You know that the installation of your flooring is important, but it may be an even more significant decision than you are aware of. Poor installation shortens the lifespan of your flooring and leaves much to be desired in terms of aesthetics. However, a proper installation promises that you save both time and money on repairs. Additionally, done correctly, your hardwood flooring will look beautiful for years to come. 

Flooring Installation Methods

The type of flooring installation methods available to you are dependent upon the materials you choose for your project. Different hardwood flooring construction types and materials provide several different installation methods such as:

  • Nail-Down Flooring (with Subfloor)
  • Lay-Down/Floating Flooring
  • Glue-Down Flooring
  • Parquetry

Nail-Down Flooring (with Subfloor)

Nail-down flooring is arguably the most common method of flooring installation. process involves nailing or stapling the wood flooring material directly to a wood subfloor.

Typically, nail-down flooring is used on projects where there are solid wood floors or engineered wood floors with a wood subfloor is present. The nails are installed using a technique known as “blind-nailing,” which ensures that, done properly, the nails will not be visible upon completion. One of the reasons that nail-down flooring is one of the most popular flooring installation methods is the ease of the project. Done correctly, nail-down installation is a relatively quick and easy process.

Lay-Down/Floating Flooring

Developed more than 60 years ago in Sweden, the floating method of installation requires neither nails nor glue. This method of flooring installation is most commonly used with engineered hardwood. Lay-down/floating flooring is ideal in homes where there is already a flooring material in place that is difficult to remove, as it can be installed directly on top of existing flooring.

During the installation process, the engineered wood is “either glued or clipped to itself, both tongue to groove, and at end joints.” This process ensures that the engineered wood flooring is stable even though it is not physically attached to the subfloor. This is one of the most frequently used flooring installation methods as it is possible to install on any subfloor surface and is a relatively easy procedure. Additionally, there is no mess with glue or nails to clean up once the process is completed.

Glue-Down Flooring

Glue-down flooring is often used with solid hardwood and engineered hardwood where a subfloor is present. The glue-down installation method involves using adhesive to adhere the flooring material directly to the subfloor, or to a moisture barrier installed directly on the subfloor.

Glue-down flooring is one of the most used flooring installation methods because the finished result, done accurately, is a highly solid and stable floor. However, glue-down flooring requires a great deal of knowledge and experience to be completed perfectly. Many wood adhesives require what those in the industry refer to as “flash time.” This refers to the amount of time that the adhesive must remain on the subfloor prior to installation. Other wood adhesives do not require “flash time,” and are known as “wet-lay” products. It is extremely important to fully understand the timing requirements when using glue-down flooring as an installation method.

Glue-down flooring is a time consuming process not only due to “flash times,” but also because the clean-up must be done meticulously, and in a timely manner, in order for the completed floor to be effective. Due to the highly skilled labor involved, it is often a lengthier and more expensive method of flooring installation.

Parquetry

Parquet floors have a luxurious look to them owing to the fact that they are composed of thousands of pieces. There are three common options for parquet flooring: solid parquet, parquet panels and engineered wood parquet floors. Parquet can be installed over either a concrete or wood subfloor. The most common installation method for parquet is one that resembled glue-down flooring.

The main advantages of parquetry are the cost-efficiency and the ease of maintenance. Installed well, parquet floors are long-lasting, durable surfaces that do not require expensive repairs or maintenance.