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What Not To Do | Hardwood Flooring Installation

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Many people believe that because something is on the internet, it is 100% accurate. This isn’t the case. Anyone, anywhere, can post anything online. The hardwood flooring industry is no exception, there are plenty of people who may think they are doing things the right way but actually have the opposite effect. This is especially the case in the “How to” installation videos we have seen on Youtube, some of the things these people do are just plain wrong. I am going to discuss a few methods we have seen in hardwood flooring installation videos that you or your installer should never do.

Face nailing hardwood flooring... 

Many of the videos we’ve seen show the installer facenailing the first 3 rows and the last 3 rows. The only boards you should be facenailing are the last boards and these nail holes should be covered by the quarterround. Even when facenails are puttied with wood filler they are still noticeable and can easily be avoided.

That being said. Most of the videos start out by the installer using an 18 gauge brad nailer to fasten the first few rows to the floor before they start using the hardwood flooring nailer. This is just plain wrong. Brad nails don’t hold the boards in place very well and when you start using the very powerful flooring nailer your first row can very easily shift giving you a crooked line throughout your floor. It is so important to start the flooring straight because the problem continually gets worse as you install the floor.

Gluing the final hardwood flooring row...

Some videos show the installer gluing the last rows directly to the subfloor with carpenters wood glue. This is one of the worst things an installer can do. Wood flooring is always shrinking and expanding with changes in humidity. Carpenters glue has no flexibility so it will restrict the movement of the wood. This can cause cupping throughout the flooring because even if expansion space has been left around the perimeter the wood wont be able to move. You will want to glue the tongue and groove together on the last rows in addition to brad nailing to keep the boards together if the flooring expands and comes back.

Wood flooring and acclimation... 

Most of the videos suggest acclimating the wood for 5-7 days in the home without discussing why that is necessary. Every situation is different, and in most cases having the wood sit on site for a long period of time before installation can be very damaging. Please check out our video on acclimation for more information on this important topic.

Something we have noticed in each and every YouTube installation video we have watched is that the installer in the video starts the flooring against a wall. This can be done in small rooms but in large areas you will want to start your installation in the centre of the room. When you start your installation against one wall you don’t know if the room is square. It may be straight on one wall but when you get to the end it is very crooked. If you start in the centre of the room you split the difference if the room is not square making it less noticeable. Also, when you start in the centre you cut the amount of movement in half. The nails act like tent pegs and instead of pushing all of the movement to one side, it pushes the wood movement towards the centre of the room.

Another no no we have noticed is that many of the rooms in the videos are not painted. Painting should always be done before the hardwood flooring is delivered. I would suggest you check out our video “are you ready for your hardwood flooring” for more information. Thank you for watching and remember not everything you read or watch online is accurate.