Hardwood – Before Installation
Know what to expect and do before installation day
Be prepared. We want you to know what to do, and what to expect, on that special day when the crew shows up to install your beautiful new hardwood floor. Being prepared will make the entire process more efficient and hopefully eliminate any surprises. Knowing what to expect will also be a lot less stressful on you, your family and your home.
Our first advice is in the form of a question.
Installing this type of floor can be difficult, exacting and detailed. Why would you have anyone but a seasoned, dedicated professional install it? That way you can be assured of a beautiful, efficient and correct installation.
How is Hardwood Flooring Installed?
There are four methods of installing hardwood flooring.
1. Nail Down: 2” cleats do the job.
This method is typically used with the 3/4″ solid wood, however there are adapters available for thinner flooring sizes as well. 2″ nailing cleats are used with a wood flooring nailer and mallet to attach the hardwood flooring to the subfloor. Please be aware that Solid Strip floors or Plank floors can only be installed on wooden subfloors on grade or above grade.
2. Staple Down: this method uses pneumatics.
With the staple down method, 1-1/2 to 2 inch staples are used versus nailing cleats to attach the wood flooring to the subfloor. A pneumatic gun is used to drive the staple into the wood flooring and subfloor. Not all wood flooring manufacturers recommend the same staple gun, so using professional installers will ensure that the right staple gun and right size staples are utilized.
3. Glue Down: adhesives are the rule here.
The recommended mastic or adhesive is spread on with the proper sized trowel to adhere the wood flooring to the subfloor. You should know that engineered wood floors and parquets can be glued down. There are many types of adhesives on the market. Your installers will use the manufacturer's recommended adhesive when installing your flooring. Not using the manufacturer's recommended adhesive and trowel size could void any warranties you may have.
4. Floating floors: flooring on a bed of padding.
With the floating floor installation method, the floor is not mechanically fastened to any part of the subfloor. A thin pad is placed between the wood flooring and the subfloor. Then, the appropriate wood glue is applied in the tongue and groove of each plank to hold the planks together. In some cases the floor will have interlocking ends and edges and no adhesives will be required. The padding has its advantages: it protects against moisture, reduces noise transmission, is softer under foot, and provides for some additional “R” value. Some engineered floors and all Longstrip floors can be floated. This is a very fast, easy and clean method of installing your hardwood floor.
Is It Necessary to Acclimate Hardwood Floors?
All solid hardwood products need to be acclimated to the new environment for at least 24 hours prior to installation. Wood flooring product will be divided into smaller lots and stored in the designated rooms if necessary.
What to know and do before wood flooring installation day
Do I need to remove my furniture before having wood flooring installed?
Remove all furniture and other objects and materials from the areas where the hardwood flooring installation will take place. Some installers will move your furniture, but there will be an additional charge for doing so. Before moving, you’ll also need to empty the contents of china cabinets, closets and the like. Be aware that the area of installation must be climate controlled (heated or air-conditioned). Indoor humidity should be maintained between 45-65%.
Do I need to remove my old flooring before hardwood flooring installation?
Please consider how your old floor covering will be taken up and disposed of. This will cause dust and you should take proper precautions to protect your belongings. This can be a time-consuming task. We recommend that you check with us about the cost and the method of disposal. If you prefer to remove your present floor covering, do it at least one day prior to arrival of your hardwood product to allow for cleanup and floor preparation. If removing old carpet, please pull out the staples and tackstrip.
Have a plan in mind regarding your trim.
You should know that shoe molding and quarter round needs to be removed for hardwood installation. Your installer may do this but at an additional charge and they will not be responsible for damage or breakage due to dry or brittle wood. Painted baseboards, woodwork and paint will need retouching after the installation is complete. If necessary, this is your responsibility.
Should I prepare subflooring for hardwood flooring installation?
Your existing subfloor may need to be prepared to receive the hardwood, or a new subfloor may be required. We suggest you discuss this with us and, if subfloor work is necessary, that it be done by qualified professionals. It is important that the subfloor be as clean and level as possible. Additional sanding and grinding of floor joints may be necessary.
Doors require special consideration.
When hardwood is installed, there’s always the possibility that the doors, especially closet doors, basement and bedroom doors, may not clear the new hardwood and swing freely.
Some installers will remove doors in order to install the hardwood and re-hang them if possible. They won’t shave or cut down doors to insure clearance. If you would like our assistance in arranging for a qualified carpenter to provide this service after the installation of your new hardwood floor please discuss this with your salesperson.
Be clear about the clean-up.
Installing new hardwood will produce waste. Usually these materials are collected by your installer and left at your trash collection site. Your installer will leave for you a partial box of material for your “attic stock” to be used for future repairs if necessary.
What to know and do during installation day
Do I need to be home during flooring installation?
Be prepared to be at home or available by phone the day of installation. Because it is difficult to estimate the length and circumstances of each job, we may not be able to give you an exact time of your installers arrival.
Your safety is our concern.
Your installers will use a variety of tools and techniques that can make the work area hazardous. Please make sure that your children and pets are kept out of the work area on installation day.
What to know and do after installation day
Give your lungs a break.
If you are sensitive to dust and odors, good ventilation should be established for 48 to 72 hours after your wood flooring installation.
Being prepared for installation day through careful planning and smart preparing will make your life and the installers a lot easier. It will also make your hardwood flooring experience beautiful and enjoyable right from day one.
Don’t forget, DeGraaf Interiors offers a lifetime installation warranty! Schedule a free in-home measure to find out how much hardwood flooring you’ll need on installation day, or stop in to our showroom in Grand Rapids or Hudsonville to view the many wood flooring options available.