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How to Install Hardwood Flooring

Learn the basics with this hardwood flooring installation guide.

If you’ve installed any type of floor before or have average DIY skills, you can install a hardwood floor successfully. All you need is the right floor system, preparation, tools, and installation instructions.

From leveling the subfloor to installing trims and moldings, there’s a lot to know when it comes to how to install hardwood floors. Fortunately, a hardwood installation project can be broken down into three manageable steps: preparation, installation, and finishing.

Hardwood Floor Installation Overview

Preparation – Before you begin, carefully read the detailed installation instructions on how to install hardwood floors included with your product.

  • Gather together the recommended tools and materials.
  • Be sure the subfloor is dry, clean, and flat.
  • Gently remove wall base, millwork, or trim you’ll re-use.
  • Properly acclimate the hardwood according to the instructions.

Installation – Have all your materials and tools easily accessible.

  • Roll out the underlayment recommended for your hardwood floor.
  • Lay floor pieces parallel with the longest wall in the room.
  • Begin on the left side and work right, with the small tongue side facing the wall.
  • Use spacers between boards and walls to allow for expansion.

Finishing – The finishing details can make or break the success of a professional-looking job, so don’t cut corners here.

  • For the last row, you may have to cut boards lengthwise.
  • Trace for contours to be cut and fitted according to installation guide.
  • After installing the last row, remove spacers.
  • Attach trim and moldings.

For more detailed instructions, download the flooring installation guide for your product.