Glue Down Hardwood Flooring Installation


How To Install Hardwood Floors

While most of us will hire a professional hardwood flooring installer, some of you probably thought about installing the hardwood floors by yourself. It might looks like a very complicated job, maybe even scary somehow, but as with most of the regular Hardwood Flooring Installation, it can be done by a person with basics in operating powered tools, basic knowledge in general tools, and some self-learning ability for some new tools.
In this article we will explain how to Install Prefinished Hardwood Floors, Engineered Hardwood Flooring only, using the glue down wood floors installation method. If you are not sure what kind of hardwood flooring installation method you need to use, or you want to read some more information about Hardwood Flooring Installation you can choose one of the following links from our Hardwood Flooring Installation Academy:


Introduction to Glue Down Hardwood Flooring Installation

Glue Down Installations is considered to be a lot easier than the nail down / staple down hardwood flooring installation. It can be done as a Do-It-Yourself Installation by home owners, pretty much by just following the installation instructions. The biggest advantage of the glue down hardwood flooring installation is the fact that it can be installed on almost any sub floor, unlike the nail / staple down installation which must be installed on a wood sub floor. You can install your hardwood floors directly on concrete slabs, tile, ceramic and of course wood and plywood underlayments. Glue Down Installation is pretty much limited to the engineered hardwood flooring only. We are strongly not recommended to use the glue down installation with solid hardwood floors since the flooring adhesive will not allow the solid floors to expand and contract as it suppose to. Thanks to the multi-layer structure of the engineered hardwood flooring we can use a flooring adhesive to glue down the hardwood floors in an easy process.


First Steps in Glue Down Hardwood Flooring Installation

First thing you need to know about hardwood floors is that they are expand and contract according to moisture and humidity changes. Although the Engineered Hardwood Floors are much more dimensional stable, we are still recommend that you will leave the hardwood floors boxes open and let the wood to be acclimated at least 72 hours at the same room where you going to install the wood floors. That way, the floors can get use to the temperature and humidity levels of the room.
You must check your sub floor prior to installation. Make sure your sub floor is clean from oil, grease, dirt, sealers, wax or old adhesive. After cleaning the sub floor you must check that the sub floor is well leveled and straight. Maximum acceptable variation of the sub floor is 1/8" in 10 feet. If you are getting higher variation you Must level the floor to be straight, using a
Self Leveling Underlayment or a similar product. Another thing you will have to check is the relative humidity of the sub floor. It must be dry before starting the glue down hardwood flooring installation. It is highly recommended to check the sub floor with a Moisture Meter. The moisture content in plywood sub floor for example should be between 6% to 12% percent. If you have a plywood sub floor that has a smaller thickness than 3/4” inch, you must add another plywood sheets layer to achieve a minimum thickness of 3/4" inch. When Installing over ceramic tile or vinyl tile, make sure that there are no loose tiles and fill grout lines with a Cement or Latex Based Underlayment. Lightweight cement sub floor needs to be check for density and hardness. Try scraping a coin or key across the concrete sub floor. If the surface powders easily, do not install any hardwood flooring directly to this concrete slab! 
Structurally sound wood floors will not have movement or deflections. It is a very important thing to check the sub floor before starting glue down the hardwood flooring since sub floor movement or improper sub floor installation will eventually cause squeaking. For more information about preparing glue down hardwood flooring installation please visit our Hardwood Flooring Installation – Preparation Page.

As most of the natural wood floors may vary in colors, we recommend opening some wood floors boxes and blending some of the wood planks so that you will get a better uniform appearance across the complete floor.


Starting The First Row at Glue Down Hardwood Flooring Installation

For the first row at the Glue Down Hardwood Flooring Installation first pick a wall to start from. Usually we recommend on the outside wall as it more likely to be straight and square with the room. Start the glue down installation by measuring the width of two hardwood planks from the wall. Mark a line parallel to the wall. Spread a hardwood flooring adhesive over the area that you just marked using a trowel. There are some differences between the trowel shapes, and usually hardwood flooring installers choose the one that they are more use to and familiar with. As for the hardwood flooring adhesive we recommend using a hardwood flooring adhesive manufactured by a well known adhesives company like Bostik, DriTac or Fortane. Now, let the hardwood flooring adhesive to set for about 30 minutes. The first row at the glue down hardwood flooring installation is the most important. You must install the flooring planks straight to the wall making a proper straight alignment. Misaligned hardwood flooring planks can ruin your all hardwood flooring installation. Some hardwood flooring professional installers use a nails gun to nail some of the first planks to the sub floor, making sure that it is straight and that it will not move. You can use a Tapping Block to tap a wood plank’s tongue to the other flooring board’s groove. Since the wall is not always straight, you might have to cut some of the boards to make them fit properly.


Doorway Threshold and Moulding at Glue Down Hardwood Flooring Installation

If you are installing the hardwood floors only in one room, or you have other kinds of flooring outside this room, you will have to edge this flooring installation with a threshold or a piece from the wood floors.
First of all, remove all the existing threshold moulding, skirting and base from the doorway. You will install them later. Measure and cut a hardwood piece to fit the doorway. Put it in the place under the door jambs. Now, use this hardwood flooring piece as a guide piece and cut the lower door casing leaving about 1/8” inch. space between the door and the hardwood floors. You may use a
Hand Saw or a Power Jamb Saw. Try to find hardwood flooring planks that are matching to the threshold and base shoe moulding near the doorway with their color and grain.


Glue Down The Hardwood Floors

After gluing down the first two rows, you are now ready to continue to glue down the rest of your hardwood floors. Start by spreading 2-1/2’ to 3’ feet of the hardwood flooring adhesive, from the first rows to the length of the room.  Be careful not to lay more adhesive that can be covered in about 3 hours. If the flooring adhesive has already dried and cannot be transferred to the hardwood flooring planks, use a Scrapper to remove the adhesive, apply the glue again and then glue down the floor properly. Make sure that the space between the hardwood flooring planks’ edges to their parallel rows’ hardwood flooring planks ends is not smaller than 6” inches. Try using random length planks while gluing down so that the planks edges will not meet. Now, those rows can be installed while the adhesive is still wet. Just place the planks on their place, use a tapping block and glue them down to the sub floor. We recommend using masking tape perpendicular to the hardwood floors, every several rows, just to lay the hardwood flooring planks in place.
Gluing down the last row of the hardwood floors is exactly the same as all the other rows. You might have to cut the planks of the last row to make them fit properly. You probably will have to cut the last row tongue as well.


Cleaning and Finishing The Glue Down Hardwood Flooring Installation

While installing the hardwood flooring planks with the glue down installation method, you need to be careful about the flooring adhesive. Watch for adhesive spits and clean them quickly with the appropriate Adhesive Remover, as it might be very difficult to do it after the adhesive is dry. After the floor installation is done and cleaning is finished, inspect the floor for any nicks, scratches and planks that may have moved during installation or need any additional attention. You can accept about 8 to 12 hours of drying time before trying to walk on the hardwood floor. Dry climate areas may require a longer drying time. You can remove the masking tape about 24 hours after the glue down installation is completed. To protect your hardwood floors during other construction jobs use a felt paper and lay it down on floor, taping it to the skirting boards. DO NOT use plastic or polyethylene to cover the floor since they will trap moisture. Covering materials must allow the floor to breathe and acclimate with the room temperature and humidity.

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