Woodworking Plans

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    Of all the flooring options, hardwood is arguably the most coveted among homeowners. Sleek, durable and breathable, hardwood flooring makes a statement in any room. Unfortunately, one peek at the costs of professional installation might make you push hardwood flooring to the bottom of your home improvement wish list – but it doesn’t have to. 

    If you’re tired of letting installation prices scare you away from your glossy, hardwood dreams, it’s time to take the nail gun into your own hands. Read on to learn how to save money by going the DIY route for buying and installing hardwood floors.

    The Complete Guide to for 1 last update 2020/06/02 DIY Hardwood FloorsThe Complete Guide to DIY Hardwood Floors

    1. How to Choose the Right Hardwood Flooring
    2. Infographic: Breaking Down the Types of Hardwood Flooring
    3. How to Install Engineered Hardwood Floors
    3a. Part 1: Prep Your Workspace
    3b. Part 2: Install Your Floorboards
    3c. Part 3: Add the Trim and Clean Up
    4. How to Maintain Hardwood Floors


    How to Choose the Right Hardwood Flooring


    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for

    Types of Hardwood Flooring

    Before starting your project, it’s important to be familiar with the different types of hardwood flooring, solid and engineered hardwood. While similar in look, these types vary by composition, price and moisture resistance. 

    Solid Hardwood

    As the name implies, solid hardwood flooring is made of pure, solid wood. Each board is a single piece of wood that is about three quarters of an inch thick. “Solid hardwood floors are very durable,” says Tom Ory, owner of Enterprise Wood Products

    “Solid hardwood pricing varies depending on species and finishes, but when you factor in their durability, they are definitely a great purchase,” says Ory. “It is also known that having solid hardwood flooring in your home will increase its value, making it an investment as well.” 

    With good maintenance, solid hardwood can last for over 100 years, and should be sanded and refinished about once every ten years.

    Engineered Hardwood

    Engineered hardwood boards are made up of layered wood and plywood. The top and bottom of the boards are thin layers of solid wood, but between them lies a high-quality plywood base. 

    Engineered wood is typically less expensive than solid hardwood. Some premium engineered flooring can have added durability finishes or higher quality core layers, which can cost the 1 last update 2020/06/02 more than lower-end solid hardwood options.Engineered wood is typically less expensive than solid hardwood. Some premium engineered flooring can have added durability finishes or higher quality core layers, which can cost more than lower-end solid hardwood options.

    The benefit of engineered hardwood is that it is less sensitive to moisture and easy to use in a DIY hardwood installation, saving you money on labor costs.

    Solid Versus Engineered Hardwood - What’s the Difference?

    “The main difference between engineered hardwood floors and solid hardwood floors is their construction. Additionally, solid hardwood floors are greatly affected by temperature and humidity. In the dry winter, hardwood floors will shrink, and in summer they will expand. If humidity is an issue where you live, engineered hardwood might be the better option as it doesn’t expand and contract nearly as much. Also, engineered wood is more resistant to spills and mold from moisture creeping under the planks.” 

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Kristin Warner | Floor Critics

    Types of Hardwood Flooring Installation

    While there are many methods of hardwood floor installation to choose from, simplicity is key if you’re installing the flooring yourself. These are the two most popular DIY installation designs for hardwood flooring:

    Click-Lock: This design is incredibly easy to install, relative to other options. As its name suggests, the end joints are designed to click and lock together without the help of adhesives, which helps your flooring joints hold tightly together. 

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Tongue and Groove: While this style is designed the same as click-lock, the end joints for tongue and groove flooring do not lock, so you’ll need to nail them down and/or use adhesive to glue the pieces together. 

    Hardwood Floor Installation Tip: Do Not Glue Click-Lock Flooring

    Keep in mind that click-lock flooring should not be glued together with tongue and groove adhesive. Adding glue to click-lock joints doesn’t allow the boards enough room to expand and contract, which can lead to buckling and other problems. Only use adhesive for tongue and groove joints.

