Q:

How do you install hard floors?

A:

Quick Answer

Install hard floors on a level subfloor after the flooring has adjusted to the room's natural humidity. Install the first row with the tongue portion of the planks toward the room's center. Use spacers in all gaps between the wall and the floor in order to account for wood expansion due to heat and humidity. Drill nail holes 1/2 inch from the wall every 6 inches along the plank. Countersink nails into the drilled holes.

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Full Answer

After installing the first row of planks, blind-nail the tongue portion at a 45-degree angle. Countersink the nails so they do not interfere with subsequent rows.

Install the second row by locking the tongue edge to the second plank's groove. Use a mallet and block to tap them together. Carefully stagger the ends of the planks six inches between the boards they are gripping to create an eye catching pattern. Blind-nail the tongue of the second row, and continue the placement process to install four rows of planks. Abandon blind-nailing, as there is now room to use a flooring nailer with a protective boot.

As the last few rows approach, blind-nailing again becomes necessary. Cut the pieces to fit for the last row, and if the final pieces are 1 inch or less in width, apply glue to both the tongue and groove before inserting the pieces with a pry bar. If they are more than 1 inch, simply nail the pieces—making sure to countersink—and cover any remaining holes with putty that matches the tone of the wood. Remove the spacers and secure baseboards to the wall so they are flush with the floor.

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