10 Things to Know About Hardwood Floor Installation

Preparation is the key to a smooth installation. These tips will help.

Wherever you are in the floor buying journey, installation should play an important role in your decision-making. Who's going to install it? How and where will it be installed? These types of things can affect your budget and timeline, so consider them from the beginning to ensure the best possible results.

  1. Consider where you're going to install.

    Carefully review the product specifications and instructions before you buy. The vast majority of hardwood products are not recommended for bathroom or laundry room installations (though, our Hydropel flooring is one exception). If you plan to install in a basement or over concrete slab or a radiant heating system, choose engineered hardwood instead of solid hardwood
  2. Know what installation options are available.

    Recommended installation methods can differ from product to product. Solid hardwood must be nailed, stapled or glued down. Engineered wood can often be floated, meaning the planks connect to each other instead of the subfloor. Floating hardwood installation is much more DIY-friendly.
  3. Decide whether you'll DIY or hire a professional.

    If you plan to do it yourself, it's probably fastest and easiest to choose an engineered flooring product that can be floated. Hardwood installation that requires staples, nails or glue can be challenging—even for experienced DIYers. If you decide to hire a professional, ask your flooring retailer to recommend a professional installer that they are associated with, or someone who they have successfully referred before. This will give you peace of mind that your floor is being installed correctly.
  4. Read the instructions well in advance.

    Your specific product instructions cover a lot of information about what supplies are needed and what you can expect throughout each step of the process. Read every word to ensure you're fully prepared. View installation instructions.
  5. Gather all your supplies.

    Those instructions you read so thoroughly list out any extra tools and materials you'll need. While requirements vary from product to product, your list could include things like trims and moldings underlayment, nails, staples, glue, an air compressor, and/or miscellaneous tools.
  6. Ready the room.

    Move furniture out of the way, and if necessary remove and dispose of the old flooring. Be gentle when pulling off any wall base, trim or millwork that you plan to reuse.
  7. Be sure the subfloor is clean, dry and flat.

    If it's not, do any necessary repairs before you begin installing the new flooring.
  8. Acclimate flooring, if necessary.

    Don't skip this important step, which gives the hardwood time to adjust to the room's normal environment. All solid hardwood should be acclimated, but it may not be necessary for engineered products. Check your instructions.
  9. Follow every step of the instructions.

    Closely review your product instructions. The significance of certain steps may seem minor in the moment, but if overlooked could cause big problems later during the installation—for example, establishing your starting point and properly preparing doorways, walls, and subfloors. Have questions? Contact Customer Care.
  10. Get your new floors ready for action.

    Fast forward and your new floors are in place and looking good. Just a few more quick things: clear your supplies, remove tape, wipe up any glue with a clean, damp cloth. Then give them a good cleaning with Bruce® Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner. Get more cleaning tips.

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