Saturday, February 28, 2009

Regular Hardwood Refurnishing

Are you annoyed by stains on your floor you just can’t scrub off? It might be time to refurnish you hardwood floor.

Hardwood flooring remains a popular choice among homeowners because of its remarkable beauty and natural warmth. Solid wood floors are more practical. Clean, shiny floors liven up the atmosphere of any room, giving it a feel of freshness. Stains are annoying. Always keep your flooring clean and luster.

In addition to regular dusting, sweeping and polishing, hardwood floors require at least an annual refurnishing to maintain its elegant look and feel. Summers are usually ideal times to refurnish, when floor finishing can quickly dry. Open windows to allow air to circulate freely in a room with newly-refurnished floors as some of these floor finishing substances have strong smells.

For various reasons, you may find it necessary to refurnish your hardwood floors more often than once a year. Accidental spills cause unsightly stains on your floors that are difficult to remove by simply mopping. You may have to sand the area to remove the stains, scratches and marks becoming all too visible. You can’t remove these marks by simply polishing your floors.

Refurnishing floors need not be too expensive. You can hire professional help or do it yourself. Find a good time to get the project done in one session if you intend to do-it-yourself. Rent a sander from a local store and buy some hardwood finishing.

Oil-based urethanes are better because it’s water resistant. You have plenty of options for oil-based urethanes or other floor finishing, most coming in affordable prices.

If you don’t have time to refurnish floors yourself, hire professional flooring experts to do the job. Some hardwood providers and floor installers also provide refurnishing services. You can either rehire the firm that installed your floors or contract the services of independent hardwood refurnishing outfits. Compare price quotations from several refurnishing outfits first. Pick the option that best fits your needs, your time requirements, and your budget.

Always keep floors clean and well-maintained. They add beauty to homes and reflect good housekeeping.

About the Author

For more information on Hardwood Floor Refinishing and Professional Hardwood Floor Refinisher please visit our website.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How To Remove Stains From Your Hardwood Floor

The most common and, perhaps, annoying damage to your precious hardwood floor are stains. Be they ink stains, water stains, or whatever, the fact that that particular stain was caused by someone's negligence and not because of normal, time-driven wear makes us feel a little cross. This is because stains are very evident and, for serious cases, may force us to replace the entire wood board altogether.

But when you see a stain on your hardwood flooring, you shouldn't panic just yet. It could be a damage that can be addressed by minor repair methods and without having to call in and pay for professional help. There are certain hardwood floor stains that you can repair yourself.

For instance, if there is a huge water mark on your floor, you might be tempted to replace the entire plank to get rid of it. This is not always the remedy. You should first try if it's a problem that can be remedied by sanding and refinishing the affected spot.

Taking care of a small spot yourself will not be a nuisance, compared to changing the entire surface. However, if the stain is really not manageable, you may still attempt at doing the replacement job yourself.

The first thing you should do to get rid of stain is to come up with an oxalic acid crystal solution, which will be dabbed onto the stained area. Oxalic acid acts as a bleaching agent and can get rid of minor stains. If the stain is not bleached out the first time, you can repeat the procedure for several times more until the stain is gone. Make sure you wear protective gloves, though, as the oxalic acid might be too harsh for your skin.

After you apply oxalic acid, you should return your floor to its usual acidity rinsing it with vinegar. The one you find in your kitchen will do. Of course, you will need to wipe the area dry of excess moisture and allow it completely dry first before you leave it alone. The result should be bleached but stain-less finish.

Finally, choose an oil-based stain you can apply to the bleached surface to get the original look of your hardwood floor. You may do a number of applications before you get your desired shade. However, before you decide on which stain shade to buy, make sure first that it is compatible with the rest of the floor's color and the kind of wood your floor is made of.

