Checklist for nail or staple down


Acclimate Your Hardwood!!! 

Hard wood or engineered wood floors can swell and react to changes in temperature and humidity levels. Before you install your new floors, you must give the flooring time to adapt to the room’s atmosphere. Make sure the flooring is acclimated in the room where it will be installed and at typical room temperatures.

Turn on your air conditioner and/or heater at least several days before your installation begins and the room at level temperature between 65 and 70 degrees.

Make sure to test the moisture in the room by using a moisture meter. The moisture in the room where the flooring is to be installed should not exceed 55% or go below 35%.

Your flooring must have the chance to acclimate to its new space. At least 72 hours before you install your floors, put them in the room to acclimate to the humidity and temperature levels. Do not unload your flooring during wet or rainy weather. The wood will soak up the moisture and will take longer to acclimate.

During humid months, your hardwood will expand. When it does, the planks will push against each other. If they do not have enough room to expand naturally, you’ll notice the floor start to cup or buckle. The opposite occurs in the colder, drier months. As the wood shrinks, you might notice gaps between the wood. Use a humidifier (or dehumidifier) to keep your room neutral during any excessive changes. The vents must have proper ventilation. If not, it could affect the moisture content in your sub-floor.

If the moisture content of the sub-floor is over 12%, delay your installation!

Check your sub-floor for stability, evenness and structure. If your sub-floor is damaged in any area, you will need to properly fix and repair it. Your sub-floor’s integrity is extremely important to the health of your flooring. Once you have cleaned and inspected your sub-floor for any damages, you’re ready to install.


Time to install:

The First Row:

Staple down 15 lb. asphalt paper to the sub-floor. The seams should be lapped 2” – 4”. If you’re installing an engineered, install your underlayment per the manufacturer instructions.

Mark the location of the joists on the perimeter walls.

Install your flooring at a 90 degree angle to the floor joists.

Determine the starting wall. This is usually the straightest wall in the room. Measure out from the wall and add ¾” for expansion. Use chalk to mark a parallel line to the starting wall for the placement of the first floor.

Nail the first row with face nails. Make sure the tongue side of the board is facing the wall. Drill holes through the face of the board at 6” intervals. Finish by securing the board to the sub-floor with 1” finishing nails.

Along the tongue side of the board, drill pilot holes. Continue drilling these holes every 6” through the board. Do not drill closer than 2” from the end of the board. Finish with a 1” finishing nail in each pilot hole.

Install the remaining boards in the first row using these instructions. Don’t forget to align the tongues and grooves snugly together.

Remaining Rows:

As you begin the next row, make sure that you stagger the boards by ensuring the first board is at least 6” longer or shorter than the board in the first row. You can use your rubber mallet and tapping block to move these together and achieve a snug fit.

Nail the first few rows by hand instead of with a power nailer. When you’re ready to use the power nailer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

The Final Row:

The last 4 to 5 rows should be installed manually. You might need to rip saw the final row to leave the required ¾” expansion gap. Drill holes approximately 1” from the back edge and through the face at 6” intervals. Fill in the nailed areas with matching wood filler.