Tips to Help You Install a Hardwood Floor

When choosing flooring, people often opt to choose materials that are long-lasting, durable and easy to clean. Ceramic floor tiles and porcelain floor tiles are a popular choice for rooms that are likely to become wet, such as the bathroom or the kitchen. For other rooms where water is not an issue, hardwood flooring is the perfect choice.

If you are not confident at DIY, then most joiners and builders have experience of fitting this type of flooring. However, if you are willing to try fitting it yourself, it is not as difficult a task as you might expect. Here is a step-by-step-guide to completing this task.

1) Measure the Room
Measure the room at the longest and widest points. Multiply these two measurements and this will give you the square footage. You need to know this to buy the right amount. Remember to add on 15% to this figure to allow for wastage.

2) Choose Your Flooring 
Choose the flooring that best suits your needs and matches the style you are trying to create.

3) Check the Current Floor and Prepare 
Look at the existing floorboards in the room. Are they even? Also, look for squeaky floorboards and nail these down. Next, prepare the floor by removing any shoe-moulding and sweeping through thoroughly.

4) Lay Vapour Barrier Paper 
Allowing a 4" overlap, lay out the strips of vapour barrier paper and staple to the floor. While you are doing this, mark along the skirting boards where the joists are located in the room.

5) Layout the Boards
It can be helpful to lay out a few boards before beginning to install them as this helps you to visualise what they will look like and where they will go.

6) Fit the First Board 
It is important to start in the right place. This should be at the longest wall with no obstructions. Next, you need to snap a chalk line 3/8" out from the baseboard as this will allow for expansion. You should then choose a longboard to begin.

7) Place the Boards 
Align the board to the chalk line and drill a pilot hole through the board and the sub floor. At the point of the joists, face-nail the board and then use a nail-set to set the nail. The boards should be laid perpendicular to the floor joists.

8) Hand-Nail the Rolls 
Once you have installed two rows, drill a pilot hole through the tongue of every board and then hand-nail the boards. You will only need to do this until there is sufficient clearance for a pneumatic nail gun.

9) Staple the Boards 
Next, you will need a pneumatic nail gun. Position the lip of the gun over the edge of the board. Strike firmly with a mallet to drive the nail through the tongue of the board. There should be a nail approximately every 10".

10) How to Cut Up To Skirting Boards 
Choose pieces that will fit in the space and then leave between 10" and 12" and cut off there. Use the other piece to start the next row you lay.

11) Clearance Problems 
Using the pneumatic drill when you get close to the walls is tricky because of the clearance issue. Instead, drill pilot holes and face-nail the boards in these areas.

12) Last Boards 
Sometimes there is only a narrow space for the last boards. If this is the case, you will need to cut the boards lengthwise to fit. Remember to leave room for expansion.

13) Use Wood Putty (plastic wood) 
Buy wood putty that matches the flooring and then fill all the nail holes with this. By doing so, you will create a better finish to the job.

With a little patience and by following these step-by-step instructions, you should have wooden flooring that looks fantastic. If the skills needed are beyond your capabilities, then seek the support of an expert and remember you can now buy realistic wood-effect porcelain floor tiles instead if you need to tile a kitchen or bathroom floor.