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Flooring 101 Home Solid Hardwood Flooring Installation Unfinished Solid Hardwood Installation Instructions

Unfinished Solid Hardwood Installation Instructions








The flooring manufacture denies any responsibility for problems beyond its control such as but not limited to; job-site and subfloor conditions, improper storage, environmental or moisture related issues, installation and improper tool usage, surface dimpling, shading. See warranty for full details. Comply with your local or International Residential Codes (IRC). We encourage you to please read these instructions and ask questions before installation.            


APPLICATIONS     Nail/Glue/Float

These unfinished solid wood domestic products are typically installed using standard flooring nailers or staplers. While Professional installers may have their own personal preferences, both types work well. The harder, denser exotics tend to nail more efficiently using thinner 18ga cleat nails. Some species will tend to be very hard while others can be somewhat brittle during nailing. These are natural variations and characteristics within species that can affect time and workability, not considered a manufacture defect. Our solid wood floors can be glued down to concrete using a recommended Bostik or Mapei moisture barrier adhesive. Our flooring can also be installed as a floating floor over concrete when using the Elastilon  Underlayment Installation System and a 6mil plastic moisture barrier, This flooring is not intended for below-grade or radiant heat applications, engineered or laminate floating floors (flooring not attached to the substrate) are most recommended. Approved underlayments can be applied under this flooring to meet the needs of customers, building specifiers and condominium associations desiring a quieter and warmer floor (see underlayment section).



It is understood that wood products are sensitive to moisture, temperature and humidity, therefore store your new flooring inside in the area to be installed not in unclimatized buildings, garages, sheds, directly on bare concrete or next to outside walls. It is important to keep wood flooring dry, protect the flooring from rain or snow during transportation. Lay the flooring flat in a dry level place. Provide air flow under and around cartons. Cartons should be placed close to the center of the installation area as possible. Keep out of direct sunlight and away from heat/air vents. To prevent board warping, twisting or bowing do not cut the plastic support packaged bindings or remove product from the packaging until ready to install. SEE ACCLIMATION DETAILS


Wood flooring is a product of nature characterized by distinctive variations in grain, pattern, and color. These natural variations are neither flaws or defects, but rather the natural beauty and uniqueness of wood, and should be expected. Only stained products will have the most uniformity in color or shade. Before beginning the installation first determine if the job site and subfloor conditions are acceptable. The in-home environment, weather fluctuations and product storage can adversely affect all organic materials (see acclimation). The customer/installer is responsible for final inspection of quality, and for moisture testing the subfloor and wood flooring. During installation, use reasonable board selectivity and good judgment. From a standing position any individual board deemed unacceptable in appearance should not be used. Defects should be cut off placing the remainder in closets or near walls. To minimize gapping, boards of similar widths should be placed together in the same row. Most manufacturers and distributors agree that a reasonable amount of installed flooring (up to 25% or 100sqft) whichever is less is enough to determine acceptance of quality. Because use constitutes acceptance, once the flooring is completely installed it is deemed appropriate for use by all parties concerned. If milling or quality issues are suspected stop the installation and call CUSTOMER CARE  800-366-4204 immediately. The manufacturer shall not be responsible for costs associated with repairing or replacing flooring installed with visible defects. Our floors are manufactured in accordance with accepted industry standards that may allow possible defects not to exceed 5%. Depending on layout, board selection and species, about 5%-8% of additional material should be included in an actual order to complete the project. Custom installations, diagonal layouts and certain species may require an additional 10%-15%. The use of putty, stains, wood blend sticks or markers to touch-up prefinished flooring before, during and after installation is considered normal practice         


The yard around the work space should be graded to allow water to run away from the building. The building must be enclosed. The crawl space or basement must be dry. Crawl space should be a minimum 18" from the ground to the underside of the joist. To prevent moisture related issues such as buckling or cupping, all wet trades involving water or moisture (plumbing, ceramic tiles, drywall finishes, painting, etc.) should be finished with ample time allowed for complete drying prior to wood floor installation. Gutters should be in place and function properly to direct water away from the foundation. For best performance, wood flooring should be one of the last items installed. (HVAC) Heating, Ventilation and or Air conditioning systems should be fully operating and running with temperature between 60F and 80F, with humidity between 30% and 50%, at least 5 days before delivery. NOTE; Some regions of the country are moderate in both temperatures and humidity, homes in these regions may not have typical (HVAC) Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning systems to regulate the indoor environment, therefore in this and in all cases, it is the flooring professional or homeowner's responsibility to determine if the indoor environment or moisture content of the wood flooring is suitable or not for installation and its on-going maintenance.



VENTILATED CRAWL SPACES   Per; (IRC) International Residential Code, Section R408.1      

Inspect the under-floor crawl space it must have vents for proper cross-ventilation (pic1). Venting allows damp areas to dry-out, reducing the likelihood on mild growth, and to minimize moisture pressure or build-up under homes. Provide year-round air circulation with multiple vents, a minimum of 1 square foot for each 150 square feet of under-floor space area. One ventilating opening shall be within 3 feet of each corner. Ventilation fans can be used in the crawl space area to circulate the air, promote drying and reduce dead air spaces. (Exception R408.2; "Where warranted by climatic conditions, ventilation openings to the outdoors are not required If, ventilation/conditioned openings to the homes interior are provided.") Ground cover; under the home in the crawlspace completely cover 100% of the soil to guard against ground moisture, use black 6-mil virgin polyethylene sheet plastic as a moisture vapor barrier. Overlap plastic seams 6" and duct tape seams completely.

