Here are a few guidelines for all the Do It Your Selfers
|STEP 1: Site Inspection|
|STEP 2:Personal Safety|
|STEP 3: Subfloor Preparation|
As part of the National Hardwood Flooring Association our company will provide only accurate and proper information for the nail down and glue down hardwood installation. Our hardwood floor installation instructions guide will help you with any home improvement wood floor installation procedure to prevent hardwood floor repairs. These instructions are if your wood floor requires spreading glue on concrete, or a wood sub-floor.
A warranted moisture sealer product may be used if moisture content of sub floor exceeds industry standard levels. (See step 6 for moisture levels checking procedure) Here are a few recommended sealer and glue systems we highly recommend with the use of installing hardwood floors. You can also get quality hardwood glue at you local Home Depot and Lowes home improvement store.
Here are some more urethane-cured hardwood floor glues that provide bond only warranties. No moisture protection warranties are offered with the following glues listed below:
Inspection of building must be done to make sure that all walls are not leaking water from exterior of building. All A/C systems must be functioning properly. Exterior drainage must be in place to make sure that rain water does not flow towards building. Hardwoods are not recommended in bathrooms but can be placed in powder rooms where there will be not showers. Moisture content in concrete must be with in 4% of each other. Meaning if your concrete floor is 4% than your wood floor must not exceed 8%. Unload all hadwood flooring inside building to acclimate if this is not the case.
One must take care of themselves by using proper saftey wear. This includes wearing goggles for eye protection. Using knee pads is recommended and a back brace for lifting the heavy hardwood flooring boxes and moving furniture. Do not use metal tip boots for they can scratch your hardwoods. Do not wear hard cap knee pads because they too can scratch hardwoods.
Make sure knee pads are hardwood floor friendly, meaning they are not the hard plastic cup knee pads. Soft rubber pads or cushion knee pads with elastic Velcro straps are preferable. For these reduce the risk of damage caused by abrasion to hardwood floor finish. Fans are essential for dust control. Always put fans facing outside as to suck out dust. Cover up furniture wisely during demolition process.
Using a utility knife carefully cut out carpet in 3' feet by 3' feet squares or tiles. This insures carpet and pad may easily be handled and disposed of. Staking these carpet and pad tiles insures space reduction and obstruction. Once carpet and pad is removed from site, carefully remove tack strip with a crowbar or a chisel. Placing the chisel in front of each nail underneath the tack strip and tap it with a hammer until the concrete nail busts loose. Use careful precautions as not to tap to hard and missing, injuring yourself. The end of a crowbar is useful to pull up the nail. Remember these nails are nailed into the concrete maybe only 2\8" deep, so they are being held by high pressure in between the concrete. Concrete chunks the size of a quarter U.S. Dollar or bigger can fly in the air causing injury or damage. Exercise good judgment, common sense, and safety. Dispose of and remove from site tack-strip. Do not leave tack-strip exposed for safety. Tack-strip may be carefully wrapped within carpet or pad tiles previously cut from job-site, or disposed of in closed container. Removal of baseboards is not necessary. You can use shoe molding or quarter-round in between baseboard and wood floor. Removal of baseboards however give it a cleaner look afterwards.
Apply a small amount of water to floor to loosen up paint and foreign materials. This also helps the paint become heavier. In relation of being influenced by the weight of water, it does not become airborne as easily if it would to be dry and flaky. Scrape up with a floor scrapper, one that uses a 4-8" blade system. Take precaution when handling the blades, for they are razor sharp and can easily cut through anything, causing serious and unbearable injury. Dispose blades in a closed container such as a bottle and close tight.
Some paint oils and wax may require a paint and oil remover. This can be acquired at Home Depot or Lowes local paint store. Carefully read and follow directions on can. Vacuum all paint and water residue. Steer away from sweeping, for this causes dust to elevate and can increase the airborne dust levels.
