How to Put Down a Wood Floor That’s Pre-Finished

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:
Now this item on my honey-do list is long overdue and my wife, Lynn isn't going to stand for one more day on the ceramic tile on our kitchen floor. As for me, well, I really don't mind it so much and I'm not crazy about what she's got in mind for a replacement.

Honey, what are you doing?
LYNN:
I'm cleaning up juice somebody accidentally spilled.
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
RON HAZELTON:
Come on, come on, come on.
LYNN:
No, Ron --
RON HAZELTON:
Oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
LYNN:
No, because this floor is so slippery.
RON HAZELTON:
I'll get it, I'll get it.
LYNN:
Honestly, we've got to replace this floor. It's not horrible but I think a wood floor would look so much better.
RON HAZELTON:
But wood in the kitchen, I don't like it because it doesn't hold up well to pets, children and water, all three of which we've got here, right.
LYNN:
Really. The floors that they have now are really great for kitchens. Look, why don't I do this, you go investigate, I'll get some information. If, in fact, we find that there's a wood floor that would be appropriate for a kitchen and our kind of use, great. If not, we'll carpet [LAUGHS].
RON HAZELTON:
Duraluster plus urethane, 25-year finish.
LYNN:
Mm-hmm [AFFIRMATIVE].
BOTH:
Lifetime structural warranty.
RON HAZELTON:
The manufacturer warrants that the finish will not wear through or separate from the wood for 25 full years.
LYNN:
Well, let's do it.
RON HAZELTON:
You got your wood floor.
LYNN:
Bye-bye tile.
RON HAZELTON:
Well, now I'm going to begin the serious work on this job. I'm going to try to get this old tile up and I say try because well, I'm sure I'm going to get it up. I'm just not sure how much work it's going to be.
[SOUNDS OF MACHINERY, MUSIC]
[WHISTLES] Whew, this is going to be slow going.

Well, it's time for plan B. That's certainly not going to work to chip this up, so here's what I'm going to try next. I'm going to take a saw with a diamond tip blade and I'm going to cut through the grout lines between the tile because what I discovered over there is that tile is glued on top of a sheet of eighth-inch glue on plywood.

And if I can cut this into sections, I think I can get up underneath that plywood and actually pry this off in large hunks. The only problem with this method is that it's going to generate a lot of dust, so I've really got to seal up this room and start taping doors up like this one.

All right, I've taken a couple of other dust precautions, got my dust mask on here. Got a fan over here in the window that's going to pull some of this dust out. I've attached a vacuum to my circular saw right here. Now the blade I have on my circular saw is a diamond-tipped blade designed specifically for cutting through stone and masonry. It should have no trouble getting through this grout.
[MUSIC]

RON HAZELTON:
And underneath all that tile, 30-year-old vintage vinyl in surprisingly good shape.
LYNN:
Wow.
RON HAZELTON:
Okay, this is solid oak. It's almost an exact match for what we have in the house. The difference, of course, is the thickness. This new flooring is only 5/16ths of an inch, this one 3/4s. In our case, in remodeling the kitchen, the thinner floor actually turns out better because it doesn't raise the floor up as much, the transitions into the other room are going to be a lot better.
LYNN:
Excellent.
RON HAZELTON:
The spaces underneath the counter tile like for the dishwasher, they're not going to be made that much smaller. So I think actually -- this is actually going to be an advantage right here.
LYNN:
Fabulous. I think it's gorgeous.
RON HAZELTON:
Well, I've got Lynn's approval, so it's time to get started and just to make sure I do it right, I've asked for a little help.
[DOORBELL RINGS]
Hey, buddy. Come on in. I'm glad you're here. Thanks for giving me a hand with this.

JOHN KLEPP EDGE:
Sure.
RON HAZELTON:
Wood's here.
JOHN KLEPP EDGE:
And how long has the wood been in the house?
RON HAZELTON:
Well, you told me to bring it in like three or four days ahead, which I did. John Klepp Edge is a technical consultant for Armstrong Flooring. He explains that the new flooring needs time to acclimate to its surroundings. That means it should have about the same moisture content as the surface it's being installed over.

