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The Pros and Cons of Installing Hardwood Floors Yourself

Hardwood floors are a great investment for any home. They can add to the beauty of your home, as well as the value. When homebuyers are looking to purchase a home, hardwood floors are also one of the top things that they look for. Not only that but when properly installed they have a durable, long-lasting appeal that you don’t get from other types of flooring.

Installing Hardwood Floors Yourself: A Look at the Benefits and Drawbacks

When you’ve decided to add hardwood flooring to your home, it’s important to consider many factors, from what type of flooring you need, to whether or not you can install it yourself or need to hire a professional. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of installing hardwood floors yourself.

Installation Methods

installing-hardwood-floors-equipmentThere are several different installation methods for hardwood floors, ranging from easy DIY projects to a project requiring carpentry and finishing skills. When figuring out whether to do a project yourself or call a professional it’s important to decide which of the installation methods would be the best for your project.

  • Nail Down – In this method nails are used to fasten the wood to the subfloor. This technique is mostly used for thinner wood flooring.
  • Staple Down – This method is similar to the nail down method, except it uses staples instead of nails to fasten the hardwood flooring. It is considered a simpler method than the nail down.
  • Glue Down – This technique is normally used with engineered wood floors or parquets, the wood is glued to the subfloor with a powerful adhesive.
  • Floating – This is by far the fastest and easiest method of installation. Floating floors are not attached to the subfloor at all, but instead, simply float above it. Either adhesive is used to fasten the boards together or they are designed to snap together. A pad is placed underneath the hardwoods to protect against moisture wicking and to reduce the noise. Floating floors can be installed over virtually any surface. This is the best possible option for DIY-ers. But you could run into issues with your floors shifting if the boards are not measured properly.

Pros of Installing Hardwood Flooring Yourself

So you’ve picked your type of flooring and a potential installation method that you want to use. Now it’s time to figure out whether you want to go it yourself or hire a professional. Here are some important points to consider:

  • Ease of Installation – As you’ve seen above, there have been many advancements in the construction of hardwood flooring. This allows for easier installation, particularly if you use kits such as the floating installation kits. These kits are popular with homeowners who are looking to save the cost of a professional installation.
  • Quality of Installation – The advancements have also allowed for higher quality hardwoods, making it easier for you to get that professional look. It is possible to get pre-finished hardwood floors, saving you the hard work of sanding and finishing the floors. These not only make the process easier but also save you time. Floating kits also come pre-finished so you don’t have to worry about the tricky sanding and finishing with them either.
  • Cost – If you only have to pay for the cost of materials, tools, or tool rentals you can potentially save money over hiring a professional.

Cons of Installing Hardwood Flooring Yourself

hardwood-flooring-measurementWe’ve covered the pros above, but it’s also important to consider the cons of installing hardwood flooring yourself and when it may be better to hire a professional. Consider the following:

  • Unexpected Complications – Let’s face it, professionals install new floors every day, where as the average homeowner may install one or two in their lifetime. This specialization and experience allow the pros to be prepared for any unexpected complication that may arise. Chances are they will be much quicker at removing the old flooring. If you have concrete under your old flooring instead of subflooring, a professional is going to be much better equipped to deal with it. Having concrete instead of subflooring will require extra steps such as the installation of moisture barriers to prevent the wicking of moisture from the concrete, which will lead to mold forming underneath the wood flooring.
  • Cost – Depending on the type of installation method you’ve chosen, costs can mount up quickly. Hardwood flooring can be especially difficult on miter saws, so even if you own one, it may be a good idea to rent a professional grade saw instead as some of the rock-solid variety of hardwoods such a kempas, can be especially hard on them. Renting professional grade tools to handle the installation can raise your cost considerably. Additionally, you may have to buy more material if you are not experienced with carpentry and other skills necessary for the installation of hardwoods. This can quickly add on to the cost of installing your new flooring.
  • Quality of Finished Product – If you are installing solid hardwood flooring, it can be very difficult to get the finish correct. Solid hardwoods are attached to the floor with a special flooring nailer, sanded with a drum type sander, and then finished. The sanding process is very tricky and if done incorrectly, it can basically ruin the entire installation since the smoothness of the sanding can make or break the look of the wood floor. In these cases, it would be much wiser to hire an experienced professional to handle the sanding and finishing.

Plan Your Project Out And Know When To Call A Professional

As you can see there are many factors to consider when planning to install hardwood flooring in your home. It’s an important investment and, when properly installed, can greatly add to your home’s value. With many different options to choose from and several installations methods, you can customize hardwood floors to greatly enhance the beauty of your home. If you have questions, give our team a call today. Our hardwood flooring experts will be more than happy to help you with any questions you may have.

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