Level floor with a straight edge. It is recommended that its 3 \ 16" for every 10' feet or 1 \ 16" for every 6' feet. Use only portland based leveling compound from Parabond , Ardex , Mapei , or even Home Depot and Lowes home improvement store self leveling compounds. You can mix leveling compound in a 5 gallon bucket with a power drill and a mixer. Make sure that you not mix more than what you are going to use within 5 to 10 minutes because the leveling materials can dry.
High spots will have to be marked off on concrete slab and chipped down manually with hammer and chisel, or electric chipping hammer. Grinding down high spots can also be an alternative method but a messier one. Grinding down concrete produces allot of fine dust.
Use a quality digital moisture tester to check moisture levels on your slab. Moisture content should be with in 4% with in each other floor to wood.
If you cannot conduct a moisture test, contact us for a moisture test service.
If moisture does exceeds manufactures recommendations, then a sealer must be applied.
Door-jambs should be undercut with a proper door- jamb cutter. The notch should be 1 \ 16" of an inch above the thickness of the hardwood floor. If an electrical door- jamb saw is not available, than a manual one may be obtained from the Home Depot or Lowe's. Place a hardwood floor plank next to the door-jamb and saw on top of the plank. With out moving the saw up or down, start saw cutting into the door- jamb while maintaining the saw blade flat on the hardwood plank. Most door jambs are no more the 1 \ 2" inch thick. Cut into the door trim the same way so all three sides of door jamb are cut out. If not removing baseboards, cut 1" or more into the bottom base board away from the end of the door trim to insure proper hardwood floor plank placement underneath door jamb in correlation with the quarter round or shoe-molding. The ends of finishing trim usually get cut at a 22 degree angle. If wood floor plank is not placed slightly under the base starting from the end of door-trim, a small gap may result from this action. A gap the size of a dime or less can result between quarter round or shoe molding end cut, and the door-jamb. Take precaution. Remove all baseboards if applicable. To re-install baseboards, follow the same nail hole pattern and same size nails used before, otherwise a stud finder will be necessary. One that also detects electrical and water pipe-lines, this way no water-lines get punctured with nails when re-installing base-boards.
Nothing is more important than the base line. This is the first initial base line. First establish a direction in which you wish the hardwood floors to run. The longest outside wall is the preferred visual effect. Laying the wood floors parallel to light source is ok only if your floor is level. It is recommended you lay it flowing with the light source when possible. Outside walls are the true square of a house or building. Stack about 2 feet more or less of hardwood planks as if you were going to assemble them without glue, the distance of about 2 feet. Once finished assembling these hardwood floor planks, measure from the groove side of the plank to the outside tongue edge to get an exact measure. Mark you're measuring tape with a #2 pencil to insure measure. Add an additional 1 \ 2 " inch and mark the floor with the pencil in an arrow fashion indicating exact spot, pin pointing to the next 1 \ 32 " of an inch. Mark the floor at the right and left far end of the outer most longest outside wall. The closer to each corner, the more exact. Pop a chalk line with in these two pin points. This may take two people, one to hold one end, and the other person to hold the opposite end. Once the line has been established, check it to make sure the farthest walls from each other do not differ within 1 \ 4 " inch. If it does than you may need to establish another line using the same outside wall one board width more or one board width less.
Next you mark the chalk line just popped using simple arrows. Draw an arrow every 1' to 2' feet, pin pointing the line with these arrows. The arrows should be drawn the opposite side where you are going to spread the glue. These arrows will insure that the base line does not get lost due to glue or the hardwood floor planks covering it up during you're first base-line installation.
Open several boxes at a time to insure proper mixture of wood shade and color. The more boxes you open the better. This is also a good time for final inspection. Mark any defects the hardwood floor planks may have and simply cut them out. Use the left over end pieces to either start a row or finish one. Opening and choosing from several boxes at a time maximizes the mixing of shades over all.
