It used to be that you had to hire someone to put in your wood floors. Now, there are many different products that come pre-finished from the factory and can be laid out by a do it yourselfer. This saves time in sanding and sealing the floor. In addition, the newer tongue-and-groove products are much easier to install than older types of hardwood flooring products. You will want to tear out all the old flooring and make sure the room is level.
After cleaning and removing debris, lay out a 15-pound asphalt felt on the subfloor. You will need to overlap seams by 3 inches. Staple it to the floor. This will be where you will lay out the chalk lines to for straight edges. Any flooring that you receive will need to be bought into the room and allowed to sit for a few days.
This will allow the product to acclimate itself to the humidity in the room. Wood has a way of expanding and contracting in accordance with humidity levels. The first three rows will be nailed in manually, but after that you can take advantage of modern technology by using a flooring nailer. These you can rent at any home improvement store and return once the job is done.
You will also need a rubber mallet to strike the plunger and drive the nails through the groove into the floor below. Continue laying out your flooring, perpendicular to the floor joists, leaving ½ inch space around the perimeter of the room for further wood expansion or contraction. Stagger the boards so that they the end joint on each subsequent board is at least 6 inches away from the next board.
The space around the perimeter of the room will be covered with the addition of base shoe or baseboard molding. In the event that you have a transition from one room to another, you may need to add a transition strip between the two floors to make them level. While laying wooden floors is simpler now than ever before, it still requires some experience cutting the baseboards and planks. Many do it yourselfers are already familiar with using a radial arm saw or a power miter saw.
If you are not, you will want to practice first before attempting to use these cutting tools with your floorboards. There is a bit of skill and persistence to putting down a wood floor that you can be proud to say you did yourself. If you follow the guidelines given by the manufacturer, odds are you can do a good job. Try to avoid getting the floors wet while you are working and afterwards too.
Moisture is something that can easily damage a wood floor. Make sure that buy more planks than you need so that you don't run out and have trouble getting more. When you are done, you will still need to maintain the wood floor to keep it in top shape for years to come.
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