By: Juliet Sadler

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Protecting Hardwood Floors From Damage

There is nothing like the look of a refinished hardwood floor. You’ve spent money on your investment, so its important to protect your hardwood floors from damage to ensure that they will reward you with a lifetime of elegance and beauty. There are many preventive measures that you can take to help maintain the sheen of your floors including sweeping and vacuuming your floors regularly, wiping up spills as soon as they occur, and protecting your floor from scratches by using various furniture pads. There are also excellent hardwood floor cleaners available that help to not only clean your wood floors, but to protect them.

While it is much easier to prevent damage to your hardwood floors than to repair them, unfortunate situations may occur and it may become necessary for you to replace or repair a floorboard that has become damaged. Fortunately, replacing a floorboard is much easier than having to redo the entire floor.

If you spill water on your hardwood floor, it is imperative to clean it up immediately and dry the area thoroughly. Preventing water from soaking through the finish is the best way to keep your floor damage free. However, if the water soaks through and you notice a hazy or foggy area, you can try removing it with some trusted home remedies.

One method that has been used to remove water damage from wood floors includes using toothpaste or cigarette ashes on the spot. Using a soft cloth, such as chamois and toothpaste or cigarette ashes mixed with a little mineral oil, gently buff the area until the spot disappears.

You can also repair white or darkened water stains yourself. First, using painter’s tape, block off the area that has the stain. Next, you will need to remove the finish off of the area. You will be retreating the area and as your final step, applying new finish. To remove the finish, use either sandpaper or a steel wool pad and sand the finish off of the area. Next you will mix 1 cup of Oxalic Acid with hot water and blend until the crystals are thoroughly dissolved. Now, apply the Oxalic Acid and water mix over the stain, let dry, then brush off. Keep repeating the process until the water damage is completely gone.

After repairing the water damage you will need to restore the finish. If you have refinished hardwood floors, you may need to stain the new floorboards. It is important to note whether you have a Polyurethane or wax finish and buy the same finish for your area. After applying the first layer of the finish, let it dry. Before adding a second coat, go over the first layer with a fine steel wool pad. After wiping away the debris, you can successfully add your second and final layer.

You’ve invested money, and perhaps a lot of time to get your floors looking amazing. By taking care of them, you can avoid costly hardwood floor repairs and keep your floors looking good as new.

About the Author
refinished hardwood floors - everyone loves them, now find out how your home value can be improved by installing them. -

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tips To Repair Water Damage And Scratches On Your Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are more popular in homes today than they have been in many years. People still like to use carpeting in some rooms sometimes, but since there has been so much new information to come to light about the unsanitary and unhealthy conditions that can come with carpeting, many homeowners are choosing hardwood floors instead.

Carpeting is nice to walk on and have a nicer feel under bare feet, but they can also hold dirt and allergens that are not that healthy for most of us. People who suffer from allergies can be severely affected by dust mites and other particles that can become embedded in them. Even frequent shampooing will not completely remove them.

Hardwood floors can be easier maintained and cleaned than carpeting too. Once they are sealed and waxed, they have a beautiful sheen that will last for years with proper cleaning. It is so much easier to sweep them or go over them with a dust mop than the need to drag out a big and bulky vacuum cleaner every time you need to clean. With the accidents from kids and pets, it is much less headache to clean a hardwood floor than carpeting.

Hardwood flooring does have a few drawbacks if you can really call them that. They can be scratched when furniture is moved across them if there are any sharp edges that come in contact with the floor. They can also get damaged by water if it is not promptly cleaned up. If your floors are sealed properly, it should not do any harm as long as the liquid is not allowed to sit on it for a long period of time.

If you do get scratches or water stains on your hardwood floors, you might be able to repair them yourself if you follow simple directions. You should use a good quality masking tape used by painters to mark around the affected area. Remove any wax. Use a rubber sanding block to remove the finish and scratches. Use smooth even strokes. To remove stains you mix oxalic acid and about a cup of water to wash the stain. Allow it to dry and repeat if necessary until the stain is gone.

