Hardwood Flooring Installation

Your new hardwood floor is a real investment, let's do it right.

When I started as a wood floor installer the typical job involved nailing down some solid unfinished hardwood flooring (usually oak or maple), then sanded and finished. Done and done.

Twenty years later much has changed with the technology, available products, and our understanding of building science. For example, many wood floors installed today are prefinished, wider planks, and engineered. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way that help ensure the process goes smoothly:

Subfloor preparation and job site considerations

Before the first board is fastened, the entire sub floor should be inspected. Some things we look for include the moisture level within the substrate, flatness, condition of fasteners, and direction of floor joists. This is the time to iron out any squeaks and uneven areas of the floor.

In addition to giving enough time for the hardwood to properly acclimate to jobsite conditions, an optimal moisture mitigation plan can really help to reduce or even eliminate cupping. This can be as simple as applying a moisture retarder/primer available from Wakol (PU 280). Many homes in the Traverse City area can benefit from a good moisture retarder and proper climate controls.

Carefully planned layout

We gain practical advantages from taking the time to study the flooring and its new space before laying the first row. Wood is a product from nature and with that has amazing variety. With careful planning and placement we can make sure the focal points of your floor make the best use of the hardwood’s natural beauty.

Oak flooring installation
Mixed-width, weathered oak flooring. This floor was reclaimed from old barn beams & siding. The plank widths varied from 3 to 6 inches, which made for a nail+glue-assist installation.

Solidly anchored wide planks

Wide plank flooring has become more available and popular over the last few years. The National Wood Floor Association (NWFA) recommends nail + glue-assist when wood flooring planks are 5 inches or greater in width. With wider planks there are fewer fasteners per square foot, so the glue helps keep the floor solid and quiet. A full trowel spread adhesive is recommended for the widest of planks.

Oak hardwood flooring meeting up against natural stone floors
Wide plank, semi-distressed reclaimed oak flooring. The bevels were added by hand and the planks were glued to a plywood sub floor that had radiant in-floor heat tubing running in every direction.