Hardwood Glue Down Installation

When installing hardwood floors, you have four options to include nail down, staple down, floating, and glue down. If you were interested in doing the installation on your own, the easiest method would be the glue down. Now, prior to putting the flooring down, it is important the wood stand in the room where it will be installed for about one to two weeks after delivery, allowing it to acclimate to the environment. Additionally, you need a clean, level, and smooth surface for the hardwood flooring.


You will need a tape measure, chalk and chalk line, hand saw, saber saw, moisture meter, carpenter square, hammer, trowel, and the recommended adhesive and cleaner by the manufacturer. As far as the subfloor, you have a number of options to include concrete, ceramic, slate, marble, vinyl, cork, resilient tile, wafer board particleboard, plywood, and even metal.

When to Use

Most often, the glue down installation method is used on engineered wood and on concrete subfloor where nailing and stapling would be impossible. Keep in mind that while easy, it usually takes longer to complete. However, after the floor is in place, you can walk on it the following day, as well as put your furniture and appliances back in place. Before you start gluing anything, you want to consider several things.


For starters, keep in mind that glue down hardwood flooring is sensitive to the type of adhesives used. The good news is that new materials and technologies mean a much better choice than what you had a few years ago. The main benefit is that harsh odors are minimal and they dissipate quickly. Generally, you would be using an acrylic or urethane adhesive for the job.


While the glue down installation process for hardwood floors is easy, making it a great choice for the do-it-yourselfer, it is also the method most prone to failure. Typically, if the hardwood floor starts to pull up or ripple, the most common reasons include improper subfloor preparation, not allowing the wood to rest onsite long enough, using poor quality or inadequate adhesive, or not using enough adhesive.


Again, you can certainly perform the installation of the hardwood flooring yourself but many people prefer a professional complete the job to ensure the floor stays securely in place. First, you need to prepare the adhesive according to the manufacturer's instructions, which most often is mixed with water. To apply the adhesive, you would apply a small amount to the floor, and then use a float trowel to move the material. The key here is to use small amounts, working in small areas in that the glue will harden relatively quickly.

After the glue is down, you would begin installing the floor, again according to the manufacturer's instructions. When you get around the door casing, be sure it is trimmed to the same height as the flooring. That way, the hardwood floor will simply slide underneath so you have a professional result. You would continue to work the floor with the glue and hardwood until completely done. Now, while working, if you get any glue on the wood surface, you want to use a lightly damp cloth to wipe it down, followed by a dry cloth.