When you refinish the cleaned area, make sure the stain you use is the exact one on the rest of your floor. Apply the same polyurethane that was originally used. IF you do this process correctly, the area you repaired should blend in well with the rest of the floor. If you are not good with small home repairs, you could always hire someone to repair the floor for you, but it is not that difficult if you take your time and follow the steps.

About the Author

Aydan Corkern is a writer of many topics, visit some of her sites, like document drying and water damage florida.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

How To Stop Squeaking In Hardwood Flooring

A squeak in hardwood flooring is caused by two pieces of wood rubbing against one another. One way to stop the sound is by reducing the friction of the moving pieces using a lubricant. I’m not talking oil here, but rather a dusting with ultra-fine graphite powder.

This is available at your local hardware stores, and for the most part it’s used to free lock mechanisms. But if you pour a tiny bit of it on the floor so that it can work its way into the squeaking boards, it could very well reduce or eliminate the sound.

If that fails, you can always try a pair of well-placed nails. You first need to pre-drill some slender holes into the wood, angled slightly towards one another. Then drive the nails in, being careful not to bang up the hardwood floor with the head of the hammer.

You can use an 8d or 8-penny finish nail, which has a very small head. Then sink it below the surface of the wood using a nail set. Now you can say good-bye to that squeak forever. You would need a hammer, a small drill bit, and a cordless drill. This would take no more than 15-20 minutes to complete.

Now after you get rid of all the squeaks, use a filler stick in the same color as the floor to fill any nail hole that are visible. When your floor is really starting to show its age, you’ll be able to renew its surface for about a quarter of what it would cost to install a new floor.

You can sand and refinish them, usually up to a total of four times before so much wood is ground away that the nails holding it in place begin to appear. Your hardwood floor should be as good as new. on a cavity wall, use anchors made of plastic or metal. Most have wings that expand against the wall within the cavity. Select the size of bit recommended by the anchor manufacturer. Mark and drill the holes. Insert an anchor, and drive home the screws.

The most flexible type of shelving and one that is ideal for storing objects of various sizes, such as books, is a track system. Making a set of shelves entirely for display purposes gives the opportunity to design a tailor-made, highly decorative unit.

About the Author
Roger King has been occupied in home repairs for several years, and has been helping people with tips and advice to simple repairs to their homes. Visit his web site to learn how to do home repairs yourself.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vitrified Tiles - Better Than Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood floors are gorgeous and add a great deal of elegance and charm to a home. But as with many things so beautiful, they are very delicate. Hardwood floors require a great deal of care and maintenance to keep them looking great. And for folks who cannot spare a lot of time to give them the required care, vitrified tiles can be a great option.

Vitrified tiles are very attractive too. And unlike hardwood floors, these are very tough - they are much harder than natural stones, and pools of water can definitely not damage them ... unlike hardwood floors.

What are vitrified tiles?

Vitrified tiles are made by combining 40% clay and 60% silica in a process called vitrification. The process of manufacture makes them extremely hard and non-porous - a great advantage over natural stones like marble which are porous and hence need a good deal of care.

Vitrified tiles are virtually maintenance free and have very good abrasion resistance - which makes them very suitable for use in high traffic areas.

And there is another huge advantage vitrified tiles have over most other floors. The designs on vitrified tiles are printed with soluble salts which are essentially penetrating pigments that penetrate to a depth of 2 to 3 mm below the surface of the tile ... and that means the design is present at depths of up to 25% of the tile's thickness! And the high hardness and abrasion resistance of vitrified tiles essentially means that the design is permanent for all practical purposes. In contrast, some floor polishes exist over the surface of the floor and have little abrasion resistance.

But on the other hand, vitrified tiles are not currently available in a great variety of shades - at least not in as many shades as natural stone tiles are.

Other advantages of vitrified tiles...

