DIY: How to Install Your Own Wood Flooring

So you have decided to renovate your home by installing real wood flooring, and you are wondering what it would take to do so without the help of a Tampa Bay wood flooring contractor. You consider yourself pretty handy, and the money you think you will save by doing the job on your own seems like it would be worth your time. And you may be right, but only if you learn exactly what you are supposed to do, because any mistakes may end up costing you more than if you had hired that experienced wood flooring contractor in the first place.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install your own wood flooring without the help of a Tampa Bay wood flooring contractor. For this example, we chose to discuss a “floating floor” installation method, which is the simplest way to go for do-it-yourselfers.

1. Measure the surface. This is a nice, basic way to start your hardwood floor installation. Make sure to get accurate dimensions and measurements so you buy the right amount of wood for the job. If you come up short, there is a chance that the store where you purchased the wood could run out and you may end up on a wild goose chase searching for wood that matches.

2. Choose Your Wood Type and Style. Now that you have your measurements, it’s time to go to the store and select your wood type and style. To be safe, you should probably purchase about 15% more wood than you needed based on your measurements to avoid the possibility of a shortfall.

3. Prepare the room. Depending on your current flooring situation, this might mean ripping out old carpeting or another surface to expose the plywood subfloor. However, if your current floor is a flat surface like vinyl or wood, you may be able to install your new floating wood floor on top of it. Once you are down to your flat surface, make sure it is completely dust-free and clean.

4. Lay out your foam. You should have purchased a roll of foam for the bottom layer of your floor. Roll it out to cover the floor, making sure to do so in strips that run opposite of the direction you are intending to install you wood planks in (a la a tic-tac-toe board). You also need to cut out the bottom of your door jams so the wood planks can slip underneath. Please be careful with this, as any small mistake can leave an unsightly gap.

5. Start to lay out your planks. The most important thing to remember when you start to actually lay out your wood floor planks is that the last plank will have to be a decent width (think 8 inches), and the interior planks must be full size. Because of this, you need to make careful measurements and cut your first plank so you will have a big enough last plank once you get there. If you make a mistake, you may end up having to rip up the entire floor you just installed. You also must put small spacers between the first plank and the wall before you begin laying out your rows.

6. Lock the planks together as you go. For a floating floor install, the wood planks you purchased should have grooved joint that fit together. As you lay out each plank, make sure it fits snuggly into the previous plank. Then, lock them together by hammering a tapping block into the plank you just put down. Continue this until you get to the last plank before the opposite wall. Remember, you also may have to cut notches out of certain boards so they will fit around corners and openings like your closet. This, again, will take a lot of skill if you want your wood flooring to look right.

7. Install the last plank in the row. Once you reach the last plank, you will have to cut it to fit in the gap that is left. Again, you should’ve left yourself enough room to fit a plank that’s at least 8 inches wide. If you didn’t, you may have to start all over again. Once you’ve cut the last plank, slip it in between the second to last plank and the wall, and use a pull bar to lock it into place.

8. Do it again. Repeat the above steps for each row until you’ve installed your entire wood floor.

Now that you’ve installed your wood flooring, it is time to start working on the molding. But that is a DIY lesson for another day.

If you’d like to speak to an experienced Tampa Bay wood flooring contractor to learn more about hardwood flooring options for your home, please contact Jack O’ Trades here.