Installing Custom Wood Flooring: The Basics Installing Custom Wood Flooring: The Basics

What You'll Need
Wood flooring
Rubber mallet
Nail gun for the floor
15 pound felt underlayment
Floor stapler
Circular saw
Chalk box
Protective gloves and eyewear

Custom wood flooring can significantly alter the look and feel of your home. While custom flooring tends to be more expensive than linoleum or other types of pre-fabricated flooring, it's also a truly individual and attractive option for the floors in your space. Read on for a brief guide on how to properly install custom wood flooring in a simple and basic way.

Step 1 -- Prepare the Floor

Before you can begin to install a custom wood floor, you'll first need to pull up the existing floor in your home. Remove the flooring down to the subfloor level, then pull out any nails, staples or other items that may be holding the subfloor in place. Remove the baseboard in the room where you'll install the flooring and hold on to it so that you can reinstall it later on. Make sure that there's no debris on the subfloor before you begin.

Step 2 -- Attach the Underlayment

Cut the underlayment as necessary to fit into the room, then use the floor stapler to attach it firmly to the floor. Use as few staples as possible to get it to stick to the subfloor.

Step 3 -- Locate and Mark Floor Joists

The floor joists are where you'll need to nail in your custom wood flooring. Knock on the subfloor in various places until you locate a hard object beneath the surface. Use the chalk box to mark lines over all of the floor joists to indicate where the nails go.

Step 4 -- Lay the First Piece

Lay the first piece of flooring on the longest wall that is perpendicular to the joists. Cut it to leave about a quarter of an inch on the side to allow for expansion and contraction. Use the floor nail gun and the rubber mallet to insert nails into the joists. The nails should go in at a 45 degree angle under the plank and into the joist so that they don't go through the flooring itself.

Step 5 -- Lay the Next Rows

Move up a row of floor material and place the groove side of the next row against the tongue side of the installed flooring. Push the groove underneath the tongue until the flooring can sit without any gaps or bumps. Use the nail gun and mallet to install nails underneath the flooring in the same way that you did in the previous step. The nails should go at an angle to attach the base of the flooring to the subfloor without affecting the appearance of the floor. Repeat this until you've covered the entire floor.

Step 6 -- Replace the Baseboard

When the floor is completely covered, replace the baseboard that you removed earlier in order to complete the project. Double check for uneven sections of floor.

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