What Are the Best Installation Methods for Wooden Floors?

Installation methods for wooden floors | First Atlanta Flooring

Your client has picked and purchased the hardwood or engineered wood they want, and they are ready to go to the next step, which is installation. There are several installation methods when it comes to hardwood or engineered floors, and each of these methods comes with certain advantages and disadvantages. It’s important, as a professional in the industry, to advise clients and help them choose the best installation method for their needs. Taking a bit of time to go over the different installation methods can save a client a lot of time and effort later on, as by choosing the right method, they’ll be able to avoid certain problems in the future. 

The nail-down method

Nail-down is the most common flooring installation method, and it’s used primarily with thinner wood flooring. The process involves blind-drilling nails into the floor, to connect it to the subfloor beneath. However, it’s a method that can only be used if you’re installing over a wooden subfloor, since the nails need a solid material to grip onto. Nails are usually drilled into the tongue of the floorboards at a 45-degree angle, to make them ‘invisible.’ For this process, you will need to use special equipment, namely a nail gun specifically designed to install wooden floors. The nail gun should use flat nails that can grip into the floor and subfloor tightly and securely. 

Nailing down your floors is a good way to ensure that they are perfectly level, and will help avoid issues like bending or curving over time. As the nails grip tightly and firmly into the subfloor, you shouldn’t have any issues with creaking or stability, either. As long as you use the right equipment, make sure you have a wooden subfloor, and use the proper nailing technique, your floors will stay put for many years to come. 

The staple-down method 

Stapling down your new floors is very similar to the nail-down method, except that staples are used instead of nails to attach the floor to the subfloor beneath it. This is a much easier method than nail-down, because you don’t need to apply staples at an angle. However, you don’t want to staple down exotic hardwood flooring planks. That’s because stapling down exotic hardwood, which is usually much tougher than other types of flooring, would require a lot of force to be applied. This force can sometimes cause the exotic hardwood planks to split, and you certainly don’t want to deal with that, as exotic hardwood can be quite pricey. 

The glue-down method

The glue-down installation method can be used on engineered wood flooring and parquets, but not on hardwood floors. By gluing down the floor to the subfloor, you can ensure longevity, and soundproofing, as well, because glue fills in any spaces between the floor and subfloor, creating a solid surface. This method also eliminates any bouncing, creaking, or bending when stepping on the floor, and will keep your floor level and intact for many years. 

When using the glue-down method to install new flooring, you can pick between moisture-curing urethane and synthetic polymer adhesives, depending on the type of floor you’re installing. You’ll also need to make sure that the subfloor material is perfectly dry and flat, to ensure maximum adherence to the flooring above it. This can be done by sanding down high spots or filling in spaces with leveling compound. Once the adhesive is dry, the floor planks will take the shape of the subfloor, but will remain flexible and will still move naturally depending on changes in humidity or temperature. 

The floating method

Using the floating method to install new floors is the easiest method by far, as it does not imply gluing, stapling, or nailing down flooring planks. In this process, the floors are not attached to the subfloor; instead, they simply ‘float’ above it. But that doesn’t mean that the floor planks are not secured in place somehow. Adhesive can be applied to the boards to hold them together, while some planks come with an option that allows them to just ‘snap’ together. Floating floors can be applied over almost any type of surface, so you don’t need to purchase any special type of subfloor for the installation. However, you will need to insert a pad or underlayment between the floor and subfloor, to ensure noise reduction and protect against moisture. 

Floating is an ideal installation method if you need to install new flooring over hard-to-remove surfaces like vinyl, ceramic, or laminates. The floating method, however, is not recommended for hardwood flooring, and it’s most commonly used for engineered wood planks. Hardwood tends to expand and contract a lot more over time, and significant bending or cracking can happen in the long run if the hardwood planks are not firmly secured in place. The overall advantage of the floating method is that it’s quick, easy, and affordable. 

If you’re looking to buy hardwood or engineered flooring or accessories, stains, and various other types of equipment, check out our offerings at First Atlanta Flooring, and don’t hesitate to contact us for more details.