Tips for Installing Exotic Hardwoods

Whether you're installing an exotic floor yourself or relying on a professional hardwood flooring contractor, there are many challenges involved in the job, from leveling the subfloor to installing baseboards and shoe molding.

Here are some important tips for installing exotic hardwoods:

  • Plan your floor – Determine what subfloor material you have and its width, which may determine the direction you choose to lay the hardwoods in the room.
  • Check the hardwood – Do not install the wood if you are not satisfied with the milling, natural colors, or finish.
  • Prepare the subfloor – Make sure the subfloor is level for installation with no substantial rises and falls. You can use asphalt shingles to level the subfloor. If a subfloor is too high, you can pull it up and plane the crowning joist to level the floor. If it's too low, you can pull the subfloor up and shim the floor.
  • Acclimate the wood – After the subfloor is leveled, acclimate the hardwoods by leaving them in the location for seven to 10 days. Never store the hardwoods where they can get wet.
  • Choose the proper tools to lay the hardwood, using a nail or cleat gun that can deliver 90 lbs./square inch of pressure and pneumatic (air driven) or tradition power nailers.
  • Laying the first row – Measure and mark the starting point for the first board and place it on a chalk line, ensuring perfect alignment. Blind nail the first board into place then work your way down the floor, insuring boards stay square edge-to-edge.
  • Laying hardwoods in the field – Continue laying hardwoods throughout the floor, taking special care to work around vents and working through doors and around walls.
  • Laying the last board – When you get to the last board, you will need to blind nail and face nail the wood, because the flooring stapler or nailer will not fit.
  • Trim, baseboard, and shoe molding – Next, you can install baseboard and shoe molding around the perimeter of the floor to frame out the room. Trim components are expensive, so one alternative is to stain pine quarter round or shoe molding to closely match the floor.
  • Cleaning tip – After you've installed the floor, clean only with an approved hardwood flooring maintenance kit. Do not wax the floor or use vinegar and water on it.

You can look online for sites that specialize in hardwood flooring, including Brazilian walnut, which is the preferred hardwood for the job. The site will ship the hardwood to your home, provide special savings, and offer prefinished hardwood flooring that minimizes installation time.


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