(pic. 1)


After harvesting, wood flooring is kiln-dried for optimum service. During transit, delivery and storage, wood flooring must be protected from moisture. Wood is hygroscopic, meaning its size and shape changes with the absorption or release of moisture. The amount of change varies with wood species, cut, and type of flooring. Therefore, wood movement (shrinkage or expansion) is to be properly controlled and achieved at the work-site. First, acclimate the new flooring in the areas to be installed to the expected environment that the floor will service while in the boxes. If products are packaged in plastic, remove the plastic wrapping from the outside of the boxes to speed up the acclimation process increasing air-flow. The length of acclimation time is not the determining factor. The goal is to reach a moisture balance between the new flooring and its normal indoor surroundings before assembly, fastening or installation. Extended conditioning is not unusual for exotic species having natural oils or for very dense species like Brazilian Teak, Brazilian Cherry, and Mahogany, Rosewood, Redwood, Brazilian Walnut and others. For best performance, condition and maintain the flooring to consistent indoor temperatures of 60°-80° F and indoor humidity levels of 30% - 50%, before, during and after installation. Depending on your local conditions the use of a dehumidifier or a humidifier may be necessary to maintain the desired results. Very dry or humid regions of the country usually require extended conditioning to balance the wood to the environment it will service. Proper jobsite conditions, acclimation, moisture testing of the subfloor and new flooring all work together for the success of the installation, and is the responsibility of those overseeing the project. Not following the above recommendations can negatively impact board performance and can result in excessive movement, squeaks, board gapping, board-edge cupping, finish splits and other related issues. This is especially true regarding flooring placed in seasonal or vacation homes without proper ventilation and climate conditions.


The map of the United States below shows the average moisture content of interior wood products for each state/region (see moisture testing). The first number indicates the average moisture content of wood in January (winter - lower humidity months), and the second number indicates the average moisture content in July (summer - higher humidity months). To calculate what the optimal average wood moisture content is add the high season and low season together, then divide by two. Example: If your region has an expected low of 6% to a high of 12%, the average baseline moisture content of the wood would be 9%. When wood flooring has achieved the average in moisture content for the geographical location and the proper relative humidity conditions are present the installation can begin. If the moisture content of the product is outside of the average moisture content of that region, extended acclimation time would be needed. This map is merely a helpful guide for installation, actual moisture content in any location may differ significantly from these numbers. Ideal interior environmental conditions will vary from region to region and jobsite to jobsite, therefore the most reliable moisture-content numbers will be obtained using a moisture meter to determine the moisture content of the new wood flooring in relation to the subfloor. NOTE; Some regions of the country are moderate in both temperatures and humidity, homes in these regions may not have typical (HVAC) Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning systems to regulate the indoor environment, therefore in this and in all cases, it is the flooring professional or homeowner's responsibility to determine if the indoor environment or moisture content of the wood flooring is suitable or not for installation and its on-going maintenance.



Optimum Flooring Moisture Content (%) by U.S. Region     


The effects of Temperatures and Humidity on wood flooring                                                                                                                        

It is understood that wood products are sensitive to moisture, temperature and humidity. Refer to the chart below to better understand the best in-home environmental relationship between relative humidity (RH) and temperature, and its effects on wood moisture content (%). Refer to the current weather conditions in your area; find the combination of temperature and RH on the chart (temperature variations are listed on the left side of the chart, humidity variations are listed along the bottom) Note the values within chart's shaded area represents the ideal wood moisture content of 6-9% and is optimal for maximum wood flooring stability. For environments outside of this range allow more time for acclimation. Depending on your local in-home conditions, the use of humidification/dehumidification equipment may be recommended to maintain the proper in-home environment.



Note: Wood products properly acclimated and maintained to consistent temperatures of 60°-80° F and humidity 30% - 50% will become relatively dormant, less likely to shrink or expand. Wood flooring kept outside these recommended values may result in dimensional or structural distortion, warping, excessive expansion, shrinkage and board or subfloor squeaking, popping noises. Acclimation is the responsibility of the installer and or homeowner.

GENERAL INFORMATION - all installations           

  • Install flooring in normal proper lighting.

  • Save a box of flooring for future repairs. 

  • Do not install in full bathrooms or areas with steam.

  • Inspect subfloor for flatness, squeaks, and moisture.

  • Do not install this product over radiant heat systems

  • Do not install this product below-grade or in basements.

  • Avoid board grouping, board sizes should be intermingled.   

  • Use breathable materials like paper when protecting a newly installed floor.

  • Inspect flooring during installation, select out boards have milling and finish defects.

  • The customer is advised to be home during the installation for consultation/direction.

  • Customer and installer should discuss installation and layout to maximize satisfaction.

  • It is helpful to save the item number found on the packaging box ends for future references. 

  • Jobsite subfloors can be dry today and wet tomorrow the use of moisture barriers is highly recommended.

  • Floor should be installed from several cartons at the same time to ensure good color, shade and appearance. 

  • An Expansion space must be left around the perimeter and at all vertical obstructions. This space is normally the same as the thickness of the new flooring. For example; 1/2" flooring requires 1/2" expansion.