Vitrified tiles hardly expand or contract with changes in moisture and temperature - unlike other floors like wood for instance. This means that they may be used for a joint free application. But instead of a joint free application, it may be better create uniform gaps between tiles by fixing them using spacers and then filling the space with grout. This would especially be recommended when the tiles would be exposed to extremes of temperature - either very hot or very cold.

Vitrified tiles are virtually maintenance free. They may be swept clean. But still, it would be better to take a few steps to ensure that they keep looking great for several years or decades...

Vitrified tiles - Care and cleaning

Using a floor mat at the entrances to minimize abrasive dust being carried in by people would be a good thing to do. This would be true for any floor you may choose to have - whether stone or wood.

You may want to avoid using cleaners with harsh chemicals to clean the floor. Since vitrified tiles are extremely hard and non porous, a damp mop may be good enough to clean the floor.

You may also want to clean the grout joints a couple of times a year or so. Also, keeping the grout joints in good shape by scraping out cracked, loose or powdery joints and refilling them would be a good thing to do once in a while.

Vitrified tiles can be extremely beautiful and elegant and with the right care and maintenance, can last for a lifetime.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Glue Down Method Of Installing Hardwood Flooring

The glue down method of laying hardwood floors is one of the original methods of installing hardwood flooring. If you want to learn the basics of how to install hardwood flooring using the glue down method, you've come to the right place.

Among do it yourself hardwood floors, those done with the glue down method can be the most stable and enduring. When you are installing hardwood flooring using the glue down method, you can rest assured that you are using a technique that has been time-tested.

- Tools Needed When Installing Hardwood Flooring

Square Notched Trowel - This trowel should have one quarter inch sides for the application of the glue.

Broom and Dust Pan - You'll want to constantly be cleaning up any saw dust that could get stuck under your floor panels or get stuck in your connecting joints. The last thing you need is a lumpy hardwood floor when you're done installing hardwood flooring.

Carpenter's Crayon - This is what you use to mark where you'll make your cuts on your panels. You'll also use this to mark up the surface where you'll be laying your panels. You'll want to keep this handy at all times because it is particularly important with the glue down method that everything be done very precisely.

Circular Saw - You'll use your circular saw to cut up panels as necessary. Additionally, you'll use your circular saw to score your substrate sheets every eight inches. This is important for the prevention of curling panels.

Glue - Many hardwood panel kits come with their own glue. If you need to buy glue for your hardwood panels, I highly recommend Bostik's Best Adhesive.

Lace Nails - You'll use these nails when connecting the panels to walls and wall strips.

Plywood Substrate Sheets - These are placed on top of the concrete and go underneath your hardwood floor.

Soft Cloths - You'll need these to clean up excess glue throughout the process of installing hardwood flooring. If the glue is allowed to set, it'll take extra measure to remove it. In some cases, it requires special chemicals and glue to remove glue once it has set. You'll also need your soft cloths to clean up after you've installed your hardwood floors.

Rubber Gloves - It's much better to glue the fingers of your gloves together than your own fingers together! Besides, many people don't like having dried glue on their hands for weeks after they finish installing hardwood flooring.

- Final Preparation for Installing Hardwood Flooring

When using the glue down method for installing hardwood flooring, it is absolutely essential that the surface where you will be placing your flooring panels is properly prepared.

You'll be attaching your flooring panels to this surface, so the floor must be smooth, dry, and as clean as possible to give your hardwood floor a solid support base. Be particularly careful to clean up anything that looks like it may be grease or oil, as your glue may not properly bond.

It's also very important that your sub floor be completely level and flat. If you notice any unevenness, get some patching cement from the hardware store to even the sub floor.

You also need to choose between one of the two methods of laying hardwood panels down with the glue down method. Your choices for installing hardwood flooring are the Walk On method or the Wet Lay method.

If you choose the Wet Lay method for installing hardwood flooring, you'll be putting glue across the substrate followed by placing the hardwood panel on top of the glue. After the glue starts to become tacky, you proceed to the next panel.

