Deciding If Installing Your Own Hardwood Floors Is Right For You?

Deciding If Installing Your Own Hardwood Floors Is Right For You


Installing your own hardwood flooring may sometimes seem like a formidable task to handle for the typical do-it-yourself project, but arming yourself with the proper knowledge and a little research can help you obtain that beautiful hardwood floor you always wanted, and help make the installation process go a lot smoother.  When deciding on whether or not to do self installation, there are a few factors to consider when determining if installing your own hardwood floors is the path for you.

     Cost generally plays a major role in all home improvement projects, and certainly the ability to install your own hardwood flooring can be a great benefit in realizing a successful return on investment for your flooring project.   Labor costs for hardwood floor installation significantly increases the overall cost of a hardwood floor, and the money saved from self installation can either be put  towards attaining a higher quality flooring product, or you can simply pocket the savings.

     Your level of proficiency in carpentry and finishing should be taken into consideration when deciding if self-installation is the approach for you.  Every hardwood flooring project will require the use of cutting tools such as a circular saw, but from there the type of flooring product you choose determines the installation process, and therefore the inherent difficulty of the flooring installation.  Hardwood flooring comes in many forms  from laminate flooring, to solid hardwood floors, and engineered wood flooring, each type requiring its own methods of installation.Installing hardwood floors

     Laminate flooring is essentially an image of a wood pattern overlaid on a wood chip composite board.  Laminates are the easiest form of hardwood floor to install as they are generally “floating floors” in that they install without any attachment to the subfloor by nails or glue.  The main issue with laminate wood flooring is that they are virtually un-repairable if they were to be damaged by chipping or scratching as they cannot be refinished, and to replace a damaged board the entire floor must be taken back up to the point of damage. 

     Solid wood flooring and engineered hardwoods are typically installed using one of three methods: nails or staples, glued down using a urethane or water based adhesive, or it can even be a floating floor.  Nail-down flooring is installed using a pneumatic nailer which can be rented from most any tool rental provider.  Glue down flooring is installed by spreading a thin layer of adhesive by trowel to the subfloor, thereby fully adhering the planks to the subfloor.  Floating hardwood floors, typically associated with engineered wood flooring, installs much like a floating laminate floor with the exception being that the tongue and groove joint is glued together to prevent any movement.  The method of installation required should be taken under serious consideration when deciding which product type is right for you.

     Using a prefinished wood flooring product vastly reduces the difficulty of installing a new wood floor and requires much less labor to install.  Just the sanding process involved with an unfinished wood floor product can be quite difficult and time consuming as well as the additional stage of staining and polyurethane application required with installing an unfinished wood floor.

      If you are comfortable using power tools such as a circular saw, jigsaw, and a pneumatic nailer as well as a few hand tools such as a hammer, tape measure and chalk line, then installing your own hardwood flooring is a project you can most likely handle.  With the proper research, a little patience and the right tools, installing your own wooden floors will add significant value and beauty to your home for a fraction of the cost of having them installed for you, with the added satisfaction of the pride you will get out of putting your own time and effort into something that has such an immense impact on your home.