Hardwoord Flooring Installation

            Installation Process

When installing wood flooring, especially when installing wide planks or boards that vary in color or character, it is so important that this process not be rushed, that the right board is placed for a particular spot, taking into consideration the length, shade of color and character of the board being placed, and the surrounding boards.

If the wrong board goes in the wrong spot, there it is, for you to see every day. In my experience the placement of boards will affect an individual in one of three ways; The first, is an obvious and conscious response to chaos, or lacking order, then deducing the reason for chaos and finding said reason, "that board looks so wrong there!". The second, is subtle and is a subconscious response to board placement, and is the worst, because you can't put your finger on it, and is due to a lack of harmony in the placement of boards in relation to their color, character and lengths. It is so important that the boards be placed in an abstract manner, so there are no apparent patterns with but joints and that the differences in color or character are placed for balanced throughout the floor, to create an overall even and soft platform for a suitable space. The third response is also subconscious, as you enter the space in which the flooring occupies, you feel comfortable, not able to articulate the reason, but it works, this is the effect that a properly installed wood floor has on an individual, this is the art of wood floor installation.

To further insure the proper placement of boards, I cut and dry fit an area, then observe board placement, if I don't like a certain board for length or character; I replace it at that time, and then back stack the flooring for permanent installation. An added benefit of this process, when installing over concrete and troweling the adhesive, you can wet lay boards, which allows for the greatest adhesion. Very few contractors employ this process because of the time it takes, but it is necessary to factor out human error, and ensure a sound product.

There is another aspect to the installation of wood floors that is too often over looked, and also has either a positive or negative effect at the subconscious level, unless you are one of those that notices every detail, and that is, transitions. How your floor transition to other surfaces, whether they be other hard flooring surfaces, which height is a major consideration, and if the project is a remodel, this needs to be addressed in the early stages of planning. How your floor transitions to thresh holds a hearth, permanent furniture or cabinets. We undercut where ever possible, placing the floor under the fixture, creating a clean transition so as not to appear as an after-thought and to appear as if everything was built over the floor. Most installers use molding to cover poor planning, craftsmanship or just use molding as a means to speed up the process. Because transitions aren't usually the main focus of a room, they usually lie in the peripheral, thus a subconscious response to order or chaos. If the details or transitions are smooth, an atmosphere of order and calm resides, if the transitions are obtuse, unnecessary and lacking flow, a feeling of disorder is present. As subtle as it may seem it makes a difference.

Once an installation is complete, that is it, and you are living with it every day. Your floor is the foundation for the look and feel that your home reflects. Most people want their home to be a place of refuge from the chaos of the world which they have no control. You do have control of your home, so with informed decisions and proper planning, this is easily achieved when working with the right people.

Over Concrete

When laying wood flooring over concrete with glue, in addition to the preparation needed prior to the installation, the most important factors are; what glue to use, how much to put down and how to put it down. Basically, the thinner and more narrow the flooring plank, the less glue you need and more for the thicker and wider material. The amount of glue to be spread is measure by the trowel chosen for the job. Glue is expensive, so many installers us cheap glue and use a trowel that applies less, which will result in hollow spots and possible future failure.

We have four methods of laying a floor with glue and a particular method is chosen for the specific application of flooring being laid. After laying the boards, we clamp them tight; assuring that there are no gaps and then weight the floor down, as the glue cures to ensure 100% adhesion. We use only the highest quality glue. After using various products through the years, testing for bond strength for various applications, I have found that Sika products meet all out needs and exceed other products capabilities. For installations requiring a troweled glue, we use Sika T – 35 for engineered flooring up to 7 inches wide, and we use Sika T – 55 for Solid flooring and engineered flooring over 7 inches in width.

For technical information in Sika's T – 35, please click on the following link: http://us01.webdms.sika.com/fileshow.do?documentID=332

For technical information on Sika's T – 55 please click on the following link: http://us01.webdms.sika.com/fileshow.do?documentID=334

Over Plywood

When laying wood flooring over plywood, most installers use only nails or staples, because mechanical fasteners cost nothing but later, be ready for creaks and squeaks and if the flooring is solid, you're on the coast and you get some humidity, the boards may cup (even if the flooring was acclimated properly). If the floor cups, it's now time to go backwards because you saved .90 a sq.ft. (cost of glue) and get to look forward to living on the cupped floor through the season, pulling out all the furniture and having it sanded at 4.00 a sq. ft. This is never convenient!

We glue down all flooring over plywood and secure the boards tightly with cleats, which are nails, made for flooring.

Floating and Sika's "AcouBond - System

A floating floor is flooring planks that are bonded to each other mechanically or with an adhesive, and then floated over padding. People often have a negative connotation with floating floors, as they associate a floating floor with Pergo or laminate flooring. Because the laminate is so thin and light, and the padding isn't as dense as it should be, you kind of sink into the floor as you walk. It is best to float a floor with dense engineered material, which provides an experience completely different.

The floating method is chosen for a couple of reasons; one is to save money and the other is benefit of a floor that has some give or flex, as the pad below the wood flooring absorbs the shock that sensitive knees or back would otherwise absorb.

Another option to floating a floor, which is the preferred method, if the intension is to obtain a softer walking surface and that, is Sika's "AcouBond – System. This system consists of a 1/8 inch thick, slotted mat, in which Sika bond T-53 glue is applied in the open slots of the mat, thus bonding the substrate directly to the wood with the mat in the center. It's an excellent system and I have installed this in personal work out rooms, artist studios, for second level acoustical or sound reasons, for people who just want a little softer feel to the floor and for those whom require knee and back relief. For technical information on Sika's "AcouBond – System, please click on the following link: http://us01.webdms.sika.com/fileshow.do?documentID=329

SandingSanding is needed in most cases after unfinished square edge flooring is installed. The installations of prefinished flooring or flooring that meets acceptable milling tolerances like "Carlisle Wide plank flooring", are not sanded. For more information on sanding, please click here.


Staining is a generic term for the application of a coloring agent to alter the natural wood appearance. We apply color with the use of chemicals, dyes, pigmented stains and glazes. Many different effects and depth of color can be achieved by layering or contrasting colors with various techniques. For more information on color, please click here.Finishing

Finishing a floor involves the application of a protective coating, which protects the wood and colorants from every day wear and provides a surface that can be easily maintained. For more information on finishes, please click here.