    Hardwood Floor Installation Costs

    Hardwood flooring costs can vary depending on a wide variety of factors, including wood type, finish, board thickness, grain quality, demand and design type. In addition, homeowners going the DIY route should take into consideration the cost of tools they’ll need to buy or rent when budgeting for the project. We’ve broken down the average costs of materials and installation by types of hardwood flooring:

    Breaking Down Hardwood Flooring Costs

    Unfinished Hardwood Flooring Costs

    Flooring Material Cost of Wood
    (per sq. ft)
    Cost with Installation
    (per sq. ft)
    Cost for DIY Installation
    (400 sq. ft)
    Cost for Professional Installation
    (400 sq. ft)
    Oak $3-$9 $9-$17 $1,200 – $3,600 $3,600 – $6,800
    Cherry $3-$8 $9-$16 $1,200 – $3,200 $3,600 – $6,400
    Hickory $3-$7 $9-$15 $1,200 – $2,800 $3,600 – $6,000
    Maple $3-$6 $9-$14 $1,200 – $2,400 $3,600 – $5,600
    Birch $2-$5 $8-$13 $800 – $2,000  $3,200 – $5,200
    Flooring Material Cost of Wood
    (per sq. ft)
    Cost for DIY Installation
    (400 sq. ft)
    Cost for Professional Installation
    (400 sq. ft)
    Oak $3-$9 $1,200 – $3,600 $3,600 – $6,800
    Cherry $3-$8 $1,200 – $3,200 $3,600 – $6,400
    Hickory $3-$7 $1,200 – $2,800 $3,600 – $6,000
    Maple $3-$6 $1,200 – $2,400 $3,600 – $5,600
    Birch $2-$5 $800 – $2,000  $3,200 – $5,200

    Finished Hardwood Flooring Costs

    Flooring Material Cost of Wood
    (per sq. ft)
    Cost with Installation
    (per sq. ft)
    Cost for DIY Installation
    (400 sq. ft)
    Cost for Professional Installation
    (400 sq. ft)
    Oak $3-$9 $9-$17 $1,200 – $3,600 $3,600 – $6,800
    Cherry $4-$9 $10-$17 $1,600 – $3,600 $4,000 – $6,800
    Hickory $4-$8 $10-$16 $1,600 – $3,200 $4,000 – $3,200
    Maple $4-$9 $10-$17 $1,600 – $3,600 $4,000 – $6,800
    Birch $3-$8 $9-$16 $1,200 – $3,200 $3,600 – $6,400
    Flooring Material Cost of Wood
    (per sq. ft)
    Cost for DIY Installation
    (400 sq. ft)
    Cost for Professional Installation
    (400 sq. ft)
    Oak $3-$9 $1,200 – $3,600 $3,600 – $6,800
    Cherry $4-$9 $1,600 – $3,600 $4,000 – $6,800
    Hickory $4-$8 $1,600 – $3,200 $4,000 – $3,200
    Maple $4-$9 $1,600 – $3,600 $4,000 – $6,800
    Birch $3-$8 $1,200 – $3,200 $3,600 – $6,400

    Engineered Hardwood Flooring Costs

    Flooring Material Cost of Wood
    (per sq. ft)
    Cost with Installation
    (per sq. ft)
    Cost for DIY Installation
    (400 sq. ft)
    Cost for Professional Installation
    (400 sq. ft)
    Oak ♦ $2-$6 $8-$14 $800 – $2,400 $3,200 – $5,600
    Cherry $3-$8 $9-$16 $1,200 – $3,200 $3,600 – $6,400
    Hickory $3-$15 $11-$23 $2,000 – $6,000 $4,400 – $9,200
    Maple $4-$7 $10-$15 $1,600 – $2,800 $4,000 – $6,000
    Birch $3-$8 $9-$16 $1,200 – $3,200 $3,200 – $3,600
    Flooring Material Cost of Wood
    (per sq. ft)
    Cost for DIY Installation
    (400 sq. ft)
    Cost for Professional Installation
    (400 sq. ft)
    Oak ♦ $2-$6 $800 – $2,400 $3,200 – $5,600
    Cherry $3-$8 $1,200 – $3,200 $3,600 – $6,400
    Hickory $3-$15 $2,000 – $6,000 $4,400 – $9,200
    Maple $4-$7 $1,600 – $2,800 $4,000 – $6,000
    Birch $3-$8 $1,200 – $3,200 $3,200 – $3,600

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for ♦ = price performer

    “Once you pick a species, you can then determine if you want to keep the floor natural with just a clear finish or add some color by staining it. You will also need to determine what widths you want your flooring to be. Some people prefer a random width pattern while others like their flooring to be all one width.” 

