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From Preparation To Maintenance: A Homeowner’s Guide To Hardwood Flooring

Close-up on man hands in white gloves fitting wooden tiles

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Hardwood is one of the best options you can choose from. Apart from its durability, it’s also known for its elegant appearance and cost-effectiveness. When properly fit, the hardwood flooring’s lifespan may reach fifty to one hundred years from the time of installation. Maintenance is another good way to make it last longer and retain its features for an extended time.

Suppose you’re considering installing hardwood as your flooring choice. In that case, you may need some insights into preparing and maintaining it. That way, you could make the most of your time, money, and effort. For that purpose, here’s an article to guide you. So, read on!

Preparation Tips

  • Clean And Level The Subfloor

You may start removing the baseboard using a trim puller or a pry bar. These tools help in removing the existing flooring without damaging the walls. You may have enough space for the floor installation and expansion after removing the baseboard, door trims, and other moldings.

To make your subfloor properly intact and leveled, you may add an underlayment. This could provide better stability for the hardwood and prevent its shakiness for the years to come. In addition, it’ll also support the floor and fill in the gaps on the subfloor.

To ensure the flatness and fitting of your underlayment, you may need hard-wearing adhesives and screeds. You could choose from the products on woodenfloorsuk.com and other websites. In selecting an adhesive, you may consider its ease of application, time of drying, and moisture resistance.

  • Prepare An Outdoor Cutting Area

Dust and debris are the biggest hassles in hardwood floor installation in many cases. To keep these at low levels, you may prepare an outdoor cutting area where you or your hired flood installer could work properly. Choose a location not too far from the installation area where you could quickly come and go. Yet, it shouldn’t be too close either that your sawdust and debris will accumulate on the spot.

  • Keep It Dry

Before you install the hardwood, you may conduct a moisture test to determine the level of the dampness of the different parts of the subfloor. You could test the exterior walls, near-plumbing spaces, and under windows. If the numbers suit the recommended level of the hardwood manufacturer, you may start installing the wood pieces.

On the other hand, if the moisture level is more than what’s recommended, you may air-dry the spaces until the desired moisture is achieved. In some cases, workers use dehumidifiers to lower dampness levels. To ensure that the areas are relatively dry, check for leaks and water sources that could affect the moisture. Vacuum, if necessary.

 Installing hardwood floor

Installation Tips

  • Start With The Straight

Choose the straightest boards as they’re ideal for the first two rows. You may also consider the moisture-free pieces as the damp ones may still shrink and lose their shape. Many installers wait for three to five days before nailing or gluing the wooden boards to ensure they’re already straight and fit for floor installation.

  • Choose A Method: To suit your flooring needs and your preferences, you may choose from the common methods, including the following:
  • Glue Down: This may be ideal for engineered wooden boards or parquets. Typically, an installer may use a strong adhesive for this procedure.
  • Nail Down: Many floor installers apply this method with thin wood flooring. In this method, small nails clip or fasten the boards to the subfloor.
  • Staple Down: This is similar to the nail-down method. Instead of nails, installers use staples.
  • Floating: Many DIYers prefer this method because it’s the easiest and fastest. In this method, the boards are attached using an adhesive. The panels are snapped and clipped together in some cases without nailing them to the subfloor. Typically, a pad is placed between the subfloor and wood floor in this procedure.
  • Install The Boards: You may need a floor nailer or drill to prevent splitting for easier installation. This way, you could drive flooring nails easily into the holes. You may start installing the first and last rows of the board. Then, you may set ¾” spacers between the end of the wall and the board before laying the boards.

You may push the groove onto the first row’s tongue for the second row. When done, blind-nail the board in place. You may continue installing the other rows after this. You may cut the jogs and vents to fit the panels. Finally, you may fill the nail holes to better serve each board.

Maintenance And Aftercare Tips

To maintain hardwood flooring, you may consider practicing the following points.

  • Use furniture pads to reduce scratches.
  • Sweep daily to prevent dirt and dust buildup, especially if you have pets at home.
  • Keep the floors dry by immediately cleaning spills. To avoid wood swelling and shrinkage, you may use a dehumidifier to prevent soaking the boards for an extended time.
  • You may need to refinish your floor every three to five years for the best results. In choosing a finish, you may consider the product’s cleanability, protection, and appearance.

Wrapping Up

Hardwood flooring is one of the best options for your floor. To make the most of it, you may need proper preparation, installation, and aftercare. You may refer to the tips mentioned above to guide you for that purpose. While they don’t guarantee that the flooring won’t have any issues in the future, they’ll reduce the problems that may occur.