In this era of advanced technology, hardwood floor construction has seen a revolution like never before. Technological advancements have enabled hardwood flooring installation easy and smooth. Even now you also can make your own hardwood floor.
Anyway, if you’re planning to make your own hardwood floor all by yourself, this article will walk you through the step-by-step process to help you achieve your DIY goal. With a set of the right know-how, all the tasks would get simplified for you.
In this article, I’ll discuss the factors associated with making your hardwood floor as well as the DIY method of installing it on your own. Let’s get started.
4 Steps To Make Own Hardwood Floor:
It’s finally time to start installing the floor. There are a few prominent methods to install a hardwood floor – floating, nail down, staple down, etc. Since the floating method is the most comprehensive and appropriate in terms of DIY installations, I’ve chosen this particular process to share with you.
Let’s discuss the floating method further with step-by-step installation modules:
First, make sure you have read the manufacturer’s manual thoroughly. It will explain to you the proper process of preparing and laying the floor. Different types of hardwood floors may require different procedures, so carefully study the guidelines mentioned in the manual. The floor can be laid over practically any type of subfloor since the hardwood boards are not bonded to that.
Preparing the subfloor is crucial. First and foremost, the subfloor has to be neat and clean. Then, test if the subfloor is even. You may examine this by placing a board of wood on edge of it. Is there room between the subfloor and the wood surface? In cases of more than a 3/4-inch gap, you will have to put additional self-leveling wood putty or joint compound on your floor.
The subfloor ought to be sufficiently level once dry. Next, pick the way you want to put the hardwood flooring. Floating flooring can be installed in any pattern or order. Choose what best matches your preferences and the setting.
Step-2: Get The Tools
After getting done with the preparation, let’s now look at the necessary tools you’ll require to complete the task :
- Pull Tool,
- Tapping Block,
- Chalk Line,
These tools are available in the market. Remember to check the manufacturer’s manual to know if you require additional tools for the job.
Step-3: Get Into Installation
The initial 3 rows that you’ll be laying at the beginning of the installation process are quite instrumental. They must be upright and straight, with all of the joints fitting snugly. To hold all the connections tightly, use straps and clamps. You aim to keep the placed boards or planks from parting as you go putting the next piece of hardwood into line.
One of the typical methods of joining hardwood planks using a floating installation module is to employ glue or adhesive in between plank joints. In this method, you need to run a line of glue along the edge or joint of the hardwood. After that
snap that particular piece into the previous plank you laid down.
Before you start applying glue, decide where the wood planks should go. Bear in mind that any kind of adhesive or glue dries up from 7 to 10 minutes. Therefore, be precise with your placement. Avoid using too much adhesive. You can use a piece of cloth to remove any excess amount of glue.
While installing, you need to perform woodcuts. It’s better to take two measurements while you do so. This way, you won’t wind up with a bunch of worthless pieces of hardwood instead of functional flooring planks.
Insert the hardwood pieces and use a tapping block and a hammer to join the wood pieces. Tapping blocks are meant to safeguard the plank’s edge or tongue from damage. Do not hammer on the edge or tongue ever without deploying the tapping block. Always make sure to press the tapping block firmly to the tongue while hammering.
To fill in the gaps, knock very delicately. It is recommended to hammer frequently yet gently rather than fewer times aggressively. If you figure out that the hardwood pieces aren’t fitting together, check whether something is stuck beneath the floor such as excess glue, dirt, etc. But if the planks fit together correctly, you’ll find no gap between the joints.
If you see any tongue between the boards, tenderly wriggle the boards apart and inspect for issues. If the issue isn’t apparent, you might need to use a new plank. Before installing the new planks, remember to re-glue them.
Steer the path of the joint you’re attempting to seal as you hammer the wood pieces together. Remember, it is very hard to adjust or alter the joints after the floor gets set. To avoid this issue, you must carefully arrange your task. To avoid this issue, you should carefully design your task.
Keep laying the flooring by attaching planks with glue and hammering them softly into position. You should allow enough space around the room’s perimeter for the wood planks to expand and shrink. Remember that hardwood is an organic material that changes physical properties with changes in temperature and time. Such gaps are frequently filled with molding. The manufacturer’s guidelines might provide information as to how much room to provide for such expansions.
