Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wood Floor Tutorial

This was a project completed in 2007 pre-blog, so the pictures aren't great and they aren't very detailed. Sorry. I think there are enough images to give you the idea, but mostly I want to encourage anyone who is thinking of tackling this, but is hesitant because it seems too difficult. It is not difficult. It is, however, time consuming.
The cost of paying a professional to do this can be steep. I found that it was almost equal to the cost of materials. So if you decide to do this yourself you could cut your costs in half. Go For It!

The wood used here is Home Depot Direct, Brazilian Cherry, engineered wood. I don't think it's made anymore, but most of these engineered hardwood floors are similar and the process of installation is the same. Also, this floor is glued down. Not nailed. Our wood floor was installed onto a concrete foundation.

Brazilian cherry hardwood floor
The completed floor. Brazilian Cherry.

Our house was mostly saltillo tile with carpet in the bedrooms and den. We installed wood in those three rooms and these pictures will jump between those rooms to show the steps. Confused??? Me too! Okay... don't pay attention to the room-just the floor-because I'm skipping from room to room to show the different steps.

The first step involves cleaning the floor. We removed the old carpet, its padding, and any of the glue that held the padding in place. You want the wood floor adhesive to be in direct contact with the cement foundation. We had white paint spray all over the floors from when the house was built. We went over it with a scraper and a wet rag.

installing hardwood floor
Here you can see some of the floor getting prepped and because we were still sleeping in this room, we worked in sections and moved around the giant bed. We did not remove the baseboards or add cherry wood trim to the edges. I'll show you how we dealt with that further down in this post.

 installing hardwood floors onto cement foundation
Figure out which direction you want the wood floor to run and then start along a wall. Most room walls are not perfectly straight-we used a perfect 2X4 (seen above) as a straight edge/guide and would check that a row was staying straight as we went (every few rows). Make sure the pieces are fitting tightly together. You may need to use a rubber mallet, or a block of wood, to tap (lightly) pieces tight. It is important to keep a small space between the wood flooring and the edges of the room (baseboards/walls) because the wood floor will expand and contract with the weather. You can see the blue spacers running along the baseboard in the picture above. We used a circular saw to cut the wood flooring when needed.

glue for wood floor

This is the wood  floor adhesive we used. It was from Home Depot. There are instructions written on the bucket. Depending on the climate in your area, the glue dries fairly fast. We are in a dry climate, Arizona, and found that it was best to only apply about 30 working minutes worth of glue at a time. Apply in in a neat line to match your rows.

Apply adhesive to floor with a notched trowel. ** TIP** We found it was best to always place the wood so that the tongue (tongue&groove) end was facing in, towards the room.
Placing the tongue side INTO the grooved side doesn't smear the glue around as much as if you were to place the groove ONTO the tongue side. But it's not necessary, just a personal preference.

 Reject pieces (there will be some) were marked up with pencil. This piece has many surface cracks.

installing hardwood floor, diy installing engineered wood floor
Because of the slight inconsistency in the colors of the wood planks and the different lengths, we went through the planks first and set  them down (without glue!) on the floor to make sure that the different shades of cherry and the different lengths of the planks would be evenly spread throughout the room. The planks on the right side are the dry run and the planks on the left are glued.

baseboard and trim for engineered hardwood floors, glued down wood floors
Instead of covering the small gap at the edges with matching cherry wood trim I decided add a piece of trim that would look like a piece of detail from the original baseboards. It was a lot cheaper than the matching pieces of wood trim and I prefer this look.

baseboard and trim corner for hardwood floors
Corner detail.

Brazilian hardwood floor and saltillo tile
At the edge where the wood floor meets the tile (the doorways) I went AGAINST instructions, and recommendations, and put the wood almost right up against the tile. I didn't want to use a piece of pesky trim. So far so good...

Brazilian cherry engineered wood floor and saltillo tile
Diagonal cut along the tile.

Some before and afters:


Brazilian cherry wood floor, cherry wood floor, diy wood floor tutorial, engineered wood floor tutorial