The trend of using engineered wood flooring is increasing day by day. It is an excellent alternative to all the conventional style floorings. Engineered wood flooring consists of layers of wood that are compressed together. The wood is real, and it can handle the variations of humidity and moisture in a better way as compared to solid wood.
Engineered wood floors are moisture-resistant and so easy to install that you can even fix them up yourself. These floors are an excellent alternative to the primitive and conventional hardwood floors that were difficult to install and maintain.
If you are also interested in learning how to install an engineered wood yourself, then this article is for you!
Before you begin:
- You need at least two or more days to complete the process. So, make sure you have enough time. You shouldn’t be in haste while doing this process.
- Be careful after installing the floor. You cannot walk on the new flooring for at least a day. So, plan everything accordingly. You may even want to leave a strip where you can walk freely.
- Before placing the boards, check them out thoroughly for any defects.
- Get a trowel. You will need it to apply glue.
- Get yourself safety glasses. It is essential to wear them to avoid any accidents.
- Lastly, it is highly essential to intermix different planks from different containers. Doing so will save you from getting patches and stains on your floor.
Essential items you need:
Following are the vital items that you need to install engineered wood flooring:
- A pencil or marker
- A handy measuring tape
- A hand saw
- Pull Bar
- Moisture Meter
- Knee pads
- If you are not easy with a hand, saw, you can use an electric chop saw
Step by step guide to install engineered wood yourself
Given below are the detailed steps on how to install engineered wood yourself:
Step#1-Clean the floor and prepare it
Before you begin installing the floor, you need to make sure that the subfloor is free of debris and is completely clean. You also need to take special care about the protruding nails, pins, and staples that are usually left behind.
Moreover, you also need to make sure that the floor is well vacuumed. You can also wash and sweep the floor to remove any pieces of dust and dirt from it. Lastly, the preparation of the floor also includes its proper drying before you begin the installation process.
Step#2-Time for some roll-out sheets
The second step requires the use of some roll out sheets. The ideal material of these sheets is tar paper. You need to roll out these sheets on a clean subfloor and then fix it there with the help of a staple gun to fix the paper. This tar paper acts as a moisture barrier that prevents the loss of moisture through condensation from the surfaces beneath. Without this tar paper, your new wood flooring can rot away easily.
Step#3-Prepare the planks before installing them
No matter what kind of wood you use, there will always be color variations in every piece. It is highly important to be aware of this factor, and you need to consider it to allow uniform variations across your space. However, there is a huge concern when it comes to engineered flooring, then the colors of the planks vary from box to box. You might find similar colored planks in one box, but they may be different in another box and so on. Therefore, you may end up fixing the wrong planks if you are planning to finish all the planks from one box before opening the next ones. You don’t want your space to look like a mismatched pattern of different patches. Thus, we highly suggest that you open all the available boxes, check out the color variations and then intermix these planks to make a better blend of floor tiles. Although it’s a small step, it can become the most important step of installation if you don’t care about it.
Step#4-Install the engineered wood flooring
Here comes the most important step where you install the flooring. In this step, you need to start by running an entire row of planks around the wall. Here, it is important to take care that you choose the longest wall and then spread the planks in that direction.
Manufacturers around the world recommend that while installing the planks, you should make sure that you install them in such a way that the tongue side of the plank stays against the wall, and the groove side faces the room. To do this, it is best to make use of a flooring stapler. A flooring stapler ensures driving staples at an angle of 45-degree through the groove. The ideal measurement is to leave a space to up to 8 inches between the staples. If space if not wide enough, then a minimum space of 6 inches is enough. In any case, if you find yourself in trouble while setting the planks and sliding them together easily, you can use a rubber mallet and force them to slide together. Make sure that you don’t use an iron mallet, or you will end up damaging the planks. Remember! Installing planks requires patience and gentleness.
Taking care of the above directions, continue running and placing the rows of flooring using different plank lengths. This way, you can make staggering seams. When you move to the other side of the room, you might face some issues fitting the flooring stapler into the last rows as they interfere with the wall. If that happens, you will need to nail through these boards directly. Here, you need to make sure that the nail holes are not more than 18 inches or less than 12 inches.
We also recommend you to use a pointed tool as well as a hammer to affix the nails and bury them well below the floor surface. If the nail heads aren’t immersed fully, they can cause a serious injury to anyone.
Step#5-Finish up with thresholds and baseboard
The last step is finishing up your floor. It is the step where you need to hide the seams where the wall and the floor meets. You can do this by attaching a baseboard with the help of a finish nailer to the bottom of the wall. To cut the thresholds, you need to use a miter and cut them to the length of the doorway opening. Next, you need to install them by laying in the correct location and then nailing them to the floor.
What are the site requirements for engineered wood flooring?
There are a few things that you need to learn before you start the process of installing engineered wood. The first thing that you need to learn is to understand the site conditions. You might be aware of some of the horror stories about the creaking, splitting, and lifting of wood flooring. You might also have heard about the large gaps that usually appear in wood flooring. You need to understand that these problems arise due to poor site conditions that react with the wood floor and exert unwanted pressure on it. This pressure further results in abnormal movement and destroys the entire flooring. Thus, by choosing the wrong flooring, you can not only waste your money, but you can also end up spending extra on fixing the damage.
Therefore, it is recommended that you find a suitable site and perform all important tests before delivering the engineered flooring. These tests are mandatory to perform, especially when you are not hiring any professional wood floor installers. If any of the pressure tests fail, you need to find a solution and eradicate the problem before installing the wood flooring. We are also providing some mandatory tests that you need to perform before starting the process.
Some important tests you need to perform before choosing a perfect site
Following are the important tests and conditions that must be met before installing an engineered wood:
First of all, you need to check the humidity of the site with the help of a hygrometer. The ideal air humidity is around 45-70%, which is considered normal for most areas. However, if you are living in any area where the humidity levels are too high, then you need to check these levels and find a site that lies in the mentioned humidity range. Moreover, this humidity range also needs to be maintained even after you are done with the installation to keep the problems of floor lifting and creaking away.
The second site assurance test is the moisture test. This test requires the moisture level of the timber-based floors to remain 12% or less than that. It is known as the MC% test as well. MC stands for “moisture content.”
The next test is for the concrete sub-floors. It is also a moisture test that also requires MC% to be no more than 12%. If you are using a moisture meter, then it should show an MC% less than 3%. However, there are many meters available out there, and they have different scales. Therefore, it is vital for you to read the documentation before conducting this test.
Test#4 is used for testing the level of the sub-floor. It requires the floor to be equal and leveled. You can conduct this test by detecting the height of the floor with the help of a ruler. Keep in mind that the height shouldn’t be more than 3mm if the length is more than 1m. One of the biggest problems that arise during the installation of the engineered wood flooring is uneven floors. That’s why you need to repair the floor by using self-leveling plywood or compound.
Some helpful tips:
Below are some of the helpful tips and trick that might help you in installing engineered wood yourself for the first time:
Always use three or more boxes at the same time if you want a natural range of colors on your floor.
Don’t forget to check out the individual boards for any flaw before installing it. If any of your board is naturally imperfect, it can damage the entire flooring.
It is great to place joints throughout the flooring randomly. It doesn’t only look good, but it also results in less wastage.
You need to be very careful about any obstruction on your engineered wood floor.
You shouldn’t use any underlay while gluing down or nailing an engineered wood floor.
You are free to use your choice of length. The maximum length that is recommended is 7 meters that are true for any direction. However, if you wish to use it in length longer than that, then we recommend you to add expansion gaps.
You need to remove all the existing floors completely before installing the engineered wood flooring.
For your easiness, spare a room and store your boxes in there. You can easily unpack and intermix the planks that way.
You should be aware of “Acclimatizing.” This process ensures that the moisture levels in the floors are balanced. To do this, you need to create a balance between the planks before installing them and make sure that there is no pressure or movement on the floor for at least 24 hours.
So, there you have it! Using this guide, you can easily install your engineered wood yourself. Here, also note that there isn’t only one method o installing the flooring. There are many variations, and it is your choice to go with a specific one. Other methods of installation include glue-down installation, floating installation, and staple-down installation. No matter what method you choose, make sure that you follow the steps, and be patient during the process.
Moreover, do not forget to prepare the subfloor before you begin the process. It should be cleaned, leveled, and there should be reasonable door clearance. Engineered wood flooring is an excellent way of adding warmth, value as well as beauty to your indoors if installed the right way!