However, sometimes it is recommended for first time installers using the glue down method to place the next panels before the glue becomes tacky so that you can adjust your panels a few minutes later if they are not lined up properly.

The Walk On method of installing hardwood flooring requires precise panel laying. This process of installing hardwood flooring waits until the glue is very tacky and then lays the panel in the glue. This keeps you from getting glue smudges all over your panels as you go.

Experienced hardwood installers typically use the Walk On method because of the better finished results it can provide. Since you are reading instructions about how to install hardwood floors, we'll assume you're using the Wet Lay method.

- Instructions for Installing Hardwood Flooring

1. Place your substrate sheets, stretched across the foundation. Make sure that the surface is level, clean, and free of debris.

2. Get your glue warm. It should be slightly above room temperature or it will be very difficult to work with. If it's below room temperature, you'll find it impossible to work with your glue.

3. Use your square notched trowel to put glue in the starting corner of the room. Put enough to securely fasten the board, but ration your glue so that it'll be able to complete the entire hardwood flooring process.

If you had any doubt about whether you have enough glue, it would have been a good idea to buy more before you started gluing. You'll typically find that it takes an extra day to do the flooring when you run out of glue before you've finished.

4. Try to place your first wood panel straight down on the glue, secured into the corner. Since you are working with wet glue, place the panel as best you can at first so that you'll not be smearing the glue around as you adjust the panel's placement. If you had used the Walk On method, you wouldn't be able to move the panel at all only a few seconds after placement.

5. You can continue on as in the above steps with adding more panels until you reach the last panel, which shouldn't completely fit. Use your crayon to mark where to cut the board and your saw to make the cut.

6. Get your first row wedged in really tight so that it will provide a solid basis for your entire floor.

7. Before any of the glue dries, use a soft cloth to clean up any glue that may be sitting on the surface of your first row. The longer you wait to clean up the glue, the more difficult it will get to clean up the glue.

8. Hopefully you didn't mutilate the excess piece of panel you cut off to end the first row. That's going to be the panel you use to start the next row. This helps make sure your hardwood floor looks nice by having all of the panels offset.

9. If you're seeing any bubbles, hills, or slopes on the panels you've been laying, put a heavy, flat object on top of these sections to hold them down until the glue attaches them to the substrate.

10. Clean up again. Get all of that sawdust and glue out of there. A soft cloth with mineral spirits on it can be used to get glue you've missed that may be hardening. Clean the mineral spirits off quickly to avoid having them damage the floor. You should have a nice, new hardwood floor.

Hindsight Tips for Installing Hardwood Flooring:

- For best results, use plywood sheets to form your substrate.

- The thicker your substrate sheets are, the easier it is to compensate for leveling differences at the surface. But you should still try to get the surface as level as possible before laying your substrate sheets.

- If you have enough flat, heavy objects, place them on each new panel as you place the panel on the floor to help it get the best possible attachment to the substrate. Don't use anything that can damage the surface of your panels. If you have nothing else, you can always lay on the panels. Be careful not to get glue on top of them though.

Rest Assured That You Made a Good Choice Installing Hardwood Flooring

When you have your hardwood floor glued down, you are ready to experience a great sense of accomplishment. If you did a really good job of installing your hardwood flooring using the glue down method, you will not experience nearly as much creaky floor syndrome as you would with other methods of installation.

And for your sake, I really hope you followed the instructions carefully and picking out high quality flooring. This is because replacing a glued down hardwood floor is no task for amateurs. That is unless you've got destructive pleasure tendencies. You'll need some serious sledgehammer, crow bar, and circular saw work if you ever want to replace that glued down hardwood floor.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pre-Finished Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is gaining more popularity mainly because it is durable and easy to install. With basic carpentry skills, right knowledge on wood materials, and proper tools, the installation of hardwood flooring can be as easy as pie.