  •    Pencil
  •    Chalk line
  •    6' level
  •    Miter saw
  •    Table saw
  •    60 tooth carbide tip saw blades
  •    Broom
  •    Jamb saw
  •    Eye protection
  •    Ear protection
  •    Niosh Dust Mask
  •    Gloves  

  •    Floor fasteners
  •    Hygrometer (test home temperature and humidity)
  •    Blue painters tape (2080)
  •    PVA wood glue
  •    Compressor with regulator
  •    Drill
  •    Drill bit set
  •    Hammer
  •    Nail set
  •    Moisture meter (wood)
  •    Calcium chloride moisture test (concrete)
  •     Cloth rags
  • 18ga Norge floor Nailer         


    MOISTURE TESTING subfloor and new floor

    [CAUTION]    Most wood flooring failures result from jobsite moisture. Do not unpack or deliver flooring to the jobsite until moisture problems are corrected. The goal of moisture testing is two-fold. (1) To determine when the installation can begin and (2) to verify that proper moisture balance between the new floor boards and that of the existing subfloor has been achieved. After thoroughly testing both the subfloor and the flooring, be sure that the moisture content of both doesn't differ by more than 4% for strip flooring (boards 2 ¼" or less) and 2% for plank flooring (3" or wider). Verify by using a moisture meter that will have individual species settings (pic1). Pin or probe meters that have adjustable species settings are most accurate. Contact the meter manufacturer directly for your alternate or substitute species settings.  Meter examples; (Tramex, Ligno-DX/C, or Delmhorst). 


    (pic. 1)        

    Testing the subfloor. Set the meter to the type of subfloor. Obtain an average by meter testing the subfloor (10 locations per every 500sqft). Test around exterior doorways, near plumbing and foundation walls and in the center of the room. On average, the subfloor moisture range must not exceed 12%.

    Test the new flooring. Set the meter to the proper wood species. Obtain an average reading by testing (20 boards out of every 500sqft) of new flooring. Our flooring can have acceptable moisture range between 6% and 12% with no more than 5% variance up to 14%. If high moisture readings are found in either the new floor or subfloor identify the moisture source and correct, extend acclimation time and circulate the air increasing ventilation. Postpone the installation until the proper conditions have been met. It is recommended to document moisture test results with notes should future questions arise such as; a record of the customer's name, the order number and digital pictures showing the meter actually being used, including the time and date.    

    Wood subfloors      

    All wood subfloor components must not exceed 12% percent moisture content.

    Do not install flooring directly over floor joist without subflooring. Subfloors provide strength and a proper nailing base.

    Install subflooring sealed-side down. Square-edged or non-tongue and grooved panels used as a subfloor will require a minimum 1/8˝ (3 mm) expansion space placed between all plywood seams. Panels must meet minimum CD grade Exposure 1 and US Voluntary Product Standard PS1-95, PS2-04 or Canadian performance standard CAN/CSA 0325-0-92 for construction sheathing. Check panel/supplier for codes.

    Solid board planks used for subflooring should be ¾" x 5 1/2" (1" x 6" nominal), Group 1 dense softwoods, No. 2 Common

    See acceptable subfloor types on the last page of these instructions.

    -Particleboard, Luan or Masonite: is not recommended for nailing solid wood, remove and replace with minimum recommended subfloor material to meet minimum thickness requirements or cover with 3/8" plywood underlayment.

    -Minimum of 3/8˝CD panel thickness is recommended when used as an underlayment when needed.

    -Avoid pressure treated plywood for interior use. These can have elevated moisture or latent with rot resistant chemicals.

    Note that joist spacing determines minimum subfloor thickness.

    Joist spacing 16" (oc) on center or less

    -Plywood: Minimum of (5/8˝, 19/32)   Oriented Strand Board (OSB): minimum (3/4˝, 23/32") Advantech minimum (3/4˝, 23/32")

    Joist spacing 16" up to 19.2" (oc)

    -Plywood: Minimum of (3/4˝, 23/32")   Oriented Strand Board (OSB): minimum of (3/4˝, 23/32")

    Joist spacing over 19.2"up to maximum 24" (oc

    P-lywood: Minimum of (7/8")   Oriented Strand Board (OSB): Minimum of (1") or two layers of subflooring or brace between truss/joists in accordance with local building codes.

    Wood floor orientation

    • Nail wood flooring perpendicular to the floor joist.

    • Nailing wood flooring parallel to the floor joist is an option using a combination of plywood, OSB, Advantech or similar approved subfloors.

           Floor joist (16" to 19.2 oc) The total subfloor thickness minimum must be 1-1/4"

           Floor joist (19.2 to 24"oc) The total subfloor thickness minimum must be 1-7/16"

      When nailing over existing solid wood tongue and groove flooring, install over an additional 3/8" plywood or run the new floor perpendicular or at a 45 degree angle to the direction of the existing flooring.



    All subfloors should be flat to within 3/16" in 10 feet or 1/8" in 6 feet radius. Wood subfloors must be securely nailed or screwed to joists to minimize movement or squeaks. Install over 16"minimum center-to-center joist sub-structure. Thoroughly inspect and replace existing floor or subfloor that shows evidence of water damage or structural weakness. Repair any sagging or loose sections of a wood subflooring. Squeaky or loose boards should be re-secured. An uneven or cupped subfloor can be an indication of excess moisture or rot, identify and correct. High spots/joist may be sanded down. Low spots should be cut out and repaired or may be filled with old pieces of firm vinyl or build up with 30 lb. black roofing paper. Do not fill-in low areas under naildown flooring with cement patching materials as these may break down over time.

    New construction; It is the builder's or general contractor's responsibility to provide the wood flooring contractor with a subfloor that is within the tolerances listed above. Postpone the installation until corrections have been completed.

    CAUTION: Do not sand any surfaces containing lead based paints, finishes, or asbestos.
    For buildings built in 1978 and earlier, contact the EPA for lead based testing prior to any sanding ( ).

    New construction ; It is the builder's or general contractor's responsibility to provide the wood-flooring contractor with a subfloor that is within the tolerances listed above. Postpone the installation until corrections have been completed


    A Floating Subfloor System over concrete (not attached to the subfloor)

    • Concrete should be flat to within 1/8" over 6' or 3/16" over 10'

    • Install Dream Home 6 mil poly sheeting completely covering the concrete overlap seams 6" and duct tape.

    • Minimum two layers of 1/2" minimum CD Exposure 1 Plywood subfloor panels (CDX) 4' x 8' sheets.