Once your base-line is established, the next step is to spread glue within the baseboards or if you don't have baseboards within the sheetrock and the chalk line. For example: our hardwood floor planks measure 3" inches in width. That means 4 planks equals 1' foot or 8 boards' equals' 2' feet. The width of the tongue measures 1 \ 8 " and the manufacture in this particular product recommends 1 \ 4 " inch gap min expansion all the way around all outer obstructions. So a mark of 24 3 \ 8" inch from the baseboard or sheetrock on the concrete floor. The room measures 10' feet by 10' feet. So now there is roughly a 24" inch by 10' linear feet which equals 24 square feet. Glue will be spread for working with 24 square feet. Follow manufacture's method of spreading hardwood floor glue. You can use liquid nails for a hardwood floors only on a repair of a plank or two. And the liquid nails has to be the subflooring or heavy duty kind. No sheet rock liquid nails for this type will not work. If hardwood floor is not sticking down with the glue then check two things. Make sure the glue is not water based. Make sure the concrete floor is clean of paint. Wipe of glue from wood floors with odorless mineral spirits. Test small area first to make sure it does not damadge finish. Use in ventilated area.
Lay your first hardwood floor plank preferably the longest and tongue facing away from glue. So you're outside edge of tongue touches the chalk line. To do this you must look directly above the tongue down to place the edge of tongue right on the base line right before it disappears below the tongue. If it does disappear due to movement, the arrows marked pin pointing the chalk line every 1 to 2 feet earlier will help you realign the hardwood floor planks again.
Next lay the following hardwood floor plank above the first floor plank. Make sure this floor plank is 6" inches or more shorter than the first one. The third hardwood floor plank will be placed above the second in the same fashion 6" inches or shorter than the second hardwood floor plank previously laid above the first hardwood plank. This is called a staggered stair case; it consists of 3 hardwood floor planks closed tight as possible. This stair case should be secured with the 3-M Blue Tape 2" inch. This insures the assembly does not loose its tight fit. These 3 boards should be assembled tightly before securing it with the blue tape. Once secured, then proceed to repeat the process, this time using same length boards for easier installation. The next following hardwood floor plank will be installed on top of the base line, butting up to the first original hardwood plank's head seam. The following plank which is the 5th hardwood plank is to be installed above the 4th plank which is aligned to the base line. The 5th hardwood plank head seam is to butt against the 2nd original head seam, and the 6th plank is to be placed above the 5th plank. The 6th plank head seam is to be butted against the 3rd original hardwood plank. Secure with blue tape.
A rubber mallet or tapping block may be used for assembly. Every 3 boards or so is to be secured with blue tape. Failure to do this may result in hardwood floor movement and gapping during the floor installation process. All glue must be removed from surface before applying the 3-ME Blue Tape. Use urethane glue adhesive remover or odorless mineral spirits as you go. Urethane based glue is hard to clean off if dried longer than 24 hours. Constantly clean hands and finger tips. Make sure glue is not under shoes.
Once you have neared the end of wall, it is time to do the cutting of hardwood floor planks. Make sure to leave the manufacturer's recommended gap in between hardwood floors and outside obstructions. Always exercise good judgment, common sense, and safety procedures described with all power tools such as table saw, chop saw, and jamb saw. Follow manufacturer's cutting procedures and safety regulations.
The long cuts are to be performed with the table saw. Never ever attempt to cut hardwood with a skill saw. End cuts can be installed tightly with a crow bar. Always maintaining the hardwood floor aligned with the base line. Failure to do this will result in a crooked misaligned installation.
After a base line has been established, secured and completely clean from glue, dust, debris or foreign material, roll the floor with a 75 lb roller. Allot of adhesive manufacture's claim an optional "wet walk installation". Check with the manufacture of hardwood and glue for its installation recommendations. We strongly recommend rolling the hardwood floor. This insures proper glue transfer and flattens out planks to a smoother looking installation. This is called quality control. Because nobody's perfect you may encounter hollow spots or air pockets underneath hardwood floor. Additional weight may be needed to weigh down wood floor for proper glue transfer and adhesion. This weight can be a 25 lbs bag or an Olympic weight. Always place a cloth underneath weight to insure hardwood floors does not get scuffed or scratched. Remove weight after glue has dried. This method is not meant to replace leveling the floor. It is only a preventative measure in case you miss a spot.
