Hardwood Floor Installation Tips for DIY Homeowners

Hardwood floors can be intimidating for homeowners. But the right tips can help make it a DIY-friendly project.Hardwood Floor

Before installing, let the wood acclimate to its indoor environment. Also, avoid putting the flooring where moisture is an issue. Keep in mind that all wood will expand and contract with seasonal changes.

When it comes to home improvement projects, there are many factors that can influence the project timeline. Budgeting, choosing paint colors, selecting materials and finishes, designing layouts, and scheduling professional help like hardwood flooring installation are just a few considerations to keep in mind when determining the timing of your renovation. Another factor to consider is seasonal weather. If you’re planning on installing new wood floors, fall may be the perfect time of year for your project.

When the temperature drops, the humidity levels can change dramatically. This shift can impact the moisture content (MC) of the hardwood flooring. A MC reading that is too high or too low can cause problems with your floor.

Keeping the wood flooring acclimated is the best way to avoid these issues. Ideally, the wood should be allowed to acclimate for a minimum of 72 hours prior to installation. During this period, the boxes should not be stacked more than five feet high or stored in an area with direct sunlight. The boxes should also be kept away from bare concrete or carpet that’s covered with concrete.

In addition to the acclimating of the wood, it’s important to test the moisture content of the subfloor and the flooring before installing. This is done using a moisture meter. It is critical that the meter correctly read the subfloor and flooring in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements.

Once the subfloor and flooring are ready for installation, it’s important to protect surfaces from dust and debris. For this reason, it’s a good idea to clear the space of all furniture and personal items in advance of beginning work on the project. It’s also a good idea to set up a dust containment system.

Once the sanding and preparation are complete, it’s time to begin installing your new hardwood floors. The specific steps will differ depending on the method of installation you’re using, such as gluing, nailing, or floating. Once the first row of boards is fastened, it’s a good idea to use spline on all headers and flush transitions and at all areas where the direction of installation changes.

Time of Year

Whether you are looking to install hardwood floors in a new home or you want to replace the flooring in an existing room, it is essential to understand that the time of year when you plan your flooring installation makes a difference. Hardwood is a natural product that expands and contracts depending on humidity levels. The cooler weather and moderate temperatures of fall make it the ideal season for hardwood floor installation.

In addition to humidity, other factors play a role in the condition of your new hardwood floors. Hardwood floorboards need a few days to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of your home before they can be installed.

When you install your hardwood floors in the spring, you risk exposing them to excessive moisture, which can distort the boards and cause problems with your floor. If you want to avoid this problem, you should schedule your flooring installation for the fall.

The fall is a great time to install new flooring before the winter holidays. Many homeowners want to welcome family and friends into their homes with a beautiful new hardwood floor. Replacing your old flooring in the winter may seem like an attractive idea because you can show off your new floors around Christmas and New Year’s. However, installing hardwood flooring in the winter can be difficult and expensive.

During the winter, indoor heating systems tend to dry out the air in your home. This can cause hardwood to lose its moisture, shrink, and warp. Wood that has been exposed to extremely dry air for long periods of time can also develop cupping and crowning.

Both of these conditions occur when the hardwood absorbs excess pressure and tries to relieve it by shifting its position among other boards. This can lead to gaps between the boards that are not only unattractive but also unsafe for your family to walk on. The fall is the best season for new flooring installation to avoid these issues because the climate in your home will be at its most optimal during this time of year.


The subfloor is one of the most important aspects of a hardwood floor installation. It is the surface beneath which the planks will be installed and should be as flat as possible. It is also a key element in determining the longevity of your new floor. The proper subfloor will support your floor and protect it from moisture, humidity, and rotting that can damage or degrade the hardwood flooring.

Most hardwood floors are nailed or stapled to the subfloor. When this is done, the subfloor must be flat and stable, with no nail holes or loose boards. The proper subfloor will be made of plywood, concrete, or oriented strand board (OSB).

Before the installation begins, a professional installer will inspect the room for the right conditions and the condition of the existing subfloor. The installer will check the subfloor for any moisture issues and ensure that it meets minimum standards. If the subfloor is not up to standard, the installer will repair it using the appropriate method for the job.

If the flooring is being installed by a professional, they will typically let the boxes of planks acclimate to the room for 72 hours before starting the project. They will open them and lay them out on the floor in a pattern that will allow variation in the color and length of the wood. This is called “racking the planks.”

Racking the flooring will help to ensure that all of the boards are laid flat during the installation. It will also make it easier to keep the lengths and colors of the boards consistent. It is also a good idea to mix flooring from several cases in order to get an even variation of color and length throughout the room.

The subfloor must be dry. Moisture content should be below 14% as measured with a moisture meter. Moisture can cause rotting, swelling, and warping of the hardwood floor over time. If a wood subfloor is being used, a layer of 15-lb builders felt or rosin paper underlayment should be installed to reduce vapor and moisture transmission. This can be purchased at most home improvement stores and is relatively inexpensive.


Whether you’re a professional flooring installer or a DIY homeowner, you need a variety of tools to get the job done right. Some of these tools are essential, while others can be a bit of an extra. Some of the more essential tools are a tape measure, a carpenter’s square, and a caulking gun. A broom is also necessary for cleaning up the dust created by power tools during the installation process.

A tape measure is one of the most basic and necessary tools for hardwood floor installation. This tool is used to measure the distance between two points on a surface, as well as other dimensions. There are several different types of tape measures available, including self-marking models.

Another must-have is a pencil and a set of marking materials to mark long, straight lines on the surface. These marking materials allow you to lay out the first row of flooring and create a guideline for subsequent rows. The markings you make will help you ensure that all of the boards fit together correctly.

Carpenter’s squares are another essential piece of equipment for laying hardwood floors. They can be used to determine perpendicular angles and help you cut the corners of moldings accurately. A protractor is also useful for determining the correct angle to use when cutting wood.

A hammer is another hand tool that’s a necessity for installing hardwood floors. The most important feature of this tool is that it’s heavy enough to pound nails into the wood. You can purchase a rubber or wooden mallet, and it’s best to use a rubber one since it won’t leave marks on the wood.

Pneumatic floor nailers are another must-have for those who want to install a hardwood floor themselves. These tools are powerful and can cause hearing loss if you don’t take the proper precautions to protect your ears. They can be rented for around $40 a day at most home improvement stores.

Lastly, a jigsaw is an extremely useful tool for cutting around architectural elements that might be in the way of a new hardwood floor. It can also be helpful for trimming furniture down to size.