    • Square-edged plywood panels should be placed with 1/8" gaps between sheets and a ¾" minimum expansion space at all vertical obstructions and wall lines.

    • Place the first plywood layer with edges parallel to wall, without fastening. Leave ¾" space between wall and plywood.

    • Lay the second layer perpendicular or at 45 degree angle to the first.

    •  Screw and glue (with urethane or construction adhesive) the second layer to first layer on 12" interior grid pattern (6" on the perimeter). Be careful not to penetrate the vapor retarder.

    • Use fasteners long enough to secure the flooring to the subfloor and not penetrate the vapor retarder.

  • Nail-Down Subfloor System over Concrete (attached to the subfloor)  

    • Use minimum ¾" (23/32, 18.3mm) CD Exposure 1 Plywood subfloor panels (CDX), 4' x 8' sheets.

    • Concrete compressive strength must equal 3000 psi or better.

    • Concrete should be flat to within 1/8" over 6' or 3/16" over 10'.

    • Install Dream Home 6 mil virgin poly sheeting completely covering the concrete overlap seams 6" and duct tape.

    • Note: Fasteners may be powderdriven pins, pneumatic driven nails, or other fasteners suitable for concrete application. Check with fastener manufacturer for specification such as length, drill size, and/or shot load where applicable.

    •  Stagger panel joints allowing approximately 1/8" expansion space around all panels to prevent edge peaking due to compression caused by panel swell.

    • Allow ¾" minimum expansion space at all vertical obstructions.

    • Panels should be mechanically fastened. For powder load or pneumatic pressure information, contact the manufacture.

    • Nailing requirements, minimum 32 shots per 4' x 8' panel.

    • Areas with higher humidity may require additional fasteners.

    • Use 1-1/2" long fasteners when nailing ¾" flooring to this subfloor.


  • Glue-Down Subfloor System over Concrete (attached to the subfloor)

    • Follow the adhesive manufacturers recommendations for type of adhesive, floor prep, moisture barrier and trowel size

    • Concrete compressive strength must equal 3000 psi or better.

    • Concrete should be flat to within 1/8" over 6' or 3/16" over 10'.

    • Use minimum ¾" (23/32, 18.3mm) CD Exposure 1 Plywood subfloor panels (CDX), 4' x 8' sheets.

    • Cut 4' x 8' sheets into (4) 12"x8' planks

    • Place 12"x8' planks into wet adhesive, stager joints min 12" allow planks to fully bond/cure before wood installation.


    Nailing tips

    Tongue fracture and surface dimpling is not a manufacturer defect and can be minimized by; Installing the flooring in proper lighting, using the correct nail thickness or gauge, using the recommended shoe adaptor, or changing the height/angle of nail entry.

    1    To further reduce the occurrence of surface dimpling and tongue fracture the use of thinner 18 gage cleat nails is recommended especially for harder exotic floors, but is no guarantee to prevent all surface dimples. In addition, many installers will sometimes adjust the nailer angle temporarily by applying layers of duct tape to the bottom nailer foot plate. The use of an over-size base or foot plate to distribute the nailing force is encouraged. If however, surface dimpling still occurs, pre-drill and hand nail the flooring using a 3/32" drill bit and 6d steel finish nails. (pic 1) Low profile products can be directly glued to the subfloor using our recommended flooring adhesive. (See Glue down section).

    2    Use caution when using staples on exotic flooring. Staples may increase the risk for tongue fracture and surface dimples. Do not mix fasteners when nailing. Staples and cleats hold differently when mixed can result in irregular fastening and or may allow excessive movement. When face or top nailing, pre-drilling is recommended. Pick areas of the grain or pattern that would best hide touch-up fillers.

    3    Do not use significantly bowed, crooked or twisted boards. Use a wood spline or slip tongue whenever a change in board direction is needed. Splines should be glued with PVA wood glue and nailed into place. Forcing or pounding floor boards together with a rubber mallet during assembly can bruise or damage factory finished board edges.

    4    Installers can choose to glue and nail down solid wide planks (>3" ), when gluing and nailing over wood subfloors follow recommended nailing schedule and use an approved solid wood floor adhesives. This method can help to minimize expansion and contraction in wide planks. When using this method we recommend full spreading the adhesive.

    (pic 1).

    When using air compressors

    Adjust the regulator to ensure proper air pressure and setting of fasteners. Set air compressor to 70-80 PSI, test the nailer. Do not exceed the nailer or air hose limitations. Make sure that the fastening machine is recommended for the floor, is in good working condition, is fully adjustable, is at the appropriate angle and that it seats fasteners properly against the tongue of the board to prevent top edge and surface dimple damage.

    Cleat nails









    Norge 18 gauge floor nailer

    18 gauge cleats

    1-1/2" to 1-3/4"

    1/2" up to 5/8"

    Norge 18 gauge floor nailer

    18 gauge cleats

    1-1/2" to 1-3/4"


    Norge 18 gauge floor nailer

    18 gauge cleats

    1-1/4" to 1-1/2"


    Powernail 200 gauge nailer

    20 gauge cleats





    3/4" less than 3" wide

    Place fasteners 1" to 3" from ends and every 8" to 10" apart. Minimum 2 fasteners per board.

    3/4" x 3" wide or wider

    Place fasteners 1" to 3" from ends and 6" to 8" apart. Minimum 2 fasteners per board.

    1/2" x 2" or wider

    Place fasteners 1" to 3" from ends and every 8" to 10" apart. Minimum 2 fasteners per board.

    3/8" x 2" or wider

    Place fasteners 1" to 3" from ends and every 8" apart. Minimum 2 fasteners per board.

