Introduction: How to Install a Hardwood Floor.

My house is over 120 years old so I figured that an upstairs bedroom was long overdue for new flooring. Especially since it only had the old tongue & groove sub floor rather than nice hardwood or carpeting. In this Instructable I will go through the basic steps necessary to install a new hardwood floor. The tear up of the old subfloor took about 7 hours with the help of my wife. The installation of the new plywood subfloor took about another 4-5. The new hardwood I installed alone which took a weekend and a few hours on 3-4 weeknights. If you have someone to help through the entire project it could easily be done in a single weekend depending on whether you need to install a new subfloor or not.

I used the following tools & materials to complete this installation:
All costs are rounded up.
Pry Bars
Compound Miter Saw
Circular saw
Cordless drill
Pneumatic Floor Stapler with 2" Floor Staples $120 total - rented
18 Gauge Pneumatic Brad Nailer
18 Gauge 2" brads $6
Air Compressor set at 100 psi
54 feet of 3/4" Pine Roundover trim $40
Approx. 180 Sq Ft of 3/4" prefinished oak flooring $525
5-1/2 sheets of 3/4" pine plywood (subfloor) About $90
1 box of multipurpose screws $10

Step 1: Tear Up Old Subfloor.

This may or may not be required depending on the condition of your existing sub floor. As I said, mine was tongue & groove meaning that the edge of one board fit some what tightly into the adjoining one. However the floor was quite uneven from years of wear and most of the boards were quite loose so I chose to remove all of the old boards and replace them with 4x8 sheets of 3/4 inch plywood. I used a circular saw to cut along the edge of the floor with the blade set at a depth just deep enough to cut through the boards yet not the floor joists. I also used the circular saw to cut the 4x8 sheets of ply wood to size.

Step 2: Install New Subfloor & Begin Installing Hardwood.

Here I have installed all of the 3/4" plywood for my new subfloor. This will provide a nice even surface to install the new hardwood on top of. I used 2" multipurpose screws to screw the new subfloor to the floor joyce's. I began installing the new hardwood from the wall opposite the door. I place the strips of new flooring tight against the wall and nailed it in place using a 18 gauge pneumatic brad nailer.

Step 3: Make Sure That the Tongue & Groove Floor Strips Fit Tightly.

To accomplish this I lined each piece of flooring up and struck it lightly with the floor stapler mallet.

Step 4: Line Up the Pneumatic Floor Stapler.

Tap the bottom of the floor stapler to ensure that it is tight against the new floor board.

Step 5: Strike the Stapler Driver Surface.

Next I strike the black stapler surface area which makes the stapler drive the staples into the floor boards. The standard staples for the stapler I rented are 2" long. Since these won't easily budge once driven into the floor I staggered them in space 1 every 1' to 3'. This depends on the length of the individual board. Also, with oak the longer boards can be somewhat irregular and not perfectly even. In those cases I simply pushed the board firmly into the other and spaced the staples somewhat closer together.

Step 6: Cut Strips to Length Near the Ends.

When working from one side of the room toward the other it is soon apparent that the precut boards need to be trimmed so that they fit properly. Basically just find a board that is as close to fitting in the required space and trim it to fit. You don't want much more than 1/4" remaining so that it is easily covered by the round over trim when finishing.

Step 7: Keep Installing Floor.

Keep doing the previous steps until you are close to the other side of the room.

Step 8: Here Is the Floor Half Done.

Here I have stapled about half of the new hardwood flooring by cutting to length and stapling each in one at a time.

Step 9: 3/4 Done.

Reaching completion. Again, using the same cut to length and staple method.

Step 10: Finally Finished.

For the last couple strips I used the 18 gauge brad nailer to face nail them in place. Otherwise the same cut, tap and staple method was used. I also used a the same brad nailer to install 3/4" round over trim around the perimiter of the room. This covered the slight gap mentioned earlier along the baseboard and gave the floor that nice finished look.

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