How to Install a Solid Hardwood Floor

A man installing a solid hardwood floor with a flooring nailer.

Wondering how to install a solid hardwood floor? You have come to the right place! The experts at ReallyCheapFloors.com have put together this helpful video and article to assist you with your next home improvement project:

1. Make a Chalk Starting Line

After you have checked to make sure that your room is square, it is time to plan out where you will nail down your first row of flooring. We recommend starting on a long outside wall, as these walls are usually the straightest. First, make a pencil mark that is about a quarter inch away from the wall. Then, move further down the wall and make another pencil mark that is also a quarter inch from the wall.

It is important to leave this quarter inch space because solid hardwood tends to expand. The gap between the wood and the wall will not be noticeable since it will be hidden by trim.

Next, drive a nail into one of the pencil marks to act as a placeholder. Finally, hook your chalk line tool onto the nail and pull it all the way across to the second pencil mark you made. The resulting chalk line will be the start line for your first row of boards.

2. Nail Down the First Row of FlooringA man laying hardwood floor boards.

Now that you have your starting line, it’s time to begin installing your flooring. Position your first board so its edge is up against the chalk line. Then, use a nail gun to secure it in place. Continue laying and nailing boards parallel to the starting line until your first row is finished.

We recommend using 2-inch flooring cleats or 2-inch staples. Be sure to drive a nail into the boards every 6 to 10 inches.

3. Put Felt Paper Down

Once you have nailed your first row of boards down, we suggest rolling out some felt paper over the subfloor. This paper will help prevent your floor from squeaking. We prefer to skip the felt paper for our first row because it can mess up the chalk line. Any movement in the felt paper can cause the line to become crooked, so we recommend holding off on the felt until after your first row has been installed.

A man using a flooring nailer.4. Add Additional Rows of Flooring

The next step in the installation process is to keep nailing in more rows of boards. Around the third or fourth row, you should have enough room to start using a flooring nailer instead of a nail gun. This convenient device drives nails through the tongue of floorboards when you hit it with a mallet.

As you add more rows, you will inevitably need to cut some of your boards to make them fit up against the wall. When you cut a board, remember to always leave a quarter inch for expansion. We suggest cutting longer boards so you can use the leftover piece in the future.

Purchasing Hardwood Floors

If you have any questions about how to install a solid hardwood floor, don’t hesitate to contact ReallyCheapFloors.com. Our team is always happy to give advice and answer any queries you may have. We have a huge selection of overstock, seconds, and discontinued floors at competitive prices. To start planning your next project, browse our collection of hardwood floors today!