One of the main concerns of people regarding hardwood floors is the finishing. Many people know that in order to truly bring out the beauty of a hardwood floor, it needs to have a properly finish–a job that’s time consuming and not really easy to do. If you do not enjoy the prospect of sanding and varnishing the floor, you should opt for pre-finished hardwood flooring.

Pre-finished hardwood flooring, as the name implies, needs no more finishing touches before it can be installed. This means that installing pre-finished hardwood flooring can be a whole lot easier than before. Before you start hammering away at your floor, however, here are a few tips you should know:

1. Choose the right wood – some people think that any type of wood is ok, as long as it’s hardwood. You should realize, however, that the beauty of the pre-finished hardwood flooring depends on the type of wood used. Each type of wood has a distinctive pattern and coloring and you should really think about the pattern you want before deciding anything.

This is because some types of wood look better as pre-finished hardwood flooring for certain rooms in the house. This also depends on the color of the walls and other designs in the room.

Another reason why you should know the different types of wood is that there are those that are stronger than others. This means that you need to consider the purpose of the room and the environment which the room is located in selecting the type of pre-finished hardwood flooring to get.

3. Find the right tools – in order to properly install the pre-finished hardwood flooring, you will need the right tools. Here are some of them:

• staple gun

• hammer

• chalk line

• drill and bits

• pry bar

• saws (chop saw and table saw)

• wood putty

• tape measure

• earplugs, and

• safety goggles.

Of course, this list does not really give you all the needed tools for the installation of pre-finished hardwood flooring. If you have no idea what to use, it might be better to save yourself some cash and frustration and hire professionals to install the flooring for you.

Hardwood Flooring is one upgrade that can change your whole house, with hard wood floors prices being very different from one place to the other, you should educate yourself about the key things to look for when buying hardwood floors. Daniel Roshard writes home improvement tips and advice articles, read about Hardwood Floors and more home tips at

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Older Hardwood Floors Add Character To A Home

The installation of your new hardwood floor is probably the most rewarding remodeling you can do. With any type of flooring the first step is to create your reference line, if this line is off the entire floor will be off. Wood floors will contract and expand so when laying it down it is a good idea not to glue the floor down. There will be occasions when your hardwood floor will need fixing. Before securing hardwood floors, read the installation instructions provided by manufacturer for the right tools and methods. When installing hardwood try to steer clear of glue down floors, one of the main reasons is that wood contracts and expands.

Older floors have been worn down by foot traffic and they have not been kept up with the correct floor products, so more work might be needed to get them in shape. When cleaning hardwood floors only use the proper products that are used for wood finishes, using household cleaners can strip the finish. Wood is actually very good for allergy suffers, it does not harbor particles and it dust does not get into the nook and crannies.

You can use Hardwood floor throughout the house to get magnificent looks. There are so many designs and textures and these will add to your house. Many people think if they get hardwood floors that they will not dent, wood dents, when you drop something heavy or put something heavy on the floor it will dent wood. Wood is a living thing, so when it is processed and made into something else there is still a cell structure and the wood will dent.

Floor finish come in many different types, it can be gloss, flat, or satin and may be easily accented with decorative chips. Oak woods contain a lot of growth ring patterns and knots, and are best suited to traditional and rustic decors. When finishing a floor many people opt for the high gloss finish because it adds a touch of elegance. Never use water on a wood floor, this could damage it, the water penetrates the wood and makes it warp and rot. If you are looking to get an antique looking floor that try an old timber finish look. However, while it is costly to refinish a hardwood floor, it is well worth the investment. A great test to see if your floors are protected is to use the water test, drop a couple of drops of water on the floor and if it beads up the finish is good and you have a seal.

If you have a damaged floor you can temporarily fix it with wax. Wax will not stay for ever so you will need to fix the floor before it worsens. People use to keep their floors in good shape by waxing them. Today many people still use wax on their floors, it is very easy to apply, it dries fast and if you do it twice a year it keeps the floors looking great.