    5/16" x 2" or wider

    Place fasteners 1" to 2" from ends and 3" to 4" apart for staples or 4" to 6" apart for cleats. Minimum 2 fasteners per board.



    Nail flooring in good lighting. Make adjustments as needed. Up to (25% or 100sqft) of installed flooring whichever is less is enough to determine acceptance of quality.  If satisfied, continue with the installation. When top nailing pre-finished flooring (the first and last rows, stair treads, and risers) it is recommended to pre-drill and hand nail using a 3/32" drill bit and 6d finish nails. Although pneumatic finish nailers are faster, improper use can easily damage the board or finishes. When installing over crawl spaces or rooms over basements use 15 lb. black felt paper, Black asphalt saturated Kraft paper, or white Silicon Vapor Shield® as a minimum to provide protection against moisture vapors (see a list of all Approved Underlayments on last page). Install underlayment parallel to the new flooring. When installing over wood subfloors, install the new flooring perpendicular to the floor joist. (See WOOD SUBFLOORS)


    Use a jamb saw (manual or powered) to undercut all door jambs/casing to allow enough clearance for the wood flooring to easily slide underneath. A gap (business card thick) between the top of the wood flooring and bottom of the door jamb is acceptable. Sand down any high spots or high subfloor seams. Correct low spots (See subfloor prep). Sweep or vacuum the subfloor clean of dust and debris. Install moisture retardant underlayment, and staple it down to prevent movement/sliding.


  •    Determine the starting wall, usually the longest or outside foundation wall. At the two opposite ends of this wall, measure out the width of the board, plus the expansion space, and place a mark. (do not include the tongue of the board when measuring). An Expansion gap or space must be left around the perimeter and at all vertical obstructions. This space is normally the same as the thickness of the new flooring, for example; 1/2" flooring requires 1/2" expansion gap.
  •    Snap a chalk line connecting the two marks. Align the tongue side of the first row of boards on the chalk line with the groove side towards the starting wall, maintain the expansion space.
  •    Install the flooring with the tongue side facing away from the starting wall (Use long straight planks for first two rows). Nail on the tongue side of the flooring. (see picture)
  •    Pre-drill and top nail the first row of boards using a 3/32" drill bit and 6d finishing nails about an 1" from the back edge. Countersink the finish nail using a nail punch and fill with close matching wood filler. Pre-drill and blind nail the 2 nd and 3 rd  rows using 6d finish nails above the board tongue until nailing machines can be used. (set finish nails with a nail punch).


    After installation of the first three rows, loose lay about 100sqft of flooring about 4" or 5" away from the last secured row. Pull from several boxes to mix board color and sizes to create a random look. Visually inspect flooring for defects while racking. Stagger boards randomly as possible, avoid creating patterns. See picture for proper layout guidance.

    (pic. 1) Staggering board randomly adds strength to the total floor

    (pic. 2) Avoid "stair step" and "H" patterns, or lining-up or spacing board-ends closer than 6"

    STEP 3:    

  • After laying-out or racking 100sqft of flooring begin nailing the floor using a hardwood flooring nailer (See nailer recommendations). Visually inspect board for defects while nailing. Use proper fastener spacing (See fastener spacing). Continue nailing until you get to the last one or two rows. The first and lasts few rows usually need to be top nailed. Pre-drill using a 3/32" drill bit and use 6d finishing nails.
  • The last row may have to be ripped down in width to fit. If the last row is less than 1" in width use a PVA carpenters wood glue to join the last piece to the previous row.

  • Fill in nail holes and minor gaps with close matching wood filler.
  • Install any base board molding and shoe molding
  • Install transition moldings
  • Clean floor using the Bellwood cleaner
  • Use felt pads under furniture legs
  • Protect against moving appliances and heavy furniture.

    [CAUTION] Most installation failures result from jobsite moisture.

    Follow the adhesive manufacturer's recommendations can prevent installation failure and maintain your warranty     

    Do not unpack or deliver flooring to the jobsite until moisture problems are corrected. Note that flooring adhesives may have special requirements and limitations of use. Follow closely the adhesive labeling instructions and adhesive Technical Data Sheet pertaining to moisture testing procedures, moisture barriers, and trowel size recommendations. Depending on the selection and application of a particular adhesive, you may be required to use moisture barriers. Adhesive Technical Data Sheets can be found on the adhesive manufacture's website. When in doubt about an adhesive application or requirement call the adhesive manufacturer.


  •    Place saw equipment outside in an area where they can be reached without having to walk across the flooring
  •    Install the flooring parallel to the longest wall or foundation wall in the room. Keep the flooring straight using a chalk line
  •    Select flooring from several cartons to mix color, grain and shade.
  •    Discard twisted or warped boards.
  •    Do not mix adhesive products or glue to concrete sealers
  •    Follow the glue manufacturer's labeling instructions regarding adhesive set time, correct trowel size, removal of surface sealers or contaminates and use of moisture barriers
  •    Glue manufacture may or may not require rolling the floor throughout installation to ensure glue transfer, refer to adhesive labeling instructions.
  •    Apply adhesive perpendicular to the direction of the flooring to achieve the best adhesive transfer to the back of the flooring.
  •    Check adhesive bucket for proper trowel size and spread rate recommendations. Typically, trowel size is determined by board type, size and surface texture.
  •    Use the trowel size recommended by the adhesive company to get required spread rate and ridging height. Typically, trowel size is determined by board type, size and surface texture. Check adhesive bucket for trowel size recommendations.
  •    During constant use trowel teeth will wear down, for best glue coverage use a new trowel with each new container of adhesive.
  •    Blue painter tape #2080 can be used to keep rows or sections of floor boards together until the adhesive has cured.
  •    (Incorrect or aggressive tape can harm the finish, do not leave on overnight) Tape 4 or 5 board rows together during installation.
  •    Many installers choose to use straps or clamps in an effort to force board rows tighter together during installation. Be advised that over-strapping can adversely affect the floor and may result in glue-bond failure, seam peaking, twisted boards or out-ofsquare floor board alignment.

