Have you ever achieved something you didn’t think you could accomplish? I’ve laid a floating laminate floor before, but never a prefinished hardwood floor. That required a floor nailer, which scared me because I had never used one. There was no way I could do this…. could I? Yes I could! Installing hardwood floors was easier than I thought.
Installing Hardwood Floors
Back in the winter I showed you all how we had ripped up the carpet in our music room and painted the subfloors. We had removed all the baseboards and bought prefinished 3/4” solid oak flooring in Butterscotch by Bruce. This was the closest match we could find to our existing hardwood floors. The flooring is tongue and groove which locks the planks together.
Preparation and safety are key before starting any DIY project that involves power tools. 3M Tekk has all the gear you’ll need to keep your eyes, ears and lungs safe during construction. I love my 3M protective eyewear. They are comfortable, and I have a pair for inside and outdoor use. Stylin’! And trust me on this next tip, you will want to use the 3M ear plugs. After a while, the saw and nail guns drive your ears crazy!
To install hardwood floors you will need the following:
Prefinished hardwood flooring
3M Tekk Eye & Ear Protection
Pneumatic floor nailer, rubber mallet, and flooring nails (day rentals at most hardware stores)
Chalk line or string
optional tools: small crow bar, nail pliers, hammer.
I put together a short video that explains how I installed the flooring and reveals some really cool tips and tricks that will save you time and frustration!
Installing Hardwood Floors – video tutorial
When installing the first row of planks which will butt up against other flooring, you must make sure your row is perfectly square. You don’t want a crooked looking flooring right? Interlock a row of flooring down the length of your wall (you are basically doing a dry run). Set a carpenter’s square against the existing flooring and your row. Adjust the row to achieve square. I have a very large carpenter’s square but because I had a pillar in the way I had to use a small one. Use a large square if possible.
Using a chalk line (mine broke right at this point.. of course…) or string, stretch the line along the carpenter’s square and row and snap a guide line. This is the line that you will make sure your row of flooring aligns with.
Your pneumatic floor nailer will not fit on the first row of flooring, so you will have to nail it with a nail gun. Be sure to nail in the center of the board and not near the groove. You can fill the tiny holes with wood filler later. Follow the flooring manufacturer’s recommendations on which nails and spacing to use for the pneumatic floor nailer and nail gun. We put nails about every 6-8 inches. After this first row is done you are good to go!
Each box of flooring will come with about 7 different lengths. Be sure to stagger the lengths of your boards so none of the joints are too close to each other. When you come to the end of the floor, near your wall, you will have to make a cut. (Be sure sure to watch my video for a cool trick that will save you tons of time and headache measuring!) To prevent splintering when you cut your boards, you can wrap the end in 3M Scotch Blue tape before you cut. Remove your tape after cutting.
Always wear your 3M Tekk protective eyewear and earplugs when using the saw or nail guns. Pretty stylin’ huh? I cut all my flooring board with my favorite gift ever… my miter saw!
When you rent the pneumatic floor nailer it will come with a rubber mallet. Use the mallet to tap in stubborn pieces nice and snug. Line the floor nailer along the side of the plank, keep a foot on it so it won’t move, depress the finger trigger, and firmly strike top with the mallet. That’s it! It is seriously easy.
My piano weighs about a ton (literally) and we needed to work around it. The pic below is the floor almost done. I was getting excited!
Ta-da! It’s finished! I’m so excited that I accomplished installing hardwood floors, a project I was terrified of trying.
You all know what comes next…the fun part… decorating this room! Yay!
This post is a collaboration with 3M DIY. To learn more about safety and preparation, visit 3MDIY.com.
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