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Tag Archives: wood flooring installation

  • How to Install Wood Flooring

    Posted on January 24, 2013 by Jennifer

    Installing wood flooring in your home may seem like a daunting task—and to be honest, it is a big job! But with proper preparation, the right tools, and some patience, you can put down beautiful floors that will be a gorgeous accent to your home for generations to come.

    Before you start, you have a few decisions to make. What type of flooring would you like? Douglas fir flooring has a warm, rosy glow and is known for being durable and stable. Oak flooring is a traditional American choice and will hold up for years to come. Whether you want an exotic wood, reclaimed wood, or boards in wider widths than are available at many retailers, Altrufir can help you find high-quality wood flooring that will make your visions into reality.

    Before you start

    Measure your room to figure out how much flooring you need. Add 10-15 percent extra into your total to allow for any irregular boards or cutting mistakes.

    Once you’ve ordered your wood flooring, prepare the site where you plan to install it. Remove any existing flooring and check out the subfloor underneath. Are there are any wiggles or squeaks? Is it level all the way across, or are their bumps and low spots? Fix these issues before you put your wood flooring down, or you won’t be pleased with your final product.

    Next, you need to acclimate your wood flooring. Maybe you didn’t realize this, but natural materials such as wood are sensitive to cold, heat and moisture—just like people are. Pores in the wood expand and contract in response to temperature and humidity. Bring your flooring into the room where you plan to install it (don’t forget to open up the boxes!) and let it sit for at least four or five days to get used to its new environment.

    You’ll also want to install a moisture barrier of some kind over the top of the subfloor--Kraft paper and roofing felt are two popular options.

    Day of installation

    Now take a look at your room and figure out where you want to start. You want to install flooring perpendicular to the supportive joists of your house, if possible, for additional structural stability. Exterior walls tend to be the straightest, and a longer wall is best.

    Before you start nailing, lay out your flooring in the room and take a look at the variations in length, grain and color. You want to keep color tones and board lengths random, and never let the ends of boards in two adjacent rows line up with each other.

    There’s one final—but critical—step before you start putting your wood flooring in place. You don’t want your first row of boards to sit flush up against the wall; you need a gap to allow for natural expansion and contraction of wood, as we talked about earlier. Measure about 1/2” out from the wall, and then use a tool called a chalk line to instantly snap down a straight line marking all the way down the length of the room.

    Nail it down

    Now you’re finally reading to start placing boards! If your wood flooring is tongue-and-groove, make sure to lay down the board with the tongue facing out toward the rest of the room. Follow that chalk-line religiously as you lay the first row. Once the first two or three rows (a complete row of boards is called a “course”) are complete, the rest of the installation should follow smoothly.

    Be gentle with the first few rows. Some experts recommend drilling pilot holes through the boards, nailing them in place, and then sinking the nails further into the board with a tool called a “nail set,” which drives them down below the floor’s surface. Another option is to use a small hand-held finish nailer, a tool that is less jarring than the pneumatic nailer or stapler you’ll likely use for the rest of the room. The point of all this care is to keep that crucial first board in place, without messing up the alignment. Placing shims between the wall and the chalk line helps with this as well.

    Fit the second course into place against the first, using the same fastening method as before.

    Keep it straight

    Once you’ve got two or three courses laid down, you can switch to a pneumatic nail gun, which will make the rest of the installation go more quickly. As you’re nailing, make sure to fasten each board in at least two places; aim to place a nail about every 10 to 12 inches.

    About halfway across the room, snap out another chalkline and see how you’re doing at keeping your courses straight. If you need to, drive them together more tightly with a rubber mallet, which won’t damage the flooring.

    When you get to the other side of the room, make sure to allow for that expansion gap against the opposite wall as well. You can make your final course narrower, if you need to, by measuring and then cutting down the length of the board to make it the perfect width.

    You’ll need to put away the pneumatic nailer once you get to final row of wood flooring, as well—here isn’t room for it when you’re working close to the edge.

    Final touches

    Once all the flooring is fastened in place, give yourself a pat on the back—and a break. Wood flooring needs to sit for a few days after installation to allow the wood to relax into place, before the final staining and finishing  steps.

    Yes, that’s a long process. But like any lengthy process, if you take your time and do things right the first time, you’ll be rewarded. In this case, you’ll get beautiful, durable floors that will make you happy every time you walk into your home.

