Hardwood Floor –part 1: How to Prepare

This is the part 1 of the “Hardwood Floor” video series. If you want to see other videos of the series, visit the following links:
hardwood floor part2: how to install
hardwood floor part3: how totrim
hardwood floor part 4: how to stair and handrail
1.     What the video is about
In this video we are going to show you how to install the solid hardwood floor.
2.     Benefits/Drawbacks
What are the benefits of wood floor?  First, you need to know that there are two choices: pergo or solid hardwood.

2.1.    Pergo
Pergo is the name of a company in Sweden that makes laminate flooring products. The name “Pergo” has become a common term for laminate wood flooring. Laminate flooring is basically made out of plastic with a photographic image of wood sandwiched in between the layers of plastic. Laminate floors are very durable and great for high traffic areas and active families, however they cannot be refinished once scuffed up and/or scratched.

Pergo flooring costs much less than hardwood flooring. Installation of Pergo is much faster because it comes in sheets rather than individual boards and is usually just glued down rather than nailed. However I don’t like it because it is made of plastic.

2.2.    Solid Hardwood
Hardwood flooring is a solid piece of wood. It can range in thickness from half an inch to an inch, but is typically about three quarters of an inch thick like this one. The thicker one allows you to sand it multiple times when it wears down.

It can be prefinished (like this one) or unfinished (like this one).  In the past, unfinished hardwood flooring sales accounted for the majority of wood flooring sales, but the volume of pre-finished floors sold now is greater. This is party due to the fact that the installation of pre-finished wood flooring is less expensive and the installation is faster (as soon as the nailing is done, the installation is done). It is also due to the fact that pre-finished wood flooring has a more durable finish that can’t be achieved on floors finished on the job site. However, some people still use unfinished wood flooring because it is available in more widths and wood species. After you apply the final finish, the gaps may disappear and it can match to existing wood floors better.

We choose the prefinished flooring because pre-finished flooring is generally easier to install. Pre-finished wood works better in areas that receive high traffic and heavy wear and tear because it provides a more durable finish.
If you are trying to avoid fumes and a big mess, pre-finished flooring is cleaner to install.
If you are installing the floor in a room with high humidity, pre-finished flooring resists buckling and warping and is suitable for changes in climate.
If you are looking for a fast and easy installation, pre-finished flooring is the choice to make.
If you are looking to use engineered wood, most come pre-finished.

When to choose Unfinished

When trying to match to an existing floor or trim, unfinished wood is generally easier to stain to match.
If you are having the floors installed throughout your entire home, having the floor finished on site will provide a more uniform color and finish.
If you are looking for an unusual wood species or specific plank width, unfinished wood flooring offers the most options.
If your floor is not precisely level, you may opt for unfinished flooring because it doesn’t depend on a precisely level subfloor the way a pre-finished floor does.

Even though hardwood costs and installation is higher than Pergo,  hardwood can be well worth the investment as it can actually raise the value of your home because it is considered a high-end product.

Solid wood flooring is susceptible to high humidity and moisture so it should only be used on ground or above ground levels. You should think twice before considering using it in a basement. Due to the fact that solid wood floors are moisture sensitive they can have the tendency to expand, contract or cup. The cupping action causes the wood edges to stick up, which can lead to floor damage and even tripping.

Solid wood flooring is also sensitive to scratches, though this can be mitigated with your choice of wood flooring as well as how you finish/seal the floor.

Solid wood flooring is typically more expensive than laminate flooring such as Pergo, however it is well worth the investment. Solid wood flooring is actually one type of flooring that can raise the value of your home. If you are building, or have a high end home, then you should definitely go with solid wood flooring as most high end home buyers will prefer solid wood floors over Pergo, or other laminate flooring.

3.     If you choose solid hardwood floor, this is what you need
If you need to take out the old flooring then
3.1.    pry bar
3.2.    hammer, screw driver
3.3.     plywood and screws for plywood
3.4.    Pre-finished planks
3.5.    Miter Saw, Table Saw
3.6.    Planer, Sander (special planks)
3.7.    floor Nailer/mallet, nails
This one is expensive, about $500. You may rent it at home depot, however you will have the time pressure to finish it. My experience is that it will always take longer time to complete your work than you originally planned.  After two row of this length of nailing, my back will be really sore.
3.8.    regular nailer, nails
3.9.    compressor
3.10.    pliers (take out the nail)
3.11.    moisture barrier
4.     Safety first
4.1.    places in Multiple places
4.2.    Not save money
Safety first. Place multiple goggles in convenient places, so that you don’t have excuses not to use them. It is not worth losing your sexy eyes to save a few dollars.
If you want to see other videos of the series, visit the following links:
hardwood floor part2: how to install
hardwood floor part3: how totrim
hardwood floor part 4: how to stair and handrail