Hardwood - Before Installation

Know what to expect and do before installation day.

Be prepared. We want you to know what to do, and know 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 go faster, more efficiently 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 is hard, 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.

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 products, 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 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 this 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 insure 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. Solid strip floors and plank floors can only be nailed or stapled.

There are many types of adhesives on the market. Your installers will use the manufacturers recommended adhesive when installing your flooring. Not using the manufacturers recommended adhesive and trowel size could void any warranties you may have.

4. Floating: flooring on a bed of padding.

With the floating 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 a recommended wood glue is applied in the tongue and groove of each plank to hold the planks together.

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 floor.

Acclimation. Understand that it’s a must.

All hardwood products need to be acclimated to the new environment for at least four or five days prior to installation. The installers will open all the boxes to achieve this. Any loose product will be divided into smaller lots and stored in the designated room.

What to know and do before installation day

Work on your furniture first.

Remove all furniture and other objects and materials from the areas where the installation will take place. Some installers will move your furniture, but there may 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%.

Now turn your attention to the old floor covering.

Please consider how your old floor covering will be taken up and disposed of. 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 leave tack strips in place and pull the staples out of the floor from the original pad.

Have a plan in mind regarding your trim.

You should know that, in many cases, moldings and baseboards need to be removed for hardwood installation. Your installer may do this but at an additional charge and they will probably not be responsible for damage or breakage due to dry or brittle wood.

Painted baseboards, woodwork and paint may need retouching after the installation is complete. If necessary, this is your responsibility.

The next subject: subflooring.

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.

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 free.

Some installers will remove doors in order to install the hardwood and re-hang them if possible. They probably won’t shave or cut down doors to insure clearance. Please check with us regarding our policy. You may need to arrange for a qualified carpenter to provide this service after the installation of your new hardwood floor.

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. Check with us before the day of installation so you’re clear about the clean up, if there are added costs to do so, and ask about the plan for hardwood remnants.

What to know and do during installation day

You need to be home on installation day.

Be prepared to be at home the day of installation and be available in case the installation crew has questions. Your presence will insure that the correct hardwood is installed in the right areas. Because it is difficult to estimate the length and circumstances of each job, some installers may not be able to give you an exact time of arrival. We will keep you informed on the schedule.

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.

The walk-thru is an important step.

We recommend that, prior to the completion of the installation, you walk thru the job with the chief installer. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions and be clear on any final details.

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 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.