The Wood Floor Installation Process
Installing solid, hardwood floor is virtually the greatest flooring option you can go for. Nothing compares to the natural beauty of solid wood, but having a great looking floor does not mean just buying the flooring, but having it installed professionally by fitters who possess the necessary skills and experience and use the right machinery and flooring materials. Hardwood was extremely popular, then vinyl and linoleum appeared and the popularity of natural wood began to decline. In the last 10 years, however, natural wood flooring has become a preferred floor covering again.
Types of Solid Wood Flooring
There are two major types of hardwood flooring - unfinished and prefinished. While floor installation is similar in both cases, pre-finished floors do not require sanding, staining and finishing. There are several major installation methods - floating floor installation (blocks connect to themselves via their tongues and grooves or click system), gluing down (applying strong adhesive to get the boards glued to the subfloor) and nailing down (using nails to fix the planks in place).
More than often, it's a matter of preference, since the different methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, plus they give the floor a different look. Until recently, most floor planks came as rather thick (3/4 of an inch) floorboards that could be only nailed to the subfloor. One of the disadvantages to nailing down the planks is this takes longer and requires special nailing guns.
Today with the thinner flooring of 3/8 to 6/16 of an inch, floor installation is much easier because the floorboards can be easily glued to the underlay. The maximum allowed unevenness is not more than 1/4 of an inch over 10 feet. If the floor is too bumpy or off level, you might need to install proper support and underlay. In the case of relatively small gaps, dips, scratches etc., the problem is as easy to solve as applying a proper levelling compound, before fitting the underlay. Of course, do not forget that the subfloor must be clean and dry as well.
Solid Wood Floor Installation Tips
There are several things you need to remember in the case of strip flooring:
- Never use boards that are bent
- Use boards of different packs so as to get a proper blending of colour
- Avoid installing flooring in the short direction of a long hallway
- Strip flooring is traditionally installed parallel with the long wall of the room and begins at the most visible wall
- Use layout lines to make sure all floorboards are installed straight
- Use the proper adhesive and make sure you follow all instructions carefully