    See acceptable subfloor types on the last page of these instructions. Always follow the adhesive manufacturer's guidelines for acceptable wood substrates for Glue-Down applications. Do not glue directly over unsuitable substrates such as but not limited to; particleboard, Luan, Masonite, adhesive residue, exterior grade plywood, pressboard, solid-board subflooring, strip hardwood flooring, cement board. These types of substrates are approved for floating installations only, and must be covered with a minimum of 3/8˝CDX plywood underlayment when gluing or nailing this product to the subfloor.

    Concrete substrates must free of surface sealers or contaminates.

    Because concrete generally takes 15 days to dry for every 1 inch (25 mm) of thickness, the concrete must be between 60 to 90 days old prior to moisture testing/installation

    Moisture testing (Concrete Subfloors)

    Test concrete substrates in several locations for best averages. If test results show moisture vapor exceeds the maximum requirements for the adhesive do not install. Adhesives such as; Bostik UltraGrip and do not require Calcium Chloride testing over concrete prior to installation. Review the Technical Data Sheets of these products before application.

    Acceptable industry standards ASTM for moisture testing

    In-Situ Probe Method (ASTM F 2170): The Relative Humidity levels should not exceed 75%.

    Calcium Chloride Test (ASTM F 1869): The maximum vapor emissions cannot exceed 3lbs/1000SF in 24 hours.

    Concrete Moisture Meters; Tramex Encounter : Not acceptable as an industry standard.

    When using the Calcium Chloride Test (ASTM F-1869) three Calcium Chloride tests are needed for the first 1,000sqft. Add one additional test for each 1,000 square feet thereafter. For example a job of 3,000 sqft would require 5 Calcium Chloride tests to be performed. Results of 3lbs or less per 1000 sqft are considered dry and appropriate for wood installations. Use proper moisture barriers when concrete exceeds limits of use.

    Contact your local Lumber Liquidators for Calcium Chloride Test kits .

    Specific adhesive and moisture barrier products don't require Calcium Chloride testing.

    Flat concrete

  • A flat cement surface is very important when gluing down ridged solid wood. To minimize squeaks and gaps the final surface must be flat to within 1/8" in 6' radius or within 3/16" in 10' radius . Sand or grind down high spots. Fill valleys or low areas with cement based leveling compounds compatible with the flooring adhesives. Allow extra drying time for the leveling compounds. Concrete that is not properly leveled can cause improper adhesive transfer, hollow spots, and squeaks.

    Check Concrete for Sealers

  •    All paint, adhesives, dust, debris, and sealers must be removed from the concrete prior to gluing down solid wood flooring. To check for a sealer on the concrete spill a small cup size amount of water onto the concrete surface. If the water beads up, and does not soak into the concrete, a sealer is present. The sealer will have to be removed before continuing with the glue down installation of wood flooring. Check with adhesive manufacture for recommendations on sealer removal.

  •     CAUTION: Do not sand any surfaces containing lead based paints, finishes, or asbestos.

    For buildings built in 1978 and earlier, contact the EPA for lead based testing prior to any sanding ( ).


  • Our solid wood flooring has been fully tested and approved for use with Bostik and Mapei solid wood flooring adhesives.  Adhesives that have built-in moisture barriers are always recommended over concrete subfloors. Technical data sheets provide the most current guidelines for adhesive limitations, approved subfloors, approved flooring, subfloor prep, cure times, concrete moisture testing and limits and trowel sizes among other information. The Technical Data Sheets for these recommended adhesives can be found on the adhesive manufactures website or on Lumber Liquidators Flooring 101 section at .           

  • Technical Services (USA) 1-800- 992-6273, 1-800-876-2734, (Canada) 1-800-361- 9309  


  • Technical Services : 1-800-523-6530 1-800-726-7845    1-888-592-8558

  • [CAUTION]: Cured adhesive may cloud, chemically damage or etch the floor's finish.

    Clean wet adhesive from the surface of the floor frequently using the manufacturers recommended remover. Use clean towels, changing frequently to prevent haze and residue. Contact the adhesive manufacturer for their dried adhesive removal remedies


    Install in good lighting. Inspect the flooring often. Make adjustments as needed. If satisfied, continue with the installation. 100sqft of installed flooring is enough to verify quality or 20sqft for areas under 100sqft.

  •    Determine the starting wall, usually the longest wall. At the two opposite ends of this wall, measure out the width of 5 planks, add the expansion space to that measurement, and place a mark on the subfloor. (do not include the tongue and groove when measuring the width of the planks.)
  •    Next, use a chalk line to connect the two marks. Tack down furring wood strips along the straight chalk line. You can also use carpet tack strips. This will give you support to push your first row of flooring against. Use concrete nails when attaching the furring strips to concrete subfloors.
  •    Measure out from your first chalk line the width of 5 planks on each side, and pop another chalk line. This chalk line will run parallel to the first chalk line.
  •    Rack out 5 rows of flooring starting at the second chalk line. Be sure to pull from several flooring boxes at a time to mix color, while keeping proper seam stagger. (See loose lay/rack flooring Pic 1 install randomly)
  •    Using an approved trowel and wood flooring adhesive, spread the glue between the furring wood strips and second chalk line.
  •    Start placing the racked out flooring into the adhesive. If you're facing the starting wall, install the flooring left to right. The groove side of the planks should be facing away from the starting wall. Push the first row up tight against the furring wood strips.
  •    Progressively lay-in the next rows by inserting the tongue into the groove of the previous row at a 30 degree angle, then drop board into adhesive. Avoid dragging or sliding boards together as this can trap or squeeze glue up in between the boards creating gaps. Continue working 5 rows together. The last board in each row will need to be cut to fit.
  •    The balance of a board cut may be used to start a new row, discard lengths under 6". Avoid clustering of end joints. Stagger the ends of the boards correctly. A tapping block can be used to gently tap the boards into proper position. During installation, end gaps between board ends can be minimized by temporarily locking a completed row in place by using spacers placed between the first and the last board of each row, remove when glue has dried.
  •    Apply #2080 blue painters tape to the plank surface perpendicular to the installed floor. This is used to hold the planks together.
  •    Continue adding new chalk lines using the previous techniques. Spread adhesive and continue installing 5 rows at a time until job is complete. Tape planks together as needed to keep them from separating.
  •    Remove wet adhesive immediately using mineral spirits or the adhesive manufacturer's remover product.

