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How to Install Engineered Hardwood Flooring

If you’ve decided to take the leap into engineered hardwood flooring you won’t be sorry. This lightweight, durable flooring is a great addition to any room and doesn’t require an engineering degree to install. There are four methods of installation: staple down, nail down, glue down, and floating. Application will depend on sub floor and specific product. Be sure to prep your sub floor, removing any old staples, nails or other debris before you roll out any underlay needed. Mark a starting line along the edge of the underlay, leaving room for your expansion gap approximately half an inch from the wall, to ensure even laying.

Here a few tips to get you started:

  1. Be sure to let your flooring acclimate to room temperature for at least 72 hours, some products may need to be removed from packaging, always be sure to check the instructions.
  2. Check for warped and defective boards, a few bad pieces are not uncommon.
  3. It’s a good idea to install the boards from several boxes to mix up colours and shades which gives the floor more of a natural look.
  4. Add up the flooring width to calculate the width of the last row, if it’s skinnier than one inch, cut the first row in half.
  5. While installing, maintain the expansion gap at the perimeter of the room.
  6. Always stagger joints at least six inches and avoid stair stepping and H joints. Try to get a few rows that are between joints that are lined up.

Of all the installation methods, floating in the easiest, which works great over existing vinyl. Some flooring has locking pieces along their edges to help make the installation even easier. Use the longest, straightest boards for line one and set your first piece on your starting line, tongue side facing the wall. It’s helpful to place half inch spacers between the flooring and the wall to maintain your expansion gap. Be sure to interlock your boards from left to right and finish up line one. When cutting your flooring, be sure to set the board face up and cut through with your power saw.

When you’re interlocking your rows as you go, be sure to angle the boards as you set them, and then press flat to lock into place. A tapping block and mallet is helpful to ensure pieces are locked together securely, then just keep going. To get under door jams with locking engineer, you might have to shave off the edge of the groove of the previous row. Use some flooring glue along the edges of the flooring pieces and fit into place on the floor, hold the pieces together with a piece of tape until the glue dries. A pole bar is useful when you get to the end to help wedge the pieces into place. Once complete, attach your baseboard mouldings to the wall, covering your expansion gap, and you’re done.

If you’re ever unsure about a particular product installation or process, always check with your City Tile crew or a professional installer to make sure your installation goes flawlessly.