As you finish installing the majority of the floor, you’ll fall short of space to use the tapping block. In this case, drag the wood planks together with a hammer and a pulling iron. To preserve the wood, you can use a little scrap of timber that has a groove. To safeguard the finish of the wood as you are at the final phase of installation, get a soft cloth or towel to put down the equipment and kneel on it.
After the installation is completed, it’s now time to install transitions, base molding, and trim to cover the entire expansion area. Next, leave the floor to settle as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Step-4: Finishing The Floor
As I’ve mentioned earlier, prefinished woods are available in the market for you to use readily. But if you choose to do it yourself, you can still achieve a professional look with proper planning. Let’s look at a brief rundown of things you’ll have to do to finish your floor on your own :
- Leave the floor to rest before proceeding to finish it.
- Seal off entrances with plastic to ready the room. It will assist in keeping a steady temperature as well as the level of humidity.
- Hardwood flooring should be sealed comprehensively on all four sides. Pre-coat the sections that will no longer be accessible after installation. The rear of strip flooring does not have to be sealed, however, it is advised in cases of wide plank floors.
- Wood floors need sanding at least thrice. Each with successively finer qualities of sandpaper. After every sanding, make sure to carefully sweep away the dust and vacuum subsequently.
- Use a rag or brush to apply the stain thoroughly. Allow the stain to set. The excess should then be removed.
- Once the stain dries up, apply the final layer of coating. Leave it to dry as per the product’s requirements.
- Sand the surface with steel wool, an abrasive pad, and 150-180 grit sandpaper. Now, use a clean cloth to wipe the area.
- Repeat the sanding, cleaning, and coating process on the flooring. Typically, several coats are required to achieve your desired appearance.
The perk of wood floors is that they are extremely long-lasting if given proper care. Regardless of how cautious you are with hardwood floors, you would be required to refinish them at specific intervals. If your flooring suffers a battering, such as from pets, you might need to refinish them more frequently.
Some floors just need resurfacing every 3 years, while others, especially those in heavy traffic areas, might require more regular refinishing. If you’ve ever done flooring yourself, refinishing tasks may seem simple and easy. All you have to do is sand the floor and then reapply the finishing material to preserve and seal the hardwood.
Things You Should Consider While Making (DIY) Hardwood Floor:
With the right planning, necessary tools, adequate preparation, and appropriate materials, you can achieve a commendable feat in DIY hardwood flooring projects.
So now, let’s discuss the components of the DIY module that you will need to take into consideration and subsequently decide on while taking up the project.
- Types of Hardwood:
While deciding what type of wood to use, there are concerns of substance as well as style that need to be addressed. Since there’s no DIY interior style rule that can’t be broken, feel free to choose what appeals to you and compliments your budget. The prices of various types of wood can differ significantly.
There are way too many wood species found in nature to name, some of the popular hardwood flooring options are – Pine, Red Oak, White Oak, Cherry, Birch, Douglas Fir, Beech, etc. While considering various types of wood, keep in mind that the flooring price is quoted on a per square foot basis.
It’s wise to start by taking the measurements. This way, you can efficiently estimate the expenses after figuring out the square footage of the area that needs to be floored.
You are likely to pay approximately $2 per square foot for the low-end oak material. Beech and birch woods can be significantly more expensive per square foot.
- Hardness Of The Wood:
When deciding the type of wood you select, keep the relative hardness of the wood into consideration. The Janka Rating method is applied to calculate such relative hardness, which measures the force necessary to drive a 0.444-inch steel ball into the timber so that half of the diameter of the ball gets embedded. The greater the number, the tougher the wood species.
- Grading Of The Wood:
Another factor when selecting wood is the grade of the wood. National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association (NOFMA) developed a grading system to characterize the look of hardwood flooring. Color, texture, and markings are all examined in the ratings.
The best wood grades have clarity and pick. These grades of wood feature fewer marks and a more uniform look as compared to common grades, which can have a wide range of markings.
- Types Of Finishes:
Finishes are a smart way to customize your hardwood flooring according to your taste. There are two types of hardwood flooring finishes regardless of prefinished or DIY:
- Surface finish
- Penetrating finish
The surface finish is quite low maintenance and pretty long-lasting. On the other hand, the penetrating finish requires some specific upkeeps, for example – the wax used in it requires reapplication regularly at specific intervals. In addition to that, only specified cleaners are allowed on the floor if you have a penetrating finish.
