Please note, because of the differences in installation methods, this article covers installation over a wood sub-floor. This article also assumes you have selected your grain and color of flooring.
1. Chalk Line
2. Rubber Mallet
3. Hand Saw
4. Plastic or Wooden Spacers (1/4”)
5. Pneumatic Flooring Package (air compressor and hose, gun mallet and staples)
Note: This package can be rented at most rental centers. Make sure you get the correct staples for the gun. The staples may look alike, but it is important to get the proper gauge that fits the gun.
Remove shoe moldings and make sure the sub-floor is even, clean, dry and smooth. Sanding may be necessary in order to obtain smooth, even surface. If sanding is needed, make sure the floor is completely cleaned of dust and debris afterward. Also, if you notice any floor squeaks, correct them now by securing the sub-floor to the joists as needed. Door jambs may also need to be cut so planks will fit under them to create a finished look. Simply place a piece of flooring against the jamb, mark it and cut the jamb at the line.
Once you have received your flooring, it must first be allowed to acclimate itself in the room in which it will be installed. Flooring should be removed from its boxes and stored in the room it will be installed in for a minimum of two days, preferably three to five days before installation. This will let the floor adjust to the room’s humidity and temperature. Because of natural variations in the flooring, it is recommended you layout the planks to get an idea of how you want them arranged before making any cuts or nailing any boards down.
It is recommended that you install flooring parallel with the longest wall of the room for the best visual effect. Measure the width of a plank from this wall and add 1/4” to the measurement. Next, at this spot, snap a chalk line across the room to mark where you will begin flooring. This 1/4” is important to provide expansion/contraction room for the flooring.
Arrange the first row with the groove for the flooring facing the wall. Also, begin placing spacers between the flooring and the wall. Spacers should be inserted approximately every 12 inches and at each joist. This gives you a firm base to install against, but ensures you maintain your 1/4” gap. This starter row should be nailed to the flooring joists underneath the sub-floor. The edge of the flooring which faces the wall (groove edge) may be face nailed since it will be covered by shoe molding after installation. The other edge should be secured by blind nailing with the pneumatic gun approximately every ten inches, no closer than 6 inches. Also avoid nailing to close to the end of a board to avoid splitting the board.
As you begin your next row, make sure your board joints are staggered. In other words, no two ends of adjacent rows should meet. You can achieve this by cutting off 6-8 inches of the first board in your next row. This varying board length is not only for visual effect, but is also essential so as not to weaken the floor.
Tip: Make sure you match tongue to groove as you lay each row. Otherwise you will create very unsightly gaps and an uneven floor. Also, use a scrap piece of floor braced against the piece you are installing and tap against the scrap piece with the rubber mallet to work the flooring into place.
On the last row, blind nailing by hand will be necessary since the pneumatic gun will not fit. As a last resort, the last row can be face nailed in lieu of blind nailing.
Once all the flooring is has been laid, replace the shoe moldings and give the floor a final sweep up. Now it’s time to bring back in furniture, rugs, etc. and your room remodel is complete.