    Tom Ory | Enterprise Wood Products

    Tips for Buying Hardwood Flooring:

    “If you decide to install yourself, you could save money by purchasing your floor materials from a floor wholesaler instead of a carpet and flooring retailer or one of the big box stores.”

    Kristin Warner | Floor Critics

    Which Type of Hardwood Flooring is Right for You?


    Our Pick for DIY Hardwood Floors: Engineered Oak

    Engineered oak hardwood is a relatively inexpensive yet durable hardwood flooring option for a DIY installation. Choosing prefinished engineered oak hardwood eliminates the cost and effort of finishing the floors once they’re installed. You can save even more money by choosing tongue and groove planks, or you can save yourself some time and effort by choosing a click-lock design. 

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Whichever design you choose, you’ll be well on your way to installing beautiful, budget-friendly hardwood floors – and we’ll show you how to do it.


    How to Install Engineered Hardwood Floors


    Jump to:
    Part 1: Prep Your Workspace
    Part 2: Install Your Floorboards
    Part 3: Add the Trim and Clean Up

    Part 1: Prep Your Workspace

    Before you start working, we recommend removing all items from the room you’ll be working in, including any hanging pictures or decorations, as they will collect dust during the installation process. 

    1. Remove Existing Flooring

    Before installing your new hardwood floors, you’ll need to remove the existing flooring. Whether you’re removing carpet, laminate or tile, we have step-by-step guides to walk you through the process.

    Hardwood Flooring Installation Tip:

        Need a quick, efficient disposal solution for your old flooring? A 10 yard dumpster is usually best for a residential flooring removal project. Learn more and get a quote today.

    2. Prepare Your Subfloor

    Without a proper base, your new flooring won’t have the support it needs. Make sure the area is moisture-free, level and clean before you dive into your project. Remember that for 1 last update 2020/06/02 it''s time to install it – this will ensure you get the most accurate measurement. Lastly, when cutting your end boards, be sure to use the tongue end for your starting row and the groove end for your ending row.Without a proper base, your new flooring won’t have the support it needs. Make sure the area is moisture-free, level and clean before you dive into your project. Remember that it''s time to install it – this will ensure you get the most accurate measurement. Lastly, when cutting your end boards, be sure to use the tongue end for your starting row and the groove end for your ending row.

    Rack Your Boards: Racking, or laying out your boards beforehand, will give you a good idea of your layout when you’re finally ready for installation. Use the longest, straightest pieces for the starting line, with for 1 last update 2020/06/02 the tongue side facing the wall. Remember, you’ll need to lay your boards perpendicular to your floor joists, or otherwise install another layer of plywood subfloor. Mix and match boards from different boxes for a more natural, varied look, and view the layout in good lighting to make sure you like it before installation.Rack Your Boards: Racking, or laying out your boards beforehand, will give you a good idea of your layout when you’re finally ready for installation. Use the longest, straightest pieces for the starting line, with the tongue side facing the wall. Remember, you’ll need to lay your boards perpendicular to your floor joists, or otherwise install another layer of plywood subfloor. Mix and match boards from different boxes for a more natural, varied look, and view the layout in good lighting to make sure you like it before installation.

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Hardwood Flooring Installation Tip: Plan Your Flooring Around Permanent for 1 last update 2020/06/02 FixturesHardwood Flooring Installation Tip: Plan Your Flooring Around Permanent Fixtures

    “One thing to think about if you are remodeling or building new is if you want your flooring to go underneath cabinets and in closets. If you run your flooring underneath kitchen cabinets, it will allow you to change your kitchen down the road without having to worry about replacing flooring.”

