Which Tools Do You Need to Install Engineered Hardwood Floors?

Installing engineered floor over flooring underlayment

What tools do you need to install engineered hardwood floors, and what does the process look like? We have a few recommendations if you’re wondering how to install engineered hardwood floors.

Tools needed to install engineered wood floors:

There are three methods for installing engineered wood floors: the floating method, the glue-down method, and the nail-down method. Read the flooring manufacturer’s instructions to determine which method will need to be used, and other details, such as the permitted moisture content of the floors before and after installation, and which methods are acceptable to use for installing the floors.

In this blog post, we will explain the nail-down method of installing engineered wood floors. We prefer this method for most situations because nailing the floor to the subfloor will eliminate some of the “bounce” that engineered floors are typically known for.

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Here are the tools that we recommend for installing engineered wood floors:

  • Optional: The Powernail 2000 if you would like to nail down the floor for added stability
  • Optional: 20-gauge cleats
  • A moisture meter like the Wagner MMC220
  • A flooring underlayment that is suitable for the type of subfloor over which you will be installing
  • A table saw in order to cut the boards to fit the length of your room

Quick overview of the installation process:

If you’re a homeowner, please note that we always recommend consulting with a hardwood flooring professional rather than doing this to yourself. This can prevent mistakes and save you money in the long run. For assistance with finding a contractor in your area, learn more about our Find a Contractor service. You also want to ensure that you are following the guidelines and instructions set by the flooring manufacturer; not following those instructions will likely result in your warranty being voided.

We go over this exact process in the following video while installing Boen click-lock floors:

    1. Acclimate the floors within the room before installation for the amount of  time recommended by the flooring manufacturer. Most manufacturers recommend a three-day or five-day minimum acclimation period, but consulting the manufacturer’s guidelines will give you the exact recommended amount of time. The amount of time that a flooring needs to acclimate depends on a lot of factors, such as the time of year, the type of floor, and the conditions of the specific room in which the floor is acclimating. The one surefire way to ensure that the floors have properly acclimated is to follow these guidelines:
      • For solid strip flooring (less than 3” wide), there should be no more than 4 percent difference in MC between properly acclimated wood flooring and subflooring materials.
      • For wide-width solid flooring (3” or wider), there should be no more than 2 percent difference in MC between properly acclimated wood flooring and subflooring materials.
    2. Speaking of moisture, it is essential that you measure the moisture content of the floors and the subfloors. The NWFA recommends taking 20 readings per 1,000 square feet for wood subfloors, then averaging and recording the results. You should take moisture measurements when the flooring arrives at the jobsite, throughout the acclimation process, just prior to installation, and after installation.
    3. Once your moisture measurements are reading within acceptable ranges according to guidelines set by the NWFA and the flooring manufacturer, you can lay the underlayment over the subfloor.
    4. Rack the floors before you start installing, just to ensure that everything fits properly. This will ensure that you can make any adjustments before actually beginning to nail down the floors. In most cases, you will want to install the boards perpendicular to the floor joists. Cut the boards to size if necessary.
    5. Make sure to leave a ½” expansion space around the perimeter of the room to allow for floor expansion. You can use spacers to keep the floors far enough away from the floors. Click here to learn more about installing floors according to NWFA guidelines.
    6. Install the floors according to the flooring manufacturer’s guidelines, and then nail them in with the Powernail 2000 if the guidelines indicate that a nail-down installation is acceptable. It is possible to just allow the floor to float if it is a click-lock floor, but this will sometimes result in an unwanted bounce when you walk over the floors. Nailing the click-floor down will eliminate some of the bounce. The Powernail 2000 is specifically designed to work with engineered floors, so it’s the perfect tool for this kind of job.

Call us at (800) 737-1786 or email info@cityfloorsupply for more information about the process of installing engineered wood floors.


Related Products

Powernail 2000 – 20 Gauge Pneumatic Cleat Nailer

Powernail 2000 – 20 Gauge Pneumatic Cleat Nailer

Wagner MC220 Wood Floor Moisture Meter

A moisture measurement meter for hardwood floorsA moisture measurement meter for hardwood floors

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