A Beginner’s Guide to Installing Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors add timeless elegance and warmth to any home. Whether you’re renovating your current space or building from scratch, installing hardwood floors can significantly enhance the aesthetic and value of your property. While the process may seem daunting at first, with the right tools, materials, and a methodical approach, even beginners can achieve professional-looking results.

Planning Your Hardwood Floor Installation

Before diving into the installation process, careful planning is essential. Start by measuring the dimensions of the rooms where you intend to install hardwood floors. Consider the type of hardwood you prefer—engineered or solid—and select a suitable wood species and finish that complement your interior design.

Step-by-Step Hardwood Floor Installation

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Materials

Begin by gathering all necessary tools and materials for the installation:

  • Tools: Hammer, nail gun, tape measure, chalk line, circular saw, jigsaw, pry bar, and safety equipment (goggles, gloves).
  • Materials: Hardwood flooring planks, underlayment (if applicable), adhesive or nails, wood filler, and finishing products (stain, polyurethane).

Step 2: Prepare the Subfloor

Ensure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. Remove any existing flooring and repair any imperfections. Install a moisture barrier if installing over concrete.

Step 3: Acclimate the Wood

Allow the hardwood flooring to acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity for at least 48 hours before installation. This prevents expansion or contraction after installation.

Step 4: Install the Underlayment (If Applicable)

Depending on your installation method, install an underlayment to provide cushioning, noise reduction, and moisture protection.

Step 5: Lay Out the First Row

Begin installation along the longest exterior wall, typically in the direction of the room’s natural light. Lay out the first row of boards with the tongue side facing the wall, leaving a 1/2-inch expansion gap.

Step 6: Install the Flooring

Start the second row with a cut piece from the first row to stagger the joints. Use a pneumatic nail gun or adhesive to secure each plank, ensuring it is tightly joined to the previous row. Use a tapping block and hammer for tight fits.

Step 7: Cut and Fit Planks

Measure and cut planks to fit around doorways, vents, and other obstacles using a circular saw or jigsaw. Leave appropriate expansion gaps around the edges.

Step 8: Complete the Installation

Continue installing rows of hardwood flooring, alternating lengths and staggering end joints. Use a pry bar and hammer to snugly fit the last row against the wall. Install transition strips between rooms or different flooring types.

Finishing Touches

Step 9: Sand and Finish the Floor

Once the floor is installed, sand it smooth using a drum sander and edge sander. Vacuum thoroughly and apply wood filler to any gaps or holes. Finish with a stain if desired, followed by multiple coats of polyurethane for durability.

Step 10: Allow for Drying Time

Allow the finish to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions before moving furniture back into the room. Ventilate the area during the drying process.

Maintenance Tips for Hardwood Floors

To maintain the beauty and longevity of your hardwood floors, follow these tips:

  • Regularly sweep or vacuum to remove dirt and debris.
  • Use furniture pads to prevent scratches.
  • Place rugs at entryways and high-traffic areas.
  • Avoid excess moisture and clean up spills promptly.
  • Periodically refinish the floors as needed to renew their appearance.


Installing hardwood floors can be a rewarding DIY project for beginners, enhancing the aesthetics and value of your home. By following these step-by-step instructions and tips, you can achieve professional results and enjoy the beauty of hardwood for years to come.

Need New Flooring in Westland, MI?

CRW Flooring Depot, established in 1995 in Westland, MI, is a leading destination for all flooring needs. Serving Metro Detroit and surrounding areas, we offer both wholesale and retail options. Our extensive product range includes hardwood floors, tiles, glass mosaics, and other home flooring products. Additionally, our vast inventory boasts over 6,000,000 square feet of porcelain and ceramic tile floors, quarry tile, granite countertops, marble, and more. As a direct importer, we offer competitive prices and a diverse selection. We also provide installation referrals through a network of over 60 professional installers. Our team here at CRW Flooring Depot is committed to providing high-quality products and exceptional service. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!