How to Lay a Solid Wood Floor


A solid wood floor is a great addition to any home. It is beautiful, has natural color and is durable. It can also be installed by a knowledgeable homeowner. Today, you can choose from layered or solid wood floors. Layered wood floors are made from strips of wood glued and pressed together like plywood, or solid wood floors made from on piece of hardwood. That requires a slightly different type of installation.

Step 1

Make sure the sub-floor is completely dry before you install. It is also recommended to stack the wood flooring in the same room you are going to install it in for at least three days to acclimatize the material to the room's environment.

Step 2

Remove the base boards and install a layer of rosin paper over the sub floor. A recommended sub floor is 1/2-inch CDX plywood, laid perpendicularly to the seams of the hardwood floor installation. Tack down the rosin paper with 1-inch nails or staples every two feet or so along the edges and across the width of the paper.

Step 3

Lay down the first row of hardwood flooring along one wall of the room. Cut the lengths of flooring if needed when you get to the ends using a miter saw to create a perfectly square cut. The floor boards should go right to the end of the wall. A 10mm gap is placed in between each board for expansion.

Step 4

Nail the pieces to the sub floor with a pneumatic hammer or flooring gun (if you have this special flooring tool), setting each nail at a 45 degree angle and driving it through the tongue of the hardwood. Some solid hardwoods do not have a tongue groove, in this case drive the nail through the top of the board.

Step 5

Set a carpenter's level on the top and edge of each board to ensure they are perfectly flat and straight. If the boards are not flat, sink another nail into the hardwood at the high spot, or pry the board up and reset the board again until flush.

Step 6

Lay the next row flush against the first row. Starting at one end of the wall, set down board that is about half the length of the board in the row beside it to stagger the pieces. Then continue to lay the boards in a row. Nail them to the floor as instructed in step 4.

Step 7

Repeat this process until the entire floor is laid. Check each row with a carpenter's level to ensure it is perfectly flat and level on the top and edges.

Things You'll Need

  • Hardwood flooring
  • Miter saw
  • Pneumatic nail gun
  • Carpenter's level


  • laying wood floor

Who Can Help

  • Tips to lay a hardwood floor
  • Advice and tips on maintenance
Keywords: lay, solid, wood, floor

About this Author

Steve Smith has published hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics, including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.

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