Just to be sure, he checks both with an electronic moisture meter.

So the moisture's good, the flooring and the old floor are close enough, right? So where do you start in a room like this? What part of the room do you begin at?
JOHN KLEPP EDGE:
We would normally start on an exterior wall.
RON HAZELTON:
Why?
JOHN KLEPP EDGE:
Because the exterior wall's the straightest.
RON HAZELTON:
Okay, that makes sense. Want to go to work?
JOHN KLEPP EDGE:
Yep, I'm ready.
RON HAZELTON:
Let's do it.

To begin, we snap a chalk line about three inches from the wall. This gives us a perfectly straight reference for our first row. The half-inch gap left between the floor and the wall will give the flooring room for expansion as humidity changes.

The first board's in place. Now we can just go ahead and continue this line down through here?
JOHN KLEPP EDGE:
Yes.
RON HAZELTON:
So these ends actually then interlock.
JOHN KLEPP EDGE:
They engage.
RON HAZELTON:
Engage, that's always a good word.
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
So that's our second strip right there, right?
JOHN KLEPP EDGE:
And we're going to need to mark around that pipe so we can cut that out.
RON HAZELTON:
I use a combination square to transfer the pipe location to the board, then cut out the notch with a jigsaw. I cut a strip of flooring to finish out the first row and nail it in place. On the second row, an air conditioning vent is the challenge.

I mark the location on a piece of flooring and again use the jigsaw to cut out the shape, then more nailing.

Now while this flooring could be glued down if we were working on concrete because we've got a plywood subfloor here, we're stapling this in using this special staple gun. It has a base or a foot on here that holds the gun at precisely the right angle, about 45 degrees.

It's driving that staple through at the base of the tongue. Let me show you here. See, and it's the angle of the staple as well as the staple itself that's actually holding this flooring in so well. And then when we assemble the next one, the groove just covers that staple completely and disappears.

Now what that means is, like 3/4 inch solid flooring, you have no visible fasteners on the surface, they're all hidden in the joinery. Several boxes of flooring are dumped out and scrambled together so the grain patterns and colors will be intermixed like shuffling a deck of cards.

With the basics under my belt, I get to work in earnest. Well, my industriousness and attention to detail are paying off. The new floor is beginning to take shape. The pace is quickening now, I am really in the groove.
[MUSIC]
Yep, I'm getting somewhere, all right.

Well, it's been hard work but I definitely have made some progress here. Right now though, I'm running into a little bit of a situation. You see, I'm coming up onto this door casing right here and while it would be possible to cut this around the casing, it wouldn't be a very neat job and it's a lot of extra work.

So instead, I'm going to do something called undercutting and that involves taking a couple of scrap pieces of material like this and actually making a saw cut right around here.
[DOORBELL RINGS]
You here to put in the floor? What is this, more flooring?
MAN:
I'm sorry, I speak a little English.
RON HAZELTON:
Little English, oh. It's not flooring at all. It's lunch. Okay, great. Thank you very much. Now a guy can't toil on an empty stomach. Well, it's back to work. Well, that's a long job. I'm getting there though. Just a little bit more to go.

The final touch? Installing strips of quarter-round molding around the edges to conceal that expansion gap. Well, take a look. Not a bad day's work, huh?
LYNN:
Oh, my God, you're doing the dishes?
RON HAZELTON:
Can you believe it, huh? I'll do anything to be in this room now. I love these floors.

LYNN:
I know. They look -- they look so good - looks better than I even imagined, really.
RON HAZELTON:
You're right. I give you credit. And though they look great, they're tough.
LYNN:
They're tough?
RON HAZELTON:
Mm-hmm [AFFIRMATIVE]. They're tough enough for a dance. What do you say?
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
LYNN:
[LAUGHS] Oh, my God.
RON HAZELTON:
Remember the old days, huh? Remember --remember the wedding?
LYNN:
Oh, yeah --

RON HAZELTON:
Remember, remember the wedding [   ?  ] get ready?
LYNN:
Oh, yes. [LAUGHS]
[RON HUMS]
[LAUGHS] I think I'm putting tile back. [LAUGHS] Okay, stop -- I'm going upstairs now.
RON HAZELTON:
Want to dance?

