Notice that this post is titled “How WE Installed Hardwood Floors” and it is not titled “How TO Install Hardwood Floors” and that is because this is our first and only time that we have installed hardwood floors ourselves. I want to share our experience with this project as DIYers who love the challenge and the pride that comes with doing our own home improvement projects.
This will not be a step-by-step tutorial because we are not professionals. I am sharing our experience with the project. Our home was built in 1993 and the house has real hardwood floors in all of the rooms except for the living space and bedrooms. We have been wanting to add hardwood floors to our living space for a while now.
My husband and I try to live debt-free and that is where the desire to do as many home improvement projects as possible comes from. We first called the professional who installed hardwoods in our kitchen 10 years ago and he quoted us a price of $6.75 a square foot. We purchased the floors for $3.19 a square foot. Our living space is fairly large so I figure the money saved would pay for a new sofa and that would be worth it. Too bad my husband looks at the money saved totally differently.
We researched this project on YouTube and Google and we also talked to the employees at a couple of flooring stores. After completing many big projects and I have to say that it isn’t that hard, it is just very time-consuming. Installing floors is not a one-weekend project!
We decided to go with a prefinished floor and we found a very good match at Lowes. The disadvantage to purchasing a prefinished floor is that you don’t sand the floor after you lay it. For this reason you need to be careful to keep the boards even.
Pulling up the carpet
The hardest part of all DIY projects is getting up the nerve to start. Hardwood flooring has to sit out in the room to acclimate for a few days. Purchasing a floor nailer for $140 is cheaper than renting one.
Use underlayment paper under the hardwoods. Starting at the front of the room and we worked toward the back of the house.
It took my husband and I a while to get a system going. We always end up with one of us staying on the floor and one of us being the runner. It saves the knees! I think two people doing this project works perfectly.
I would lay the planks and fit them tightly together using a mallet and a wood block. My husband would come behind me and nail the floor with the floor nailer.
We went slow and tried to keep every row perfect because we were afraid that we would get to the opposite wall and have a disaster.
The Final Floor
It ended up taking 3 weekends because we both got sick with a cold during the project but we both feel like the floors look awesome. I really think that they look as good as the rest of the hardwood floors in our house that we installed when the house was built.
You definitely save money by doing home projects yourself. For us, the greatest joy comes from stepping back and looking at what we accomplished. This is how we installed hardwood floor and I hope that you are inspired. This project inspired us to install a tile floor in our Jack and Jill Bath.