Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Notes on Installing Hardwood Floors

We installed hardwoods last weekend in our living room.  I documented every step, with the intention of writing a DIY post on installing hardwoods.  However, I quickly realized that even though I worked incredibly hard along side Wesley in putting them in, it in no way gave me any authority on posting a "how-to."

With that being said, I did want to share some notes on being successful in installing your own hardwoods...

1. Get someone with experience to show you how.  I would never have been confident enough to tackle this by simply reading how to do it off of the internet, no matter how many times I may have seen it on HGTV.  We were so lucky that Wesley's dad, who had done this several times, was able to come up and show us the ropes.  This is definitely one thing that you need hands on teaching for!

2. Clean up as you go.  As we were installing the pieces, usually you had to hit it with the mallet a few times to get it in the right place, so there were scuff marks everywhere.  Having one of us wipe them off  once we were out of that area was a huge help.  I can't imagine having to do it all at the end...

3. Get a magic eraser.  For scuff marks, we quickly found that a rag with water or cleaning solution was just not cutting it.  We pulled the magic eraser out hoping it would work, and with one wipe, it was gone.

4. Many hands make light work.  We had 5 sets of hands working on 1 room, and it still took us a day and a half for this project.  By having a few people, we were able to rotate tasks, which kept us from burning out quickly.  That power nailer will take a lot out of you, especially your lower back, so be sure that a few of your crew can switch out using it.

5. Go slow and be patient.  It can be easy to get frustrated when the work moves slow, but by starting off patiently, you will learn how to install them correctly.  Make sure to cut the pieces with 1/4" from the walls to allow for expanding/contracting.  That may mean a few runs to the saw for each piece at first in order to get the hang of it.  After a few hours, we had a solid rhythm down and were able to pick up the pace.  I'm so glad we did that because it turned out like a professional job.


  1. Oh girl, I can relate. We installed two rooms of laminate flooring last summer (wanted to go with hardwood, but since it was below ground in a finished basement, we had to go with laminate due to some weird rules about concrete subfloors and moisture levels, etc etc) and thankfully my boyfriend's dad is just as handy as yours sounds like he is! I stayed far out of the way and brought drinks and snacks to the little worker bees, haha. We went with white wood in one room and a beautiful cherry in the other, and both look surprisingly real! It's quite a process, though! Yours look awesome.

  2. I'm getting you to come over and install those floors for me (well, when the time comes). I think it's important to clean as you go...won't make you feel so overwhelmed.


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