Installing a hardwood floor yourself can save you a lot of money – if you know what you’re doing. Improper preparation and installation can lead to warping and buckling, which will ruin flooring that might otherwise remain beautiful and durable enough for your grandchildren’s grandchildren to grow up on. The most important thing you can do to ensure the structural integrity of your floor is to properly prepare.
Choice of wood flooring is crucial. The factors that determine how and where hardwood flooring can be installed are:
– Consider the humidity levels in your area before deciding what kind of wood to choose. If you live in an area with high humidity or your land is at or below grade (sea level), engineered flooring may be a more appropriate choice than solid wood, or you may choose a wood with minimal response to moisture, such as teak.
– Subfloors are generally wood or concrete, although some people choose to install over an existing floor; never install over carpet.
– Level of installation difficulty should also influence your choice of wood flooring. Interlocking engineered wood is easiest to install and least likely to cause issues due to poor installation. Standard solid hardwood floors require glue or staples, and are a little more difficult to install due to the extra steps involved.
- Thick solid wood – 3/4″ profile – should only be installed over wood subfloors, above grade, and should be nailed.
- Thinner wood – 5/16″ profile – can be installed over wood, concrete, or over existing floors above grade using staples or glue.
- Not recommended to be installed in basements and subterranean environments.