  •    Most often, the entire length of the last row will need to be trimmed so that it is narrow enough to fit the remaining space. It should be glued and wedged with wood shims into place. Leave all spacers/shims in the expansion space until the adhesive has cured, then remove. Keep the floor free from foot traffic, until adhesive has cured.
  •    Go back to the starting wall and pull up the furring wood strip or carpet tack strip. Spread adhesive onto the subfloor, and install the last boards needed to finish the job. Install these boards right to left. Use wood shims between the wall and floor to keep the last few boards tight together. Blue painters tape #2080 can also be used.
  •    Do not to spread adhesive too far ahead of your work area. If the adhesive skins over and fails to transfer, remove and spread new adhesive to achieve proper bonding to the subfloor.
  •    Occasionally lift a board and check for adhesive transfer. Adequate adhesive transfer is necessary to ensure sufficient holding strength. Solid wood flooring planks must have 95% adhesive transfer to the back of the flooring planks.
  •    When not in use, keep the adhesive container tightly closed to prevent drying and difficulty in spreading the adhesive. Proper ventilation within the room should be provided. Follow the recommendations on the adhesive container.
  • Post-installation

  •    Remove blue painters tape after 8 to 10 hours being on the flooring.
  •    After installation, allow glue to fully cure for 24 hrs before replacing furniture and heavy foot traffic.
  •    Protect flooring before moving any heavy furniture or appliances. (damages from furniture and appliances are not covered)
  •    Fill in minor gaps with close matching wood filler
  •    Check for adhesive on floor finish and remove with appropriate adhesive manufacture remover.
  •    For best matching of sheen or milling save a box of flooring for future repairs.
  •    Clean flooring with the Bellawood Floor Care Kit or cleaning products safe for urethane finishes

    Flooring glued over an approved underlayment that is also glued to the subfloor                                      Approved underlayments -  Bellawood Platinum, Bellawood Premium, Eco Silent Sound, Insulayment, Cork. Allow the underlayment to fully cure before gluing wood flooring to the underlayment. Not all adhesives and underlayments are compatible contact Technical dept. for application details


    Flooring not attached to the subfloor                                                                                                           The Elastilon Underlayment Installation System allows the floating application of solid wood flooring over wood and concrete substrates. Not intended for below-grade applications. To maintain your warranty follow closely the Elastilon installation guidelines found on the Lumber Liquidators website.


  •    Acclimate wood moldings for best results.
  •    Use urethane adhesives to bond wood transitions to concrete subfloors.
  •    Install transition moldings directly to the subflooring.
  •    Attach wall base or quarter round moldings to the wall, never into the floor.
  •    Transition moldings should be predrilled to avoid splitting, use 6d finishing nails.
  •    Air tools are ideal for fastening moldings; use 16/18ga nailers for quarter round moldings and 15ga nailers for baseboards
  •    Adjust air tank pressure to minimize splitting.
  •    Carbide tipped saw blades makes the best cuts.
  •    Mitered cuts hide better when joining moldings.
  •    Be sure the saw blade rotation is positioned to cut into the finished face.
  •    The tool of choice for cutting hardwood moldings is a 10"/12" power miter saw with pre-set adjustments for the basic miter cuts at 22.5°, 45°, and 90°.
  • Applications:

    1)    Base Board - for hiding imperfections and adding a custom finish along any wall.

    2)    Quarter-Round - for covering the expansion left at walls and other fixed surfaces.

    3 & 6) Reducer Moldings - used to transition to lower floors.

    4)    Stair Nosing - for finishing the exposed edges of stairs and landings.

    5)    T-Expansion - for joining two areas of flooring of similar heights.

    7) End Cap - for finishing the space at sliding glass doors, at bath tubs or transitioning to carpet.

    HARDWOOD REPAIRS (Scratches, nicks, dents)

  • Minor white scratches can be touched up using Scratch-Awav or repaired with a wood stain marker. Nicks and dents can be filled with a wood blend stick or color wood putty . Major damage may require individual board replacements or up to 10% of the total installed floor. Board replacements are best accomplished by professional flooring installers.

    SEASONAL CHANGES What to expect (all installation methods)

    Seasonal gapping should be expected in all wood flooring and does not constitute a product failure.

    It is normal that wood floors will be affected by fluctuating levels of humidity within the building. Care should be taken to control humidity levels to within the 30-50% range and temperatures of 60°-80° F . To protect your investment and to assure that your floors provide lasting satisfaction, note recommendations below:

  •    (Dry) Heating Season - A humidifier may be needed to prevent excessive shrinkage in wood floors due to low humidity levels. Wood stoves, radiant floor heat and electric heat will create dryer conditions.
  •    (Humid, Wet) Non-Heating Season - Proper humidity levels can be maintained by use of an air conditioner or dehumidifier. Avoid excessive exposure to water during periods of inclement weather. Do not obstruct expansion joints around the perimeter of your floor.

