Introduction to Installation
• Thanks to the recent discoveries in technology, Hardwood Floors have become entirely more stable, they can be installed in many more places and come in a larger variety of styles, grades and species.
• Our Installation Guide provides important information on installing a hardwood floor, such as the key differences between certain installation methods. We hope our guide can help you choose the right method for you and your specific floor. It will also provide you with information on how to prepare the installation process, and of course, how to install a hardwood floor.
• Floor Preparation
What Kinds Of Hardwood Flooring Installations Are There?
(There are three major installation methods used in Hardwood Flooring.)
• One of the more common installations is the Nail Down method. In this method the wood planks are nailed down to the sub floor, using a nail gun. The sub floor is usually made of plywood or wood plank underlayment. It is not possible to nail down wood planks on concrete slabs, therefore it is suggested to lay down an entirely new sub floor (ex: Plywood) or simply changing your installation method.
• Staples have recently become one of the major installation tools in the hardwood flooring industry. Many contractors and installers have begun to work with Staples Guns because of their efficiency.Essentially, there isn't much of a difference between the methods, it is up to you to choose whichever method you feel more comfortable with.
• Glue Down Hardwood Flooring is another popular installation method. This method uses a very strong wood adhesive that attaches to your sub floor. Most hardwood floor installers prefer this method, due to its simplicity and efficiency. It can be done without buying any expensive tools, and is considered to be much easier than the nail down / staple down method. The glue down installation can be done directly on concrete, which can help you save money on plywood underlayment or o any other kind of sub floor.
• Another popular method of installation is the Floating Floor method. Probably the most simple and easy method of installation. The floating floor can be done by almost anyone. This installation method uses a technology called tongue-and-groove, which is used to connect the flooring planks, by matching the "tongue" and "groove" on the side of each wooden plank.No nails, staples or adhesives are needed for this type of installation method.These kinds of floors are usually called laminate Hardwood floors and are not made of real hardwood. However they might offer you a certain design, at a much more economical price.
Nail Down and Staple Down
So What Hardwood Flooring Method Should I Choose?
You might ask yourself now, "Well which is the best method for me ? To choose the right method for you, you will have to answer these two questions:
1. What kind of hardwood floor are you going to install?
2. What kind of sub floor is present in the installation room?
• Solid Hardwood Floors can only be installed with the nail / staple down installation methods. Solid wood expands and contracts when exposed to interchanging levels of moisture and humidity. This occurs naturally every year due to the change of weather. The glue-down method will not give the solid wood enough freedom to expand, which can cause the wood to crack, cup or damage in other ways. Solid wood floors must also have a sub floor that can be nailed or stapled into.It is not possible to nail or staple into a concrete slab, therefore you must first place a proper sub floor (usually Plywood) and then install your Solid Hardwood floor. If you already have a proper sub flooring, then you will have no problem with installing your Solid Hardwood floor.
• Engineered Hardwood Floors can be nailed, glued or stapled. Thanks to recent advances in Hardwood technology, engineered floors provide a Hardwood option that is resistant to moisture and humidity. Engineered hardwood is made of various different layers of synthetic fibers and woods. However, the very first layer (the visible one) is real Hardwood. Engineered Hardwood gives homeowners and contractors the ability to use hardwood in areas of high moisture(ex: bathrooms, kitchens, basements), along with being able to use the Glue down installation method. Engineered Hardwood can be used in any area of your house and can be installed anyway you want. Therefore Engineered Hardwood can be glued down to a concrete slab without the need of a proper sub floor.
• The Floating Floor Installation is fast, simple and cost effective. There is no need to buy adhesives, nails, staples or expensive tools. It requires simply ‘clicking’ one flooring board to another, and the job is done. The floating floors installation process is used specifically on laminate floors only, which are not real wood floors and consist of no real wood at all. Floating floor installation can be done on any sub floor, whether it's concrete or wood.
What Grade Level Are You Going To Install Your New Hardwood Flooring On?
Another important thing to check before installing (or even buying) your hardwood floor is to know what kind of grade level the hardwood floor is going to be placed on.
• Solid Hardwood Floors are very sensitive and can be affected by extreme conditions of humidity and moisture. Basements can have very high levels of moisture and humidity, due to their underground placement. This is why you cannot install solid hardwood floors in the basement – it will damage damage the wood and ruin your entire installation process.
• Engineered Hardwood Flooring can be installed on every grade level, including basements. It's layered structure makes it perfect for basements, bathrooms and kitchens.
• Floating Floors can be installed on all grade levels as well since it's a synthetic wood. Synthetic wood is not affected by moisture and temperature changes.
Just to clarify: “Below Grade” is defined as any part (or any side) of the installation surface that is four inches or more below the surrounding grade level.
When choosing an installation process, there are a few things you may want to be aware of.
• Each hardwood installation method has a unique process and outcome.
• The two deciding factors are what kind of hardwood will be used and where the installation will occur. Most of the time, Solid Hardwood Flooring Installations are installed with the "nail/staple down" method. If you are installing below ground level, you will have to use an Engineered hardwood floor or a floating floor.Besides these two restrictions, you are free to choose the most comfortable installation for your specific task.Engineered Hardwood Floors can be installed on any grade level and can be nailed, stapled or glued to the sub floor. Floating Floors(usually laminate floors) can be installed on any grade level.