Install Durable and Warranted Pre-finished Hardwood Flooring in Your Kitchen Using Tongue and Groove Joinery for Row-by-row Construction

Think again if you imagine a pre-finished hardware flooring installation is not durable enough to withstand kitchen traffic, children's toys and pets. Today's pre-finished hardwood flooring systems may offer 25-year finish warranties and lifetime structural warranties--not to mention tools, techniques and interlocking tongue and groove joinery that make DIY installation a snap.

Research Available Pre-finished Hardwood Flooring Systems on the Internet
Step 1

Research Available Pre-finished Hardwood Flooring Systems on the Internet

Investigate pre-finished hardwood flooring products on the Internet and at your home improvement store before deciding for or against its use in the kitchen. Many manufacturers offer long-term warranties according to the pricing and quality rating of their products.

Prepare Yourself, Your Tools and Your Kitchen to Control Dust
Step 2

Prepare Yourself, Your Tools and Your Kitchen to Control Dust

Lift wooden thresholds prior to sealing kitchen doorways and cabinetry with plastic and tape to control dust. Position a fan to draw dust out the open window. Wear a dust mask and install a vacuum bag on your circular saw.

Cut Tile Grout Seams and Underlayment with Circular Saw
Step 3

Cut Tile Grout Seams and Underlayment with Circular Saw

Cut tile grout seams with a diamond-tipped blade intended for cutting stone and masonry. Adjust the saw blade depth to cut only through grout and the first wooden under layer. Pry up the plywood underlayment, removing it with the tiles.

Store the Hardwood Flooring in the Kitchen for Several Days
Step 4

Store the Hardwood Flooring in the Kitchen for Several Days

Open and store the pre-finished hardwood flooring in the kitchen three to four days before beginning the installation. The product should acclimate to the same temperature and moisture content as the subfloor in the environment where you will install it.

Start Installing the Pre-Finished Hardwood Flooring at an Exterior Wall
Step 5

Start Installing the Pre-Finished Hardwood Flooring at an Exterior Wall

Snap a chalk line about 3 inches from as exterior wall--that is the width of the plank plus a 1/2 inch expansion gap. Align the plank on the chalk line and nail it along the outer edge.

Notch around Obstacles and Interlock Planks at the Ends
Step 6

Notch around Obstacles and Interlock Planks at the Ends

Mark cut lines on planks in correct locations and dimensions of obstacles such as pipes and air vents. Notch along the cut lines with a jigsaw. Fit planks together with interlocking tongue and groove joints.

Using a Special Hardwood Flooring Stapler on the Remaining Rows
Step 7

Using a Special Hardwood Flooring Stapler on the Remaining Rows

Fit the groove of the next pre-finished hardwood flooring plank over the tongue portion of the previous row. Secure it with a special stapler that positions itself against the tongue edge to drive in a staple at the correct angle.

Stagger Planks with obvious Grain Patterns and Colors
Step 8

Stagger Planks with obvious Grain Patterns and Colors

Remove all planks from their cartons and lay them out on the floor to mix their colors and grain patterns prior to installation. Stagger planks with noticeable variations so they blend rather than standing out in an eye-catching group.

Undercut Door Casings and Install the Planks underneath
Step 9

Undercut Door Casings and Install the Planks underneath

Undercut door casings enough to install the planks underneath. Rest a side saw on a scrap hardwood plank to achieve the correct elevation and cut away the casing. Notch the planks to be installed, slide them beneath and secure them.

Install Strips of Quarter-round Molding over the Expansion Gap
Step 10

Install Strips of Quarter-round Molding over the Expansion Gap

Install or reinstall strips of quarter-round molding along the floor at the bottom of the cabinets and baseboards when the pre-finished hardwood flooring installation is complete. The molding will hide the expansion gap left around the perimeter.