The hardwood floor installer shown on the picture on the left is a power installer powered by an air compressor.  This is the professional version of the installer. It  is used by many hardwood floor installers to increase speed and decrease the labor required to install a floor. They work well, however most do it yourself weekend carpenters cannot afford to purchase this type of equipment.

The installer is triggered by the operator hitting the trigger mechanism with a specialized hammer. This action will cause the floor installer to push the board tightly into the groove and place a nail at the appropriate location as well to hold the wood floor to the floor underneath. An electric or gas air compressor is required.

Hardwood Floor Installer – Equipment

This equipment can be rented at a local equipment rental company if you are planning a weekend job for example or have only a small area to install. Professional installers will have their own machines which they will use on a daily basis.

There are also mechanical hardwood floor installers which perform the same operation however they must be hit slightly harder to trigger the nailing mechanism. A professional will usually have one of both, preferring to use the air powered machine for most jobs with the manual installer for used in special situations or as a backup to his main installer.

Can You Install Hardwood Floors Yourself?

The answer is definitely yes. The previous post , “wood floor installation”, outlined the specific steps in detail for installing a hardwood floor by do it your self installers. The trick is to have all of the right tools available and to lay out your floor properly. Once you have that first row of boards laid down to your satisfaction, the rest is pretty straightforward. Review our previous post and check out videos online that have been prepared by various hardwood floor materials companies.

In our previous post we talked about installing a hardwood floor. In this post we will discuss in more detail the process of preparing the sub floor.

Sub Floor Preparation

The first step is to remove the existing flooring. Even if you are having your floor professionally installed, removing the old floor yourself can be a great way to reduce some of the cost of installing a new floor. Remove the carpet, the underlay or linoleum flooring that is currently in place. Disposal can be arranged with the floor installation company you are using or other local junk removal companies.

Once the flooring is removed, you also need to clean the floor of any remaining debris and make sure that the floor is flat in all areas. Any protruding edges, staples or other material must be removed or hammered down into the floor.

If there are squeaks in the sub floor, now is the time to screw nail down the sub floor to the underlying joists. You should also verify that you have sufficient sub floor to support the hardwood floor you will be installing. Check with your supplier for the specifications, however at least 5/8’s inch is usually required. If the sub floor is thinner than this, there will be insufficient support for the floor and it may develop squeaks over time.

We often will also vacuum the floor to remove any dust and other particles of dirt that might have been on the floor. We even found cigarette buts from the time when the house was originally built. The original rug installers did not even take the time to clean the floor before they installed the initial carpet in out new home!

this is also the time to paint the walls if you feel that your walls need a new coat of paint. It is much easier to paint when you do not need to be concerned about spilling paint on the floor.

What Happens When the Hardwood Floor Installer Leaves

The installer will lay the floor and usually install the new baseboards as well. the base boards will be primed, however they will require another coat of paint. You should make sure that they also fill all nail holes in the base boards and the flooring before they leave. You will need to paint the baseboards with a final coat of paint. Give them a wipe first to remove any dust accumulation before painting.

Once the paint on the baseboards is dry, you will need to wipe down all of the walls and the floor. A lot of dust is usually stirred up during installation and it will come to rest on your walls and floors. All of this can be wiped up with a damp cloth. Avoid getting any water puddles on the floor to avoid water damage.

Once all of the cleaning is done, you are ready to move your furniture into the room.