Installation and Finish General Guidelines

Installation can be done by you, but hiring a professional to install, sand and finish is recommended. Professionals can quickly evaluate your site, provide you with sound advice on quantity of material to order and accomplish the install, sand and finish with ease.

Many of our customers do install their flooring successfully. Patience, measuring skills and previous woodworking experience are helpful. Installation can be accomplished using common sense, the following guidelines and NWFA installation recommendations.

Flooring should be inspected after arrival to make sure it is the species and grade ordered. The quantity of flooring and quality of milling checked. Moisture of flooring should be within the specified range, typically between 6-10%. (For any claims made after 14 days, we can not assume responsibility for problems.)

Site conditions are crucial to a successful installation. Wood flooring installation should be one of the last projects during construction. Evaluation of site conditions prior to installation is important to the successful performance of your custom wood floor.

Drainage of water should be away from building.

Temperature and humidly should be at living conditions. All exterior openings are enclosed and tight. All moisture producing trades; (drywall, painting, plaster, etc.). have finished and work is dry. Mechanical systems are operating and have been for two plus weeks.

Wood flooring should not be installed below grade.

Basements and crawl spaces are dry.

Before installation can begin, the wood flooring and sub-floor should be within a 2-3% moisture content range. If higher the flooring should acclimate.

Underlayment should be minimum 5/8” thick plywood securely fastened to wood framing or thoroughly dry concrete. 15 pound felt or red rosin paper should be used as an installation aid but should not be consider an effective vapor barrier.

If a random width floor has been purchased with uneven lineal footage's, a layout plan should be completed prior to installation.

The starting wall is often the longest wall in room. Snap a working line parallel to starting wall, allowing a 3/4” expansion space between wall and edge of wood floor. In general a 3/4” expansion space should be left around the all vertical objects. The groove faces wall. Top nail and blind nail first row using appropriate length fasteners every 4”-6”. The fasteners should securely attach the flooring to the sub floor. Remember the sub floor should be securely fastened to joist! Continue each row with groove taped into tongue of preceding row and blind nail tongue. Stagger end joints in adjacent rows. Last few rows may have to be face nailed again.

Once installation is finished, floors can be sanded and finished. Standard sanding and finishing procedures are recommended. Generally two sanding passes ending with 100 grit followed by application of the finish of your choice. Always check the manufacturers recommendations for application of finish.

A wood flooring professional hired to install, sand and finish may have additional knowledge and favorite methods which could differ from our guidelines, they should be given due consideration.


Radiant heat installations

Solid wood flooring can be successfully installed over radiant heat as long as you understand radiant heat, how it can impact wood flooring, what precautions to take and what type of wood flooring to use.

Species that are known for their inherent dimensional stability are better suited for radiant heat installations. Narrower boards can be more stable than wide boards. Radiant heat systems work most effectively and with less trauma to wood flooring if heating process is gradual, based on small incremental increases. Since radiant heat is a dry heat, a humidification system may be necessary to maintain wood flooring in its comfort zone.

Wood is a product of nature and regardless of heat system can move with changes in ambient moisture.