Installing floors can feel like a big task but with a few tools and simple tips, you CAN install engineered hardwood floors yourself in a weekend. Let’s take a closer look at the process so that you are equipped with what you need to tackle this project!
The first thing to do is to get your floor down to just the plywood subfloor. So remove all carpeting, padding, and staples. It’s really important to be sure every single staple is removed so that your hardwood floor will go down smooth and even. Our kids even helped with this step, as they had fun “hunting” for all the staples to make sure none were missed!
Once you’ve got the subfloor prepped and ready to go, the next step is to roll out rosin paper. Rosin paper helps to minimize the squeakiness of the wood floor, and also helps to act as a moisture barrier. It’s a very quick, easy, and inexpensive step and is worth the few minutes that it takes.
Simply roll out the paper, cut it to length and staple it to the plywood. After stapling it, be sure to tap the staples with a hammer so that they are completely flat. You do not want any staples sticking up or it affects the installation of the engineered hardwood. A nice smooth floor is key!
Now comes the fun part…actually installing your beautiful engineered hardwood flooring! We chose 7″ wide Charlemagne Oak engineered hardwood from Avalon Flooring, and couldn’t be happier! Avalon flooring has a huge selection of different types of floors, finishes, tones…any type of floor you are looking for, they are the place to go find it! And their showrooms are filled with large samples, so you can really get a feel for what the flooring truly looks like. I will definitely be going back to them again in the future when we need flooring for other rooms in our home!
As you begin installation, I strongly encourage you to snap a chalk line on the rosin paper. This way you can follow that line and ensure that your floor boards and going in straight. The last thing you want is to get all the way across the room only to discover that your lines have gotten more and more crooked as you worked your way across the room. So snap that initial chalk line, and then continue to snap a chalk line every 3 to 4 feet so that your lines stay true!
Now that you’ve got your first piece of engineered hardwood in that first corner and it’s lined up straight on the chalk line, it’s time to nail it down. Use a pneumatic floor nailer lined up on the tongue end of the wood and put in one staple approximately every 8 to 10 inches.
As you insert the next piece of engineered hardwood, I recommend tapping it with a tapping block and hammer to be sure the tongue and groove pieces are firmly connected so that your seams are nice and tight. We recommend doing this as you connect each piece of wood. It’s the attention to details like this that will make your floor installation look professional and well-done, rather than looking like a botched first-timer DIY attempt. It takes just an extra 4 or 5 seconds, but truly will make a difference in the overall appearance of your floors when they’re finished!
As you work your way across the room, working from left to right, you will need to cut a piece at the end of each row when you hit the wall. We used a miter box saw for that part of the process.
Another important thing to keep in mind as you install the flooring is to BE SURE TO STAGGER THE SEAMS on side by side rows. You want to make sure that as you lay down each subsequent row with varying length boards, that there is at least 6″ (from left to right) between seams in rows that are next to each other. This way your flooring visually flows better. Again, it is this attention to detail that separates a professional looking DIY install from an amateur attempt.
So there you have it. A few simple tools and a weekend of work, and we now have beautiful durable Avalon floors that we will be able to enjoy for years to come!