How Do I Install Engineered Hardwood Floors?

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Most Engineered flooring is covered under warranty to be installed in one of three ways: (1) nail or staple down, (2) glue down, or (3) floating installation. Here’s a brief run down of what each entails.

Nail down: Naturally, a nail down installation would only be appropriate over a wood or plywood subfloor. It involves using a pneumatic nail gun to nail or staple the new flooring in place. Bostich is a reputable brand for rent or purchase. Between the subfloor and the new Engineered floor, it is advisable to lay a 15lbs builders felt to work as a moisture barrier but also to prevent future squeaking.

Bostich nail Gun

Glue down: A glue down installation requires that the flooring be glued down to the subfloor in its entirety using a hand trowel to disperse the adhesive evenly over the subfloor. The type of adhesive is particular to the brand of Engineered flooring you choose. That said, Bostik Best and Dri Tac are reputable brands and a good place to start.

Floating: In a floating floor installation your new Engineered floor is not fastened to the subfloor. Rather, a foam moisture barrier is first laid (but not fastened) over the subfloor.

The new flooring is then laid (but again, not fastened) over the moisture barrier. Now, there are two types of floating floor installation; the click ‘n’ lock system or the traditional tongue and groove (henceforth, T and G). The click ‘n’ lock method is a glueless method where the boards are designed in such a way that the boards can be brought together at a slight “V” angle be snapped together, locking them in place. The traditional T and G method requires that beads of glue be inserted in the tongue and groove thereby binding the boards together.

For further details of each of these methods, please see these standard installation instructions.

WARNING: Always be sure to consult the manufacturer’s installation instructions and warranty prior to installation. It is not safe to assume that all styles and brands can be installed in the methods described here. Moreover, details such as the type of adhesive required or the setting of the nail gun may seem minor but can void your warranty, or worse, turn your dream floor into a nightmare. In fact, I would go so far as to recommend consulting the installation instructions prior to purchase to ensure you are comfortable with the designated methods of installation.

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Matt Dickinson