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Tom Ory | Enterprise Wood Products

    Avoid Bad Racking: When racking hardwood boards, it’s important to line your end joints - also known as seams - correctly for a structurally sound, beautiful floor pattern. It’s recommended that end joints be spaced at a distance three times the width of the plank – so if your planks are 5 inches wide, the joints should be spaced about 15 inches apart, especially for your first and last four rows.

    However, if your room is smaller, it may limit your joint spacing capabilities, so at the very least, make sure the joints are spaced a minimum of 6 inches apart.

    "" seams are unsightly and structurally unsound. To avoid an "" seam, do not line up end joints unless there are at least two rows of boards between them. For the same reasons, avoid "" or "" seams as well.

    Avoid "" seams and "" seams when racking your hardwood floor boards.

     

    Hardwood Flooring Installation Tip: Check for Flawed Planks

    Because hardwood is a natural product, it’s normal to have a few faulty pieces in your supply. Don’t throw them away – you may be able to cut the damaged parts off and use the rest in your install.

    5. Remove Your Baseboards

    This step is optional, depending on the look you’re going for, the condition of your baseboards and your project’s timeline. If you’d like your hardwood flooring to sit flush underneath your baseboards, you’ll have to remove the baseboards before installation and adjust their height accordingly. However, if your baseboards are old or you don’t have the time to remove them, you can install trim or quarter round molding directly to your baseboards to hide the expansion gap.


    Part 2: Install Your Floorboards

    Now that your room is prepped, it’s time to get started on your DIY hardwood floor installation. The method you use to install the floors will depend on your subfloor and the type of product you’ve chosen for your project.

    There are three methods to install engineered hardwood: floating, nail-down and glue. We’ll walk you through how to install hardwood floors using each method.

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for The Floating Method

    This is the simplest of the three methods, making it an for 1 last update 2020/06/02 ideal choice for a DIY install. Floating hardwood floors require no nails, and they can easily be installed over vinyl surfaces. This method is only recommended for engineered hardwood products.This is the simplest of the three methods, making it an ideal choice for a DIY install. Floating hardwood floors require no nails, and they can easily be installed over vinyl surfaces. This method is only recommended for engineered hardwood products.

    Floating Hardwood Floor Installation Tools:

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for 1. Prepare the area for gluing.

    Before beginning, be sure to scrub, grind and vacuum away any substances that might prevent the glue from sticking. 

    2. Spread the flooring adhesive with your trowel.

    Only apply enough for a few rows at a time – you have to be able to reach the first row you’re working with.

    3. Install the first row along your starting line and up against your spacers.

    Use your tapping block and mallet to tap the second row into place. Avoid smearing the pieces through the glue too much, as this can reduce its adhesiveness. Wipe away excess glue as you go, using a lightly dampened sponge and wood-friendly cleaner.

    4. Continue installing the remaining boards.

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Keeping your end joints spaced properly and the planks tight, repeat the previous step for each row to install the remaining boards. 

    5. Install the final row using a pull bar and hammer.

    Once the final row is in place, allow the glue to finish drying for 24 hours. Avoid foot traffic during this time. 

    Hardwood Floor Installation TipBe Mindful When Gluing Hardwood Floors

    When gluing hardwood floors, remember that any adhesive you apply takes about an hour to set. You’ll need to prevent your boards from moving during this time so they can adhere properly.

    You can use painter''s wear and tear.


    For Your First DIY Hardwood Floor Installation, Take Your Time

    With the right preparation, anyone can budget hardwood floors into their home improvement plans. But if this is your first time completing an engineered hardwood floor installation, give yourself plenty of time to work. Installing hardwood floors can be a fairly involved process, even with the simpler designs and installation methods, so it’s best to work at your own pace to avoid major mistakes down the line. 

    If you have questions about your flooring materials or how to install it properly, call or email the manufacturer of your engineered hardwood flooring. They’ll be happy to let you know the specifics about your product and the best way to install it.

    Installing hardwood floors as part of a larger home remodel? Be sure to check out some of our other helpful the 1 last update 2020/06/02 DIY guides:Installing hardwood floors as part of a larger home remodel? Be sure to check out some of our other helpful DIY guides: