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Hardwood Floors "The How to install Guide"

Updated on April 9, 2015

Some tools Needed

Hardwood Floor Nailer
Hardwood Floor Nailer | Source
Other basic tools
Other basic tools | Source

Tools and other things Needed

Tools Needed

Tape Measure


Razor Knife

Small Pry Bar

Powered Flooring gun

Nail Set

Miter Saw

Rubber Head Hammer

Flooring Nails


Wood putty

10p finish nails

Getting Started on Your Floor

Furnace Vents removed and Trim Off
Furnace Vents removed and Trim Off | Source
Bull Nose Edge Used on Steps and Landings
Bull Nose Edge Used on Steps and Landings | Source
Bull Nose Used on Landing Edges
Bull Nose Used on Landing Edges | Source
Bull Nose Installed
Bull Nose Installed | Source

Getting Started

The first thing that you want to do is measure the room to figure out the square footage. Also figure out what you are going to need around the different edges that you will encounter. See Photo. I found that sometimes a lot of the different pieces that you will need have got to be acquired before you begin. Sometimes I have to buy unstained pieces in order to make it work right. When you have to do that it is better to buy them before hand and have them stained before you actually start the job. Always make sure that you have enough, I always try to buy a few extra. Sometimes they have small defects that you don’t see until you start the job. Also bring the material into the room and let it sit and become acclimated a few days to the temperature and humidity of where it is going to be installed. Also buy a small can of stain that matches the color of whatever you are installing. I recommend if it is prefinished flooring to use Minwax Wood Finish it Penetrates, Stains and Seals all in one. Also if you have to face nail any pieces then you can putty the hole and apply a small drop. Face nailing is not something that you want to do unless you have to.

Next remove all furniture from the area that you intend to install flooring.

Remove all baseboard from the edges and return any nails that happen to be in them. (Foot hazard) lay to one side or discard. Remove any carpeting and nail strips that held the carpet sometimes carpet installers like to staple in some places try to remove or pound in flush. Remove any other nails, staples etc. Mark so you remember where they fit and remove any doors and jams. I always like the hardwood to go under the jams because it is almost impossible to cut around the jams and get a nice finished job. Remove any furnace ducts. Sweep floor and vacuum all dust. I have even mopped the floor trying to get a clean surface. If you do make sure it is dry before continuing.

Next you want to install underlayment it is the blue material it just lays on the floor. You must Tape all seams. This is a moisture Barrier and somewhat of a sound barrier. See photo.

Installation Pictures

Blue Vapor barrier installed
Blue Vapor barrier installed | Source
Starting Spot In Between two Different Floors
Starting Spot In Between two Different Floors | Source
Installed Floor
Installed Floor | Source
Carefully fitted corners on Bull Nose
Carefully fitted corners on Bull Nose | Source
Starting on outside edge and working in
Starting on outside edge and working in | Source
Set nail Hole waiting for Putty
Set nail Hole waiting for Putty | Source
Done Floor waiting for Wall trim
Done Floor waiting for Wall trim | Source

Starting the Hardwood floor installation

The first thing you want to do is determine which way you want to run the hardwood. In the case of this small landing I had to run it the way I did because of the angle of the floor (one end is longer than the other) and also I had to have nice even cuts along the Bull Nose by the step. The Bull Nose or the piece that overhangs the step has to be installed first. Getting the angle right where it hit the wall, I then Pre Drilled a hole (I predrill all holes because of the chance of splitting the wood) one size smaller than the 10P finish nail that holds it down. I then nail it every 6 inches using a nail set be careful do not hit the wood or it leaves a big ding... To set the nail then applying some putty in the hole I next installed a piece of ½ quarter round under the Bull Nose to give it support again pre drilling then nailing. One that is done then you can start to install the rest of the Hardwood Floor. I usually cut a full piece for my first piece because it’s going to have to go between the doorway. Starting with the Tongue facing out this is the side you use the nail gun on. See Photo.

Next start installing the floor making sure that no 3 rows match up seams. To get a tight fit use Rubber hammer to make sure the seams and flooring stay tight. Once you start using the nail gun it will pull the boards tight, but it is better to use the rubber hammer first. Also because it is so close to the wall you have to make a choice of rather face nail the first couple rows or pre drilling a hole through the tongue and using flooring nails. The reason is the Flooring nail gun will not fit against the wall till it is a few rows out. When you can use the Flooring Nail gun, nail it every 4 to 6 inches. Also cut the pieces that go up against the Bull Nose FIRST. Nail it first on every row. In a box of flooring there are various lengths to choose from I always stack them into the various lengths so it is easier to alternate the seams. I always cut the pieces against the walls to within a quarter inch, because the wall trim will cover. See Photo’s

If you are doing a landing then again you have to install the Bull Nose first on all sides then fit the pieces against the Bull Nose edge first. See Photo. When I get to the wall I again cut it within a ¼ inch.

When you get to the back wall then you will have to hand nail the last few boards (because again the Hardwood Floor Nail gun will not fit). Rip the last board against the wall and face nail it.


Next trim and reinstall door jams so they fit into their respected spots. Then Rehang the door checking to see if they are short enough to fit. If they are not measure the hole where you are putting them and trim ½ inch off the bottom of the door then what the size is.

Next install the Door trim making sure you trim off enough of the bottom sides of the trim to correctly fit in the hole.

Finally reinstall the floor trim.

© 2014 Bill


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      We have wood flooring throughout the upstairs of our home. I love how it looks. It is so much better to keep clean than carpet. Great post on how to install hardwood flooring.

    • handymanbill profile image

      Bill 3 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Thanks Billybuc and Ericdierker for stopping by, I always enjoyed putting all kinds of floors down. They are a lot easier now then they used to be.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      How did you know we were planning on doing this next year? Invaluable information for me, Bill. Thank you!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Excellent, we used to remove gym floors and reinstall them just like this.