Solid Hardwood Floor DIY Pre Installation Prep

Most of us have heard the many discussions of when to choose engineered or solid hardwood floor covering options. There can be many factors involved, but once you have made your decision you must begin to learn the details of one over the other. Today, I will discuss the pre installation preparations that should be made ready before working with Solid hardwood floor products. The first thing to do will be to read the manufacturer guidelines as well as those of the NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association). Next you will want to observe all of the universal wood flooring pre installation prerequisites such as acclimating your wood the work site and ensuring stable environmental conditions within the work site. Make sure that your NWFA and Manufacturer approved subfloor is moisture tested, flattened and cleaned thoroughly.

Solid Hardwood Floor

Next we must figure out and decide a few things before beginning any real installation. You need to find out where the floor joists are in the room and install your solid hardwood floor planks perpendicular to them and you will want to do this starting with the longest available line. Normally this will be the longest wall in a single room or when installing into multiple rooms, it will be a hallway or corridor.


Next you must cover your subfloor with an NWFA and Manufacturer approved moisture retarder or padding. Using your stapler to weigh down the end of the pad so you can position it as is needed, overlapping the seams at least 2-4 inches.


Now you will take some precise measurements of the room to help establish your working line.

Because few rooms are perfectly square, you may have to hide some extra board width.


    • Measure both sides of the room perpendicular to the longest wall or your working line.


    • Now take the difference between these two numbers and split it.


    • Take each half and add it to the point where you will start your working line.


    • Now one row of boards on each side of the room will gradually taper ½ inch across the room.


    • In some cases when you have breaks (doorways, closets) in one of the two walls parallel to your working line, you can choose to hide it all there by adding all of the difference to that wall.


Where you hide the difference will vary in respect to your particular installation. Make sure to plan ahead in order to take care of this difference from the start and avoid any problems later on!

Solid Hardwood Floor Tools

Now we want  to mark our working line. To make sure that your rows run straight, measure back from the starting wall four board widths, plus a ¾ inch expansion space, while correcting for any inconsistencies in the length of the room.


The Formula you can use for this would be (4x(Width of Board))+Expansion+Difference


The last step in the pre installation process for solid hardwood floor covering products is to bring in your previously acclimated boards to the starting work site. You will want to bring in 2-3 boxes of solid hardwood flooring so that you can mix and match lengths and grains of differing boxes. Also be sure to set them with the tongues facing away from the starting wall, otherwise you will end up flipping every single board!


Following this guide should help any DIY type get a strong start in their solid hardwood installation! Be sure to check out the follow up to this article that will cover the actual installation process for Solid hardwood and do not forget to check out the many beautiful and natural solid hardwood floor covering products available today!

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