Once the base line hardwood floor installation is complete, allow this base line to dry for an 1 hour. This insures it does not move out of base. The next set of rows (2' feet by (x) linear feet) will be much easier than the first initial base line. The reason for this is because before you installed you're first hardwood floor planks, an established base line did not exist. Now you have a firm and proper base line to go off by.
Again measure from the end of the tongue, which is flush with the base line, across 8 planks. Except this time we do not add 1 \ 4 " inch to the measurement. We remove the 1 \ 8 " inch of the tongue. The reason for this is to only mark 24" inches because we do not want to spread more glue than we will cover. This is a good preventative measure. If the hardwood floor installation comes to a stop and glue is spread out more than is going to be used, flatten out the glue with the flat side of the glue trowel. This prevents the glue from drying in the lumpy stage (tooth mark pattern from glue trowel) that it's in. When the hardwood floor installation resumes several hours later, their will be no struggle in closing the following hardwood floor planks.
If for some reason glue is not flattened out and it is dry, scraping up and stripping off glue clumps is the only option. This process is very painstaking, difficult and dangerous to do. Cut with a utility knife and scrape away glue from underneath the tongue. Scrape away glue from concrete. This method will rid of glue clumps and allow the hardwood floor planks to close tight again. If floor is to be covered use a breathable material such as cardboard or rosin paper. Do not cover the hardwood floor with plastic.
By now you probably have already installed a room and are nearing to the continuation of the hardwood floor installation into another room or hallway. Stop the hardwood installation right before continuing into another room or hallway. Pick out about 3 hardwood planks similar in size or the same. Assemble them on the floor with out any glue as if installing them with out any glue. Avoid stair casing in this procedure. Trace the far end of the last board. Make sure this last board is the longest of the boards. Now a line is traced on the concrete floor with you're pencil. This is a temporary base line. Temporary because it is too short to be used as a primary base line.
Next stretch out the base line by popping a chalk line on top of it the length of the room or hallway, re-establishing base line again. This time instead of going off the outer longest exterior wall, you're going off of the same initial hardwood plank line. Door ways are usually only 30" to 36" inches in width, which isn't allot. The only way to stretch this base line marked on the floor, is to pop another chalk line again.
Take your chalk line, laying directly on top of this temporary base line marked with a pencil. Stretch the chalk line all the way to the far end of room or hallway. This procedure takes 2 people. One to hold the end and the other person is to hold the other directly above this short temporary base line. The person above the temporary line is to direct the other to gently lower the chalk line, avoiding to pop it or tap it hard on the floor. This person is to also direct instructions in which direction to move the chalk line until it is fine tuned and the temporary penciled base line disappears underneath chalk line. Pop the chalk line.
The base line is complete. Double check base line with walls making sure its parallel within 1 \ 4 " inch. If the base line is not parallel by 1 \ 4 " inch, remark it. Adjustments are tolerable because hardwood wood planks, although straight, can be manipulated to flex over a long stretch, since the planks are broken down, or the base line is broken up by various lengths. Remember walls are not always straight, don't be misled. Check walls to see if they are straight. Walls are usually parallel to each other within 1 \ 4 " inch. Walls that are off by 1 \ 2 " inch or more should be taken into consideration. Common sense and good judgment should be exercised.
Keep all hardwood flooring clear of dirt and rocks. We recommend that you clean hardwoods using hardwood floor cleaners like Bona or any kind of wood flooring cleaners from Home Depot or Lowes. Read directions carefully. Using ammonia or any kind of abrasive cleaners is not recommended. Placing pads under furniture like chairs and tables is a good idea. Place a door mat outside your entry and inside the entry.