- Sheen For The Finish:
You then need to choose the sheen pertinent to your finish. You have the liberty to pick a very shiny (high gloss) finish, a low gloss finish, or a satin or matte finish. While high-gloss surfaces appear professional, they are more prone to scratches.
In most cases, matte or low-gloss finishes are preferred for residential applications. Remember that if you choose a prefinished hardwood, you should select the finishing option while placing the order for the flooring.
FAQs Regarding How To Make Your Own Hardwood Floor:
Is DIY Hardwood Floor A Good Idea?
The fundamental reason behind the immense popularity of DIY hardwood floors is their cost-effectiveness. Having said that, hiring a professional to get the installation done would take much less time than doing it all by yourself. Plus, you’ll certainly get excellent outcomes from professionals.
After all, professionals do these kinds of work daily. Remember that the benefit of this DIY won’t be in terms of saving time or impeccable execution, but rather in terms of how much money can be saved.
If you opt for DIY, you only need to pay for the materials and buy or rent tools. These expenses are significantly lower than what you would pay for professional installation. It is because you are not paying for the quality and expertise of specialist personnel.
Is It Hard To Do Your Own Hardwood Floors?
Solid hardwood floors might come across as somewhat difficult as compared to other wooden flooring options such as engineering hardwood, laminate, etc in terms of DIY projects. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unachievable and not worth it. After all, hardwood flooring is the most organic and longest-lasting option among all the wooden floor alternatives.
With proper planning, appropriate materials, necessary tools, the right method, and smooth execution, the job is overwhelmingly simpler than you think it is. In this age of modern technology, there has been a boost of prefinished hardwood flooring materials that can cut down the time, energy, and effort you otherwise need to put into such installations.
How Do You Make Cheap Hardwood Floors?
There are quite a few factors that play a role in determining the cost of a hardwood flooring project such as – whether or not you’re hiring a professional, the price of the type of wood you want to use, the finish option, the grade of the hardwood, etc.
Getting the job done by a professional shop is more expensive than DIY because there’s a cost of labor and expertise included in cases of hire-out projects. If you do it yourself, the cost of labor and expertise can be eliminated and it will thus keep the ultimate cost of the project relatively lower.
While solid hardwood is typically more expensive than engineered hardwood, some extremely popular solid hardwood choices cost pretty low. Pine is one of the most inexpensive solid hardwood choices. On the other hand, White Oak engineered hardwood is also a cheap alternative if you are considering engineered wood.
What Is The Cheapest Hardwood Flooring?
In cases of solid hardwood, pine is one of the cheapest options for flooring. As for engineered hardwoods, they are in general less expensive compared to solid hardwood. While that doesn’t concretely imply its universal affordability, it still gives a general notion about the pricing for various wood floor choices.
Oak, Maple, etc. engineered hardwood is pretty affordable. But you need to consider that any species of wood both for solid and engineered flooring materials come in various grades. Engineered Oak or Maple, for example, has varying grades or qualities within themselves. So, the pricing is set-based on such distinctions.
What Do You Put Under Hardwood Flooring?
There is usually an extra layer of materials inserted between the subfloor and surface floor of hardwood. This layer is popularly known as the ‘underlayment’ and it can be of various materials such as foam, cork, rubber, fiber-based products or cloths, plastic, etc.
What kind of material you’d use for underlayment and whether or not you need to put one depends on the floor installation method you opt for. Also, the type of hardwood you are using needs to have compatibility with the underlayment material.
Should You Install Hardwood Floors Yourself?
Whether or not you should install hardwood floors yourself depends on the objective you want to attain. If you want to minimize the overall cost, DIY is the choice. On the other hand, if you don’t want to take all the hassle on your shoulder and want an immaculate floor, it’s better to hire a professional to get the job done.
The primary reason behind people opting for DIY installations is cost efficiency rather than getting a professional-looking outcome from the project.
If you are wondering whether to opt for DIY or hire a professional, I recommend you to get your priority straight first and foremost.
Hopefully, this article has been able to narrate the easy and effective DIY method for hardwood floor installation to facilitate your home improvement endeavor even further. Feel free to hone your DIY skill by attempting the method and expect to get a cost-effective as well as the desired outcome by capitalizing on your creativity.