Last week we helped out with another local installation in a conference room at Penn State's Innovation Park in State College, PA. This camel-colored, hard maple floor adds a light traditional touch to a very cool and modern space. Since we really care that you guys know exactly how this process works, there's no better way to show you than to get footage and images for you to take a peek at!
Before beginning, you'll need to attend to your subfloor. This step may be the most important of your installation, because a flat and moisture resistant subfloor will help you both with the installation process and the longevity of your floor after the fact. We recommend that you use liquid floor leveler if you can fit a quarter underneath a 48-inch level when it is laid on the subfloor. A moisture-resistant underlayment is required to separate the wood floor from moisture that could come up from underneath, and you can choose to add a thin, protective sheet like tar paper or a light foam can increase the compliance of your floor. Compliance simply means how soft your floor will feel when you step on it, dancers and yogis prefer very compliant floors (princes and princesses do, too!). Then you'll lay down a rubber gasket (provided with your floor) to make sure your flooring can expand against something besides your walls (not exactly a compressible surface!). One of the really cool things about the Steller system is that this subfloor can even be concrete, because no nails are necessary.
When you're ready to install our floating system you start with a single strip of flooring, with clip attached to both sides. Refer to our previous post about room shape to decide where this first strip should be placed for you. Usually, this won't be right up against the wall, but when you do get to the wall you'll use a clip that's been split in half so you don't have a gap between your floor and your gasket. We recommend assembling the floor before pushing it up against the wall, that way you don't have to stress over cramming the wood into a tight space that may not be the right width without saw adjustment.
After you've lined this first strip up, start laying out the second before you ever attach a board. This recurring step will allow you to go quickly down along each adjacent row from here on out. Once each row has been laid out appropriately (more info to come!), you place your weight on the existing floor and use the mallet or a quick stomp--yes, we said stomp--to snap the new board into place. Placing your weight on the existing flooring is an important step that keeps the clip from rocking out from under the new board.
Close gaps between boards by simply tapping the ends of the boards towards a wall from one end (it helps if a friend stands at the opposite end you're tapping from). Also, don't forget that you don't want the seams on the butt-ends of flooring boards to line up! Leave a few inches (about 6) between each board seam on the adjacent rows.
Keep this up for each row leaving some space at the ends for boards that aren't quite the right length to fill in your wall spaces. These are the boards you'll cut down to size using a cut-off saw and then you seal the fresh cut with our provided sealant to make sure that they are as moisture resistant as possible--just like our other pre-sealed boards.
When you're done, you'll likely need transitions from your hardwood flooring to another surface! We can provide custom wood options for you, or any transition from a big box store will work. Have more questions or details you want to see? Let us know. We would love to help!