When a more in-depth cleaning is required, use a cleaning method appropriate to the finish on your floor. Before starting take a look at your floor and see if it needs that type of cleaning. To take care of your hardwood floors all you need to do is clean them everyday and this will keep them looking like new.

About the Author

David Marc Fishman is the owner of crafts. Tipsquad is a new advice website. It gives tips by showing by video. Another video site is the new

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How To Install Hardwood Floor Panels With The Nail Down Method

There are a variety of methods for installing hardwood flooring. The nail down technique of laying hardwood floors has become very popular. For those learning how to install hardwood floor, there's no simpler or straightforward technique than the nail down technique.

Unlike other methods which basically require you to be an amateur carpenter or even a professional carpenter, the nail down method on how to install hardwood flooring can be accomplished by anyone who can swing a hammer. Well, that's not all it takes.

You also have to be persistent, patient, and willing to try new things if you want to learn how to install hardwood floor. Also, you need to be willing to read the safety instructions that come with the tools you'll be using.

-Tools You'll Need as Your Learn How to Install Hardwood Floor Panels

Broom and Dust Pan - You need to clean up constantly as you learn how to install hardwood floor to make sure no dirt, sawdust, or other debris get caught in between the grooves or under the boards.

Carpenter's Crayon - Use this to create guidelines on your sub floor. You'll also need it to draw lines where you'll cut your hardwood panels.

Claw Hammer - Any areas near obstacles or walls where you can't get enough space to swing a rubber mallet will have to be reached with your claw hammer.

Cutter Knife - Use this often for unforeseen activities involved as you learn how to install hardwood floor. But the main purpose of this device will be to cut out any excess wood when adjustments of only a millimeter or two need to be made.

Electric Drill and 3/32" Drill Bit - Use this to drill your pilot holes, which should be slightly smaller in length and circumference than your nails. This will prevent your flooring panels from cracking when you put the nails in them.

Hardwood Flooring Nails (2") - These nails are important because they will be what hold your floor in place.

Nailer - This can either be a hammer or pneumatic nail gun. The pneumatic nail gun is obviously faster and easier, but you have to get it calibrated just right so that the nails don't go too far down into the wood and destroy your hardwood panels.

Rubber Mallet - This is your chance to pound your frustrations out as you learn how to install hardwood floor. Actually, you should pound them out gently to bring the surfaces of the two panels together perfectly. You don't want to get them too far apart or your floor will have crevices. But if you pound them too hard together, you can damage them or push them so far together as to bow them.

Circular Saw - At the end of each row of boards as you go into the corner, you will need to cut your floor panels to fit. Any fixtures in the room will also have to be cut around.

-Preparing to Install Hardwood Floor Panels

Although the nail down method of installing hardwood floor panels is pretty simple, it should still be done carefully as the hardwood floor has to endure for many years in whatever form you complete it.

All of the furniture and obstacles that can be removed from the room should be removed while you install your hardwood floor panels. This is true even if it requires manual dismantling and reassembly. For those fixtures build into the floor of the room, you'll just have to panel around them.

It's not the easiest way to go, but you have to do what you have to do to get your hardwood floor installed. If you have door sills, an old hardwood floor, baseboards, or carpet, remove them before you begin as well.

If the surface beneath where you will be flooring is cement or any other lumpy material, use a felt floor liner to cover this surface. Then install a plywood sub-floor over it. Once laid, you should be ready to begin installing the hardwood floor.

-Steps on How to Install Hardwood Floor Panels

1. Put your first floor panel in the corner of the room in which you have decided to start your flooring. The grooves should be toward the wall and the tongues should be toward the room.

2. Start adding panels to make a row. The last panel shouldn't quite fit right, so you'll have to use that carpenter's crayon to mark where to cut it. Use your circular saw to cut it. Be very careful not to cut it too small. The fitting needs to be just about perfect.

3. Use your drill to make your little pilot holes. Put the nails in to fasten your floor down. Though it will take longer, you'll be thankful when you're done if you used pilot holes when you're learning how to install hardwood floor.

