A Guide to Installing Hardwood Flooring

A guide to installing hardwood floors, including the anatomy of a floor, clearing the decks, laying down the boards, installation, finishing touches and illustrated instructions.

| November/December 1988

Installing hardwood flooring is the only rewarding job where you start at the bottom and stay there. (See the flooring illustrations in the image gallery.)

Installing Hardwood Flooring

IMAGINE WAKING UP ONE morning to be greeted by the texture of moist clay or cold, hard stone beneath your feet. If this doesn't sound appealing to you, neither did it to our enterprising forebears, who found their solution in wood. Abundant and easily worked, blade-hewn timbers made a strong, natural covering for the structure underfoot, and with time evolved into the smooth, square-planed surfaces we've become accustomed to seeing in houses of every stripe.

The fact is that although hardwood floors are the benchmark of expensive homes, the materials are usually less costly than good carpet—certainly if they're already in place and need only to be renewed. And though it could be argued that modern carpeting or resilient flooring is easier to care for (that's why such products have become so popular in the last few decades), the advent of nail-tough urethane finishes and strict attention to quality control among wood-floor manufacturers have all but pulled the rug from under such once-sound logic.

A Shoe's-Eye View  

Even if you have no interest in installing flooring yourself, it pays to find out what's happening beneath your feet before you get the floor man in for an estimate. And if you're determined to try your hand at laying in your own boards—or merely refinishing the ones already there—the walk-through that follows will do a good deal to guide your way.

Let's assume you're just looking, for now. Chances are, if you're not in the building trade, you don't realize that there's more out there than the common oak-strip flooring. The two major wood-flooring associations in the U.S.—National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association and Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association—set the specifications and grading rules for oak, beech, birch, hard maple and pecan floor products. (The harder softwoods—southern pine, Douglas fir and western larch—are graded by their own associations' standards.)

4/22/2014 10:58:23 PM

Hardwood Flooring has a lot of benefits over the other types of flooring and the most important and relevant benefit is its easy maintenance. AA Flooring Direct provides a wide range of hardwood flooring patterns that will definitely make your house look special and sophisticated.

4/5/2007 7:02:13 PM

I see that Bamboo is considered the "green" flooring to use. Any discussion? Also in many high rises and slab homes a floating installation is being used for for shift and expansion. Any discussion?

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