    This post was posted in Douglas Fir Flooring, Care & Maintenance and was tagged with wood flooring installation, wood flooring, hardwood flooring, install wood floors, installing wood floors, installing wood flooring, installing hardwood flooring

  • Douglas Fir Flooring Installation Tips

    Posted on May 10, 2011 by Jennifer

    Good things take time. Like growing a beautiful garden or painting a great picture, installing a Douglas fir floor is not a snap process. But when it’s done well, a Douglas fir floor is something that will add beauty and value to your home for generations to come. Here are some tips from an expert to help you through the wood flooring installation process.

    First, get the tools you need. Andy Burley, owner of Mr. Sandman Hardwood Floorsin Portland, recommends the following:

    Be sure to use a tape measure.

    1. A rubber mallet, for gently pounding boards into place without damaging them
    2. A carpentry pencil for marking boards
    3. A tape measure
    4. A floor level, for making sure the sub-floor is even
    5. A chalk line, to make sure you’re installing the boards in a straight line
    6. A miter saw with a finishing blade, for cutting the boards to the right length
    7. A pneumatic nailer or stapler, for quickly fastening boards into place
    8. A smaller hand-held finish nailer for fastening down the rows of boards around the edges of the room
    9. A moisture barrier, such as Kraft paper or roofing felt, to lay down between the subfloor and the flooring
    10. Small pieces of wood called shims to hold the flooring in place

    Once you’ve gathered everything you need, take things one step at a time.

    1. When your Douglas fir flooring is delivered, give it time to acclimate to the climate and moisture level in the room where it will be installed. This can take up to a week. This prevents the wood from swelling or shrinking, post-installation, and will allow for the truest fit. “Douglas fir is quite porous, but it dries and acclimates very well,” Burley says. Make sure you’ve ordered enough wood to cover your whole room, as well as extra to account for waste.

    2. Prepare the subfloor. Use your level to make sure it’s even. If there are major ridges or bumps, sand them down. Walk around and feel for any spongy areas—nail them down to prevent squeaking later. Make sure you know which direction the support joists underneath the flooring run. You want to install your flooring perpendicular to the joists, for better structural stability. Lay down your chosen moisture barrier.

    3. Starting at an outside wall, use the chalk line to create a straight edge to line up your first row of flooring. “Usually an outside wall is the straightest in the house, but especially in an older house, you can’t assume everything’s going to be straight,” Burley says. Don’t put the first row of flooring (each complete row of boards is called a “course”) flush up against the wall—you want to leave a quarter-inch to half-inch gap on all sides to allow for natural expansion and contraction of the wood. “People forget that just because the tree has been cut down, it doesn’t mean the wood isn’t still alive. It’s porous, and it will expand,” Burley says. Use shims between the wall and the flooring to keep the flooring where you want it. Eventually, baseboards will cover the gap.

    Installed Douglas fir floor

    4. Cut your boards using a miter saw with a finishing blade, not a ripping blade. “The finer the blade you use, the less likely the wood is to splinter,” Burley says. If your flooring is end-matched, then there will be tongue-and-groove pieces at the end of the boards to fit together. If it’s not, use your saw to create flat butt joints that sit flush against each other. Make sure you’re not cutting each board to the exact same length. You don’t want the ends of boards in adjacent courses to be lined up with each other—as you’re laying down the boards, try to visualize the way the finished floor will appear, and keep the lengths varied.

    5. For your first few courses, use a finish nailer to fasten down the boards—this is less powerful than a pneumatic nailer, and won’t jar the boards out of the straight line you’ve laid down. As you lay down subsequent courses, and you’re a few rows out from the wall, you can switch to a pneumatic nailer or stapler.

    6. After you’ve gone partway across the room, snap out another chalk line and make sure your courses are still straight. If you need to fit the boards together a little more tightly to make them square, use your mallet to drive the courses together tighter. If you need a little more give, don’t pound the following rows so tightly. “It’s amazing how just a little bit of space adds up when you’re going all the way across a room,” Burley says.

    7. Once you’ve done the entire room, it needs to sit before it’s finished. Burley recommends allowing at least three days for the wood to relax before the final staining and finishing process.

    Burley says the entire hardwood floor installation process can take more than a week, by the time you count in acclimatizing, installation, letting the floor rest, sanding, and staining. If you are in the market for radiant heated subfloors, more time is needed to finish the process. That’s a long time for impatient home-owners. But a perfect Douglas fir floor can’t be created overnight. If you take your time and take the process step by step, you’ll be rewarded with a stable, gorgeous floor underfoot.

    - Jennifer Rouse

    This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Flooring, Care & Maintenance and was tagged with Douglas fir flooring, douglas fir floors, flooring installation, wood flooring installation

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