Floor Install Techniques

Hardwood flooring can be installed in several ways. To help you understand the processes better, we have provided information specific to flooring techniques. Keep in mind that while most people will hire a professional, hardwood flooring installation can be done by the do-it-yourselfer. Just remember, installing hardwood floors takes time and lots of patience for the job to be done properly.

Nail Down Technique

One of the first options is with the nail down technique. For this, nails are used to fasten the wood planks to the subfloor. Although the nail down technique works with just about any variety and thickness of wood, it tends to work best with thinner planks. If you are unsure, check with the manufacturer or home improvement company for more information.

Staple Down

The second method is the staple down. Similar to the nail down technique, this one uses staples instead. Again, the wood flooring planks would be stapled to the subfloor, which is a secure method. Many people will go this route over nailing in that the process is easier and faster while still producing favorable results.

Glue Down

Then, you have the glue down technique for installing hardwood floors. Keep in mind that this method can only be used for parquet or engineered wood in that real wood is simply too heavy and thick. However, the adhesive used for this technique is extremely strong, which keeps the parquet or engineered wood held securely to the subfloor.


Finally, there is the floating technique, which is actually considered one of the top choices. In addition to being easy and fast, this leaves the floor looking and feeling great. In this case, the floor actually floats over the subfloor. To keep the boards together, adhesive is used or the boards may be designed as a tongue-and-groove system. The benefit to a floating hardwood floor is that it can be installed to virtually any surface.

Most often, people who do their own hardwood floor installation will choose the floating technique. Just remember that you need to read all of the manufacturer's instructions so the floor can be prepared correctly. After all, different types of wood could require different treatments. Of all steps involved with the floating floor technique, appropriate preparation is the most vital.

The subfloor will still need to be level. If you are unsure, simply place a wood plank on its edge. If you notice space between the subfloor and wood, then you know the subfloor is not even. However, unless the difference is greater than three quarters of an inch, you likely do not need to make any changes.