4. Grab the other half of the panel you cut off the row you just completed and use it as the starting point for the next row. This will seem strange at first, but when the floor is completed, the offset of the boards will look really nice. Additionally, if all of your boards matched up, the floor won't have interlocked strength.

5. Continue on doing this as you go through the remaining rows. Use the rubber mallet as necessary to make the boards and rows nice and snug. When the rubber mallet won't fit, use the claw hammer to pull the boards tight. The last things you need are some giant crevices between your boards when you've finished your new hardwood floor.

6. The last panel is the hardest one to get put in place, but your floor will look really awful if you hurry at this step. You need to patiently measure, cut, and make your last panel fit.

7. Clean the floor you just laid.

-Cleaning Up After You Install Hardwood Floor Panels

In the process of how to install hardwood floors, cleaning up is important and overlooked enough to warrant its own follow-up section. But unlike other nail down method guides on how to install hardwood floor panels, we want to make sure you understand this step.

Cleaning up is important because there are little wood chips and saw dust everywhere after the typical hardwood floor installation. Use your broom and dust pan to pick up any debris on the floor. These particles, if walked on and rubbed on by furniture, can make your brand new floor look like a scratched up old floor pretty quickly.

Unless you went beyond the instructions on how to install hardwood floors and used glue on your hardwood panels, there's no need to get your floor wet before it has had a chance to settle. This is because you don't want it to swell before you've moved the furniture back in and given it a couple days to get itself in its final arrangement.

-Special Tips Add-On on How to Install Hardwood Floor Panels

Don't get too aggressive when putting your hardwood flooring in place. It's very easy to ruin the surface of floor panels when they're floating freely and you're placing them and pounding on them. Be especially careful when fixing a row that looks a little bit off.

If your rubber mallet is sturdy enough, it'll be the best thing to put nails in because it won't do as much damage to the surface of your floor panels.

Your nailed down floor probably isn't going to be quite as nice as the one installed by a professional. On the other hand, it's going to look pretty nice on its own. It will probably be about the nicest looking job an inexperienced hardwood floor installer can do. And if you change your mind about the floor, it's one of the easiest hardwood floor installation methods to undo.

But besides being easy to install and uninstall, nailed down hardwood floor has some usage advantages over other types. The main advantage to keep in mind is that a glued down floor is rigid; once a floor panel is dried in place, it's there for good whether it's snug to the next panel over or not. The loose floor isn't attached to anything and can be creaky, bubbly, and move around. So enjoy your new well-fixed hardwood floor.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Staining And Finishing Hardwood Flooring

Staining will help bring out your hardwood flooring's character and uniqueness. Before applying your stain you need to make sure your floor is completely free of dust, grit and other particles. Dust likes to hide deep in the wood grain, be sure to really get in there to get those dust monsters out. More tips for thorough cleaning can be found at

Make sure the area you are working in is well ventilated. Inhaling fumes from the wood stain can cause you to pass out if you breathe them in for too long. Most stains are solvent based which makes them flammable. Do not smoke while you are applying the stain. If you are working near a pilot light take the precaution and extinguish it, it's better not to take the chance.

Wood floor stains are either oil based or water based. Oil based are most common and preferred because they are easy to use. Water based is a newer type which accounts for the difference in popularity. Always test your stain in a corner or, better yet, on a scrap piece of wood before applying it to the whole floor.

Make sure traffic is diverted from the area before beginning. No one should come near your floor while you are staining or waiting for it to dry. To apply the stain, work from the corners and rub the stain in using a rag. Go with the wood grain and wipe off any excess as you go along. Stain should not sit on the wood, it will raise the grain of the wood and show every imperfection when it dries.

It is a best practice to allow your floor to dry overnight before attempting to walk on it or apply any type of finish. Once you're sure your wood is completely dry you are ready to put on your wood flooring finish.

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