints and adhesives. It you will be using the nail down locking (tongue and groove) or floating methods, a vacuum can be used to get rid of all dirt and dust.
Level the subfloor. The subfloor should not have any bumps. A level subfloor will ensure the hardwood flooring will not sag or creak and will perfectly fit together. Use a spirit level to check the if the subfloor is level. If there are high spots, an electric sander should sand down the area. If there are low spots, fill the spot with a leveling compound.
Verify the level of moisture of the subfloor. Subfloors that are excessively dry will cause the hardwood to creak and crack. Subfloors with high levels of moisture will cause the hardwood to warp. You can check the level of moisture of the subfloor can be done with moisture meter.
Remove all moldings and doors and door casings in the installation area.
Keep the hardwood flooring in the room where it is to be installed at least a day prior to installation. This will allow the hardwood to blend with the environment.

Do-It-Yourself versus Professional Installation

As is always true with all DIY projects, if you have the skills, right equipment, time and patient, doing hardwood flooring installation is an easy task. Installation using nails, staples or glue though can be a challenging task.

If you are unsure, it is always best to call in the professionals. They will do the job right on the first try so you can immediately enjoy your new hardwood flooring.