Laying a Hardwood Floor

Armstrong’s Lock&Fold® technology makes laying a hardwood floor a snap for the Do-It-Yourselfer. In one weekend, you can have a beautiful hardwood floor to enjoy for a lifetime.

Laying a Hardwood FloorArmstrong makes Lock&Fold® engineered hardwood floors with the Do-It-Yourselfer in mind. If you’re comfortable and experienced using power tools, know simple carpentry skills and have successfully completed a few DIY projects, then you can tackle laying a hardwood floor in about a weekend.

Lock&Fold technology is by far the easiest and fastest installation method available. You simply insert the tongue of one board into the groove of the next and gently push down until the pieces lock into place. This easy two-step process gives you the tightest fit and a seamless appearance – no nails, no staples, no glue! Because the hardwood floor is not directly attached to the subfloor, this installation method is called a “floating floor”.

Preparation is the key to a smooth installation. Take the time to make a checklist that includes these essential steps:

Preparation for laying a hardwood floor

  • Carefully read the hardwood installation instructions.
  • Gather the recommended tools and materials for the job.
  • Make sure to have your safety gear ready: dust mask, safety glasses and hearing protection for when you’re cutting wood. You’ll probably appreciate kneepads too.
  • Check to see that the subfloor is dry, clean and flat. Give it the once-over with a vacuum to pick up loose particles and check for exposed nail heads.
  • Carefully remove wall base, millwork, or any trim you intend to re-use.
  • Properly acclimate the hardwood according to the instructions, typically a minimum of 48 hours.

Steps for laying a hardwood floor

  • Roll out Quiet Comfort™ Premium Underlayment, a moisture barrier with superior noise reduction.
  • Lay floor pieces parallel with the longest wall in the room.
  • Begin on the left side of the wall and work right, with the tongue side facing the wall.
  • Use ½” spacers between boards and walls around the perimeter of the room to allow for expansion and contraction in wood due to temperature and humidity changes.
  • Make sure that you stagger the ends of adjacent rows by at least 6” whenever possible to create the random pattern unique to a hardwood floor.

Completing the hardwood installation

  • For the last row, you may have to cut boards lengthwise if there’s not enough room for a full width board.
  • Trace for contours to be cut and fitted for floor vents, around doorways, etc., according to the installation guide.
  • After installing the last row, remove the spacers.
  • Install or re-install transition pieces or moldings. Armstrong makes hardwood trim and molding pre-finished to blend with your flooring.
  • When you’re done, your floor will be ready to walk on. There’s virtually no clean-up because all Armstrong hardwood flooring comes with a factory-applied urethane finish.

A beautiful solid hardwood floor is the result of careful planning and some DIY know-how. It you have the skills for laying a hardwood floor, Armstrong can help you with all the information you need to make it a success. Visit our DIY Hardwood Flooring center for details.