Hardwood Flooring Installation Tips

Follow these tips for a beautiful, stress-free hardwood floor installation – whether you hire a Pro or DIY.

It’s important to keep installation top of mind, no matter what stage you are in your floor buying journey. Knowing what to consider before, during and after will simplify your buying decision and ensure your hardwood flooring is installed correctly for maximum beauty, performance and durability.

Installation Tips Before You Buy

  • Know your installation options

    With hardwood flooring, the type of installation method will depend on what product you choose. See the “Installation” section on the product page for details. Solid hardwood flooring requires staple, nails or glue. Many engineered wood products can be floated (which is more DIY friendly), or installed with staples or glue.
  • Consider hardwood floor installation challenges.

    Are you planning to install in a basement or over concrete slab or radiant heat? Choose an engineered hardwood floor instead of solid hardwood. Neither type of hardwood floor should ever be installed in a bathroom or laundry room. Refer to product instructions for guidance.
  • Create an accurate budget.

    When budgeting for hardwood installation, always account for the cost of the wood, labor, and additional materials like fasteners. It’s also wise to set aside an extra 10-15% of your total estimate for unexpected expenses. That ensures you’re ready for any unexpected challenges or costs that arise during installation.
  • Decide whether to DIY or bring in a Professional.

    Even for experienced DIY enthusiasts, installing hardwood floors with staples, nails or glue can be challenging. We highly recommend hiring an experienced installer. For DIY wood flooring installation, engineered products with our locking technology are the fastest and easiest to install yourself — planks connect only to each other, so they “float” above the subfloor.

Preparation Tips for Hardwood Installation

  • Read the installation instructions.

    Carefully review the detailed instructions for your wood flooring to learn what you’ll need and what to expect. Do this well in advance.
  • Prepare the room.

    Clear out furniture. Remove and dispose of old flooring if necessary. Gently remove any wall base, millwork or trim that you’d like to reuse.
  • Prepare the subfloor.

    Be sure the floor you’re laying over is dry, clean and flat. If repairs are needed, make those before starting the installation.
  • Gather additional materials and tools.

    Your list could include coordinated trims and moldings, underlayment, adhesives, nails, staples, an air compressor and other tools. Check your installation instructions for specifics.
  • Acclimate wood flooring according to instructions.

    This crucial step gives the hardwood flooring time to adjust to the environment of the room where it will be installed. We recommend acclimating all solid hardwood, but it isn’t necessary for engineered hardwood.
woman lifting one end of a couch to place it over newly installed wood flooring

Tips During Installation

Depending on the type of hardwood floor you’ve chosen, installation instructions will vary. Read every step of the instructions listed on our website. They outline important details that might not be obvious, except to an experienced professional, including: subfloor and underlayment requirements, how to prepare doorways and walls, and establishing a starting point.

If you or your professional installer has questions before or during installation, contact our Customer Service team.

After Hardwood Installation Tips

Once your new hardwood floors are in place, clear tools and materials from the area, remove tape, and wipe off remaining glue with a clean, damp cloth. Then clean the floor with the recommended cleaner for hardwood floors.

Inspiration to Your Inbox

Sign up for news about our latest flooring innovations—and get inspired for your next project.

Sign Up