Tips for DIY Hardwood Floors Installation

The Retreat Remodel updates have been few and far between. We’ve been working on it. But working on it and then having time to edit pictures and write about it are another thing altogether. We’re finally to a place where we can catch up a bit, so I’ll be trying to share more about our remodeling project in the upcoming weeks. Today, Randy is sharing DIY hardwood floors tips about the hardwood floors that we installed. Take it away, Randy!

Tips for DIY Hardwood Floors Installation

We chose wide plank heart pine floors for the retreat and we’re delighted with the way they turned out. Floors are such a large part of the remodel budget and they are a huge factor in the look and feel of a home. We wanted to get as close as we could to the look and feel we wanted while staying within our budget. Antique heart pine floors are beautiful but they are very expensive, especially in wide widths. New pine floors by contrast can be one of the least expensive solid wood flooring options.

After looking around (a lot!) we found the perfect solution at Pine Floors and More in Florence, South Carolina. We chose 8-inch wide new pine floors. The wood has lots of character and variation like an antique heart pine floor but the price was similar to lower grade new pine floors from the large discounters. The boards were locally harvested and are pre-cut in various lengths up to 8 feet and neatly packaged in cardboard boxes for protection.

Tips for DIY Hardwood Floors Installation Tips for DIY Hardwood Floors Installation

To save some coin we decided to do the installation ourselves. I’m glad we did. We saved money and did it the way we wanted. It was hard work but satisfying. Once installed we hired a local professional to sand and finish the floor. After a great deal of research and looking around, we decided to go with our finisher’s recommendation and not apply a stain to the floor but just finish with a natural oil-based polyurethane.

Check out these before and after photos. They’re a bit distorted as Amy used the panoramic setting from her phone, but you can get the general idea.

Tips for DIY Hardwood Floors InstallationTips for DIY Hardwood Floors Installation

A few more pictures of the remodel. We’ll be sharing updates about the ceiling, kitchen and tools.

Tips for DIY Hardwood Floors Installation Tips for DIY Hardwood Floors InstallationTips for DIY Hardwood Floors InstallationTips for DIY Hardwood Floors InstallationTips for DIY Hardwood Floors Installation

A few handy tips for DIY Hardwood Floors Installation:

  • Safety first. Wear eye protection, appropriate shoes, and stop working if you are too fatigued to concentrate.
  • Start straight. Take plenty of time to measure and get started straight in every room.
  • Choose boards carefully. Be sure to vary board length, color, grain pattern etcetera, and save your favorite boards for the most visible areas.
  • Know your limits. Some of the final detail work would have been quite difficult for us given our skill level and equipment. We hired a professional to do the final 5% of the job, important miter cuts and difficult fits.
  • Stick to your guns. Some flooring suppliers and installers we spoke with tried to talk us out of wide plank pine but we knew the look we were going for and we understood the reasons wide plank pine is not for everyone. Pine is softer than oak or maple. With the large mass of wide plank flooring boards, seasonal dimensional changes will be more noticeable. In the end we wanted a rustic, comfortable, old-fashioned look that fit the setting and we are delighted with the results.
  • Plan extra time for wood to adjust to environment. Wood should be delivered (boxes open if packaged), and given time to acclimate to the space it will be installed in for a minimum of 5 days. I think longer would be even better.

Basic tools needed for installing hardwood floors (this is a basic list, other tools may be suggested and needed see link below for DIY installation instructions):

  • We found that buying a flooring stapler was less expensive than renting. We chose this one: Flooring Tool/Stapler
  • It worked great with 2-inch staples: 2-inch Flooring Staples
  • You will also need an air compressor and a finish nailer. We bought this combo a while back and it has served us well: Finish Nailer and Compressor Combo Kit
  • And of course a compound miter saw: Compound Miter Saw
    (From my personal experience with miter saws, the blade is the most important thing. I purchased a fairly inexpensive miter saw years ago and invested in a really good blade which has worked very well for us.)

Our hardwood floor source: Pine Floors and More

Since there is a great deal of good information online about the actual installation of solid hardwood flooring I’m not going to go through the step-by-step instructions. We found these particular sites most helpful:

DIY Hardwood Floor Instructions

How to Install a Hardwood Floor Video

Hardwood Floor Installation Video

Looking back I’ve noticed some small mistakes I made in installation and some details I could’ve done better but I think overall we’re quite pleased with the look and function of the floor. But more than that we’re happy that we’re walking on something we worked together on and completed as a family.

(This is NOT a sponsored post. Affiliate links are included, which means if you click on an affiliate link and purchase something I may (or may not) make percentage of the sale.)

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