    Do not install this product over radiant heat


    1.    Use a damp cloth to blot up spills as soon as they happen. Never allow liquids to stand on your floor.

    2.    For tough spots, such as oil, paint, markers, lipstick, ink, or tar apply mineral spirits on a clean white cloth, then wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.

    3.    Sweep , dust, or vacuum the floor regularly with a recommended hard floor attachment (not a beater bar) to prevent accumulation of dirt and grit that can scratch or dull the floor finish.

    4.    Do not use flood or wet mop the floor with soap, water, oil-soap detergent, or any other liquid household cleaning material. This could cause swelling, warping, delamination, joint-line separation and void the warranty.

    5.    Do not use steel wool, abrasive cleaners or strong ammoniated or chlorinated type cleaners.

    6.    Do not use buffing or polishing machines, these can generate heat or hot spots.

    7.    For spots such as candle wax or chewing gum, harden the spot with ice and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper, such as a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the flooring surface. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

    8.    A more frequent dust-mopping or vacuuming schedule may be required in very sandy areas such as a beach home.

    9.    Clean flooring with the Bellawood Floor Care Kit or cleaning products safe for urethane finishes


    1.    Entry mats made of natural fibers are recommended and will help collect the dirt, sand, grit, and other substances such as oil, asphalt, or driveway sealer that might otherwise be tracked onto your floor.

    2.    Do not use plastic foam backed mats as they may contain solvents harming the flooring finish. To prevent slippage, use an under  rug underlayment approved for urethane finishes.

    3.    Use floor protectors and wide-load bearing leg bases/ rollers to minimize indentations and scratches from heavy objects. As a rule, the heavier the object, the wider the floor protector.

    4.    Maintain a normal indoor relative humidity level between 30%-50% throughout the year to minimize the natural expansion and contraction of the wood.

    5.    Avoid excessive exposure to water during periods of inclement weather.

    6.    Do not walk on your floor with stiletto heels, shoes with sports cleats or exposed metal parts.

    7.    Do not allow sharp, pointed, or rough textured objects to be exposed to the hardwood flooring.

    8.    Keep pet nails trimmed to prevent scratching the floor.

    9.    UV sunlight will enhance -lighten or darken- the tone of different species of hardwood to varying degrees. Periodically rearranging your area rugs and furniture will allow the floor to antique or age evenly.

    10.    Use a dolly when moving heavy furniture or appliances; use a piece of quarter inch plywood or Masonite to protect the floor. Never try to slide or roll heavy objects across the floor.

    11.    A protective felt , pads or castors should be used for furniture, rubber wheels or protective mats for office chairs.

    12.    We do not endorse the use of hot steam cleaning machines on hard wood products, use at your own risk.

    13.    Toys and tools can scratch and dent the finishes, are site related and not warrantable.

    14.    If using the glue-down installation method, do not allow foot traffic or heavy furniture on floor for 24 hours.


    Depending on the application, our flooring can be installed (nailed, glued or floated) over an approved underlayment to meet the needs of customers, building specifiers and condominium associations desiring greater thermal insulation and sound isolation qualities. Note that when using an approved underlayment, pad or cushion there can always be slight movement, deflection or friction, squeaks or floor noise with any application. Floor noise is normal, to be expected and will vary from one installation type to the next or related to sub-floor type, flatness, deflection, and or related to the type of flooring material, species, the fasteners, relative humidity and the amount of topside pressure applied to the flooring. Therefore for these reasons floor noise is not considered a product or manufacturer defect.

    UNDERLAYMENTS (Nail down)

    White Silicon Vapor Shield® ,

    15 lb felt paper do not overlap seems under pre-finished flooring

    Black asphalt saturated Kraft paper overlap seams 2" to 4"

    Bellawood Platinum , install (film side up) Flooring minimum (>3/8"thickness)

    Bellawood Premium , install (film side up) Flooring minimum (>3/8"thickness)

    Eco Silent Sound , install (film side down) Flooring minimum (>3/8"thickness)

    Dream Home Insulayment , install (smooth side up) Flooring minimum (>3/8"thickness)

    Dream Home Cork (3mm), install (smooth side up) Flooring minimum (>3/8"thickness)

    Do not use plastic poly-sheeting over wood subfloors, wood components need to breathe

    (Glue down)

    Bellawood Platinum , install (film side up)

    Bellawood Premium , install (film side up)

    Eco Silent Sound install (film side down)

    Dream Home Insulavment , install (smooth side up)

    Dream Home Cork (3mm or 6mm) install (smooth side up)


    Use the Elastilon Underlayment System , (film side up). Flooring minimum (>3/8"thickness). Requires plastic poly-sheeting when placed over cement. Requires PVA wood glue be applied to the short ends. Not intended for below-grade installations.









    Use Elastilon


















    OSB 3/4" min (floor joist 16" oc)




    PLYWOOD 5/8" min (floor joist 16" oc)









































    Sawing, sanding and machining wood products can produce dust. Airborne wood dust can cause respiratory, eye and skin irritation. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified wood dust as a nasal carcinogen in humans.

    Precautionary Measures: Cut flooring outside. Equip power tools with dust collection. If high dust levels are encountered; use an appropriate NIOSH-designated dust mask. Avoid dust contact with eye and skin, USE EYE AND EAR PROTECTION .

    First Aid Measures in case of irritation: flush/rinse eyes or skin with water for at least 15 minutes.



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    Flooring 101 Home Solid Hardwood Flooring Installation Unfinished Solid Hardwood Installation Instructions