Wood Floor Installation Guide

The Pneumatic Finish Nailer (Top and Blind Nailing)

 Before using the Pneumatic Finish Nailer, refer to the Pneumatic Finish Nailer instruction manual so you can safely operate this power tool.  For the first row you will be top nailing first, then blind nailing soon after.  We recommend using the Pneumatic Porter Cable® Finish Nailer with the 16

Top nail at a 90 degree angle to the wood.

gauge 2” galvanized finish nails.  Set the pressure on the air compressor to about 75 psi and hold the nailer at a 90 degree angle to the wood so you are shooting the nail directly through the top of the board.  Each nail should be placed 1/2” from the groove side edge and spaced 6-8” apart to prevent squeaking.  Also, place the nails 1-3” from the ends of the board.  Later on you will fill these holes in with wood putty.

    Now that the first row is fastened through top

Wood Floor Installation Guide

Installing the Very First Row

Now we are finally ready to start laying rows! Select the longest, straightest boards available and use them for the first 2 rows.  You may need to search around and open a few boxes to find the right boards because many of these long boards will be slightly curved or bent.  Lay the first board with the groove facing the starting wall you have chosen, and leave at least a 3/4” expansion gap between the board and the wall.  This gap needs be present whenever the hardwood meets the wall (although if it is a smaller room you may be able to decrease the length of the expansion gap without any problems).  This gap will later be covered by the base moldings.  Be very meticulous with the alignment of these first boards.  Starting out with a straight alignment is vitally important because you want the hardwood to be straight when …

Wood Floor Installation Guide

Laying Tar/Felt Paper

The last task that needs to be accomplished before you begin installing hardwood is to lay out tar/felt paper which acts as the underlayment that aids in keeping out dust and preventing squeaks.  Most important, it acts as a water-proofer and keeps moisture out

that may seep upwards from below especially if there is a basement directly underneath the area you will be installing hardwood.  Do not overlook this step!  If water vapor starts to permeate through the bottom of the hardwood floor (which may happen even weeks after it is installed), the floor will raise up in various areas and create an unpleasant wavy appearance.  Sadly, the only

way to fix this predicament is to sand the floor down and refinish it.  The tar/ felt paper is handy because it is marked with chalk lines which are helpful when attempting to lay it out straight.  Be sure to overlap

Wood Floor Installation Guide

Choosing a Starting Point

With the walls and doorways ready to go, the next step is to establish a starting point to begin laying wood.  The best place to start is parallel to the longest, straightest outside wall, as this outside wall tends to be the straightest one in your house. Starting from this wall is only possible if you can install the wood planks perpendicular to the floor joists which will minimize the possibility of the floor sinking or caving in.  Installing wood from this longer wall can also help the room appear larger and more spacious than it actually is.  If you don’t know the direction that the floor joists run, use a stud finder to find out.

Note:  Another option for a starting point is at the center of the room.  This method is very useful because it allows you to install hardwood in both directions, making it easier if there …


Undercutting the Door Jamb With the RotoZip

Before attempting to use the RotoZip, refer to the RotoZip instruction manual so you can safely operate this power tool.  To prepare the RotoZip for undercutting the door jamb you will need to use the following RotoZip parts:

    •   DRIVE BIT




     Following the instructions found in the RotoZip instruction manual, first attach the DRIVE BIT to the keyless chuck.  Next, attach the ZM3 ZIPMATE RIGHT ANGLE ATTACHMENT and WOOD XWHEEL to the RotoZip.

    The next step is to remove the door so you can have easy access to the door jamb.  Then cut a piece of 5/8” thick particle board (approximately 15” long and 7” wide).  The particle board will aid you in making a flush cut.  Place it directly against the door jamb with the RotoZip on top as shown in these pictures.  Now you


Doorway and Wall Preparation

With the subfloor and hardwood ready to go it is time to prepare the walls and the doorways.  If you prefer, you may save the doorway preparation for when you actually reach a doorway.  To prepare the walls, simply remove the base boards with the pry bar while being very careful not to damage the wall.  Preparing the doorways is a little more difficult because you need to undercut the door jamb so the hardwood can fit comfortably underneath it without a noticeable gap.  This is where the Roto-Zip saw really comes in handy as we will explain in the following section.

Note: For door jamb undercuts you may use a handheld undercut jamb saw instead of the RotoZip.  The handheld undercut jamb saw is safer and not as expensive when compared to the RotoZip, but it also requires a lot more time and patience. 

Wood Floor Installation Guide

Subfloor Conditions

Preparing the subfloor so it is structurally sound is a crucial task that needs to be completed before installing the hardwood floor.  Insufficient examination of the subfloor can cause irritating problems later on.  A thorough examination will reveal any areas that are loose or squeaky.  Fasten these areas down with nails or screws.  If there are any damaged areas, it is critical that you replace them immediately.  It is also imperative that the subfloor is level because the hardwood needs to lay as flat as possible against the subfloor to prevent the “wavy” or “peaking” appearance.  This will prevent the boards from rubbing against each other or sagging and flexing when you walk on them.  Preparing the subfloor in this manner will ensure that everything is structurally sound for the years to come.

    As soon as the subfloor is securely fastened, use a vacuum to clean it and dispose of …

Wood Floor Installation Guide

Hardwood Preparation and Storage

Before installing your new 3/4” solid hardwood floor, it is extremely important to allow the wood to acclimate to the new environment before you begin installation.  This is especially important in regions with high humidity or regions with a very dry climate.  Hardwood floor is a natural material and tends to absorb water causing it to swell, or lose water which causes it to shrink.  If acclimation is incomplete, the wood is known to drastically expand or contract after or during installation.  This causes the floor to have gaps and spaces, and it can even raise up in affected areas.  Fixing this problem after the floor has already been installed is a painful procedure.

To acclimate the wood, simply open the boxes and allow the wood to be exposed to the temperature of your house.  Although the wood may be ready within a few days, we recommend an acclimation

Wood Floor Installation Guide

Tools Required for Installation

Here is a list of the tools that we believe are necessary to achieve professional results and work as effectively and efficiently as possible.  The use of each will be explained in greater detail throughout this guide.

Basic Tools:

-tape measure


-ear plugs

-safety goggles

-dust mask

-knee pads

-staple gun

-wood glue

-wood putty

-pry bar

-2” hardwood flooring cleat nails

-16 gauge 2” galvanized finish nails


Hardwood Flooring Nailer (must have protective foot attachment to prevent      damage to boards) and rubber mallet


Note:  If you will be installing a lot of hardwood, consider purchasing the flooring nailer rather than renting it (since renting one may cost around $40 a day).  Purchasing a reconditioned flooring nailer is a good option especially if it comes with a warranty.

Wood Floor Installation Guide

The Purpose of This Guide

The purpose of this guide is to provide you with quality instructions that are organized in the best way possible, making them convenient and simple to follow for anyone attempting to install a 3/4” solid oak pre-finished hardwood floor for the first time.  This guide is also meant to save you hours of headache and time wasted from making the mistakes that are inevitable for people who have never installed hardwood flooring before.  It is obnoxious how many problems you will encounter while installing a hardwood floor and even more obnoxious to try and figure out a way to solve each problem.  Throughout this guide we have provided suggestions and pointers on how to avoid these common drawbacks and pitfalls.  These tips are highly valuable because they are useful, easy to follow, time-saving and will make the installation process significantly easier and more enjoyable.  By reading and applying these concepts,