A major factor to a good and successful hardwood floor installation is in having a good foundation to begin with. Having a suitable subfloor prepared and brought into industry guidelines will help make your floors look and perform as they should.
The National Wood Flooring Association has set guidelines for installation of wood flooring. Manufactures of flooring material may have additional guidelines that need to be followed for a successful installation. A Certified Professional Installer is aware of what these guidelines are and how to best follow them.
An improper subfloor could cause humps in the floor, dips, excessive movement which can lead to product failure, excessive moisture can cause the floor to swell and buckle. Too dry of conditions can cause the flooring to shrink and split.
There are concrete subfloors and wooden subfloors. Each have a different method of preparation as well as how the floor is to be installed. Both should be flat, clean, dry, and structurally sound.
For nail down installations the general guidelines are to have at least a 3/4″ plywood subfloor and to be flat to within 1/4″ within 10′ or 3/16″ in 6 feet. For glue-down installations, it should be flat to within 3/16″ in 10′ or 1/8″ in 6 feet.
Particle board is not an acceptable underlayment for nail or glue-down flooring and must be removed prior to installation of your new hardwood flooring.
The steps we go through to prep a floor for installation are: acclimation of the wood, removal of the baseboards, removal and disposal of any current floor covering, cleaning and flattening of the subfloor, retarding moisture.
Sometimes getting a floor prepped and ready for installation of a wood floor takes just as long as it does to install the new floor but, it is well worth it.
Be sure to read our article on Acclimation to learn about another important aspect of hardwood flooring that needs to be done before the floor can be installed.