Installing Your Own Hardwood Flooring

I know you’re thinking, Lindsay, this is not a DIY! I’m here to tell you that, yes, it is! We chose to purchase our engineered hardwood flooring from ADMFlooring and couldn’t be happier with the look, feel, and ease of install. I chose Vicenza, from their Pavia Collection, and it provides the perfect amount of warmth against our Chantilly Lace walls.

Vicenza – ADM Flooring

With the savings we had from not hiring the installation out, we were able to put our hardwood flooring throughout our entire home! On average, flooring installation can cost anywhere from $6-$10 per sq.ft. Our home is just under 3,000 sq. ft. so that would have added up quickly! In order to install your own flooring you will need some tools. They are available to rent at Home Depot if you don’t want to fully invest in them! Here is a list below of what we used:


Flooring Nailer – Your local Home Depot will often have these available to rent!

Flooring Staples – make sure to check the manual for recommended size

Underlayment – Home Depot has many options

Miter Saw – Home Depot has many options! This Ryobi one is very user friendly and has a great price point!

Table Saw

Finish Nailer

Step 1: Prep your subfloor

This is a very important step! Make sure to thoroughly sweep and vacuum your subfloor to clear any debris. If there are any high spots from joint compound, for example, you will want to scrap those areas to ensure they are flat. If you skip this step, you will notice the bump when installing your floors and will not make for an easy time!

Step 2: Underlayment

There are many kinds of underlayment available with varying price ranges. We found the more expensive the underlayment, the more sound dampening capability it had to it. We decided that since the major areas the kids will be on the second floor were insulated between floors, we wouldn’t really need something with sound dampening. Before purchasing your underlayment, it’s a good idea to check the manual to see what it recommended underneath your flooring. When laying your underlayment down, you want to make sure it is spread out evenly with little to no wrinkles. Use a staple gun to secure to the floor and tape the seams between pieces. The instructions will also let you know how many inches you should overlap your pieces.

Step 3: Take Measurements

You should have a general sense of where your flooring is going to land. Taking measurements will help you see if there are any areas that may be out of square or any areas that may be a small cut. Your first piece of flooring will want to sit about 1/4″ from the wall to allow for expansion. Measure the same distance in a few spots down your wall and snap a line with a chalk line. This will give you a guide to ensure your first row is straight.

Step 4: Pattern

Some people prefer a pattern when installing flooring. When doing a specific pattern, you typically see more waste and should account for this in your flooring order. In order to have little to no waste, we decided to lay the floor randomly. In doing this, we started with a long piece and kept going until we came close to the end of the run. We measured the distance from the last piece of flooring to the wall (leaving space for expansion) and made the cut out of a long piece. The remaining cut off now acts as your next starting piece so there is no waste.

Step 5: Installing Your Floor

Your flooring has a tongue side and a groove side. You will lay your first piece with the groove side to the wall. The tongue is where you will be placing your flooring staples so it is important to have these facing away from the wall. For the first row, you will need to use a finish nailer to nail the flooring to the subfloor. As you will see, your flooring nailer will not fit in this first row. Place finish nails along the very back side of the flooring – your baseboards will cover these nail holes! You will see that the flooring fits together by connecting a tongue and groove. Using your flooring hammer, you will need to tap the flooring together (using a scrap piece of wood as a block to tap the hammer against will help protect your floors during this process!) to make sure the seams are tight before nailing/stapling the floor into place. Standing on top of your flooring while tapping into place makes this a much smoother process!

Once you get to your second row, you will be able to start using your flooring nailer. You will see that the bottom of the nailer has a little pad where it will rest comfortably on the tongue side of your floor. Make sure its lined up and use the hammer to pound the staple into the floor. This is loud, so use ear protection, but so easy to do! You’ll want to move your flooring nailer down the piece of flooring about every 6 in. – this will also be stated in your manual so make sure to verify! Continue using your flooring nailer until you get to the other wall. You’ll notice as you get closer and closer you’ll start to run out of room using your flooring nailer. This is when you will use your finish nailer again! The second to last row, you will angle your finish nailer as best you can and place a nail at the top of the tongue. It is important to angle it so that the nail isn’t going straight down as this will prevent your next piece from fitting in correctly. You will then nail down the last row in the same fashion as the first row. Remember, these nail holes will be hidden by your baseboards!

You can check out more on my Instagram page as I have posted a few videos of the install process! If you are interested in engineered hardwood flooring from ADM Flooring, you can order free samples to see which color fits your style the best! Make sure to follow them on Instagram as well!


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