The 3 Main Wood Flooring Installation Methods

Choosing the right wood flooring installation method largely depends on the type of flooring you have. The method of installing wood flooring and the difficulties that some methods have may even affect the choice of buyers. In this article, we will examine this issue so that you can make a smarter choice. 

There are three general methods for installing wood flooring, which are:

  • Nail down
  • Glue down
  • Floating

In the following, we will discuss each of these methods


Wood flooring installation methods: nail-down

It is worth noting that this is the most common way to install flooring. In this way, the floorboards are connected to the lower part of the floor with nails. Because the floorboards have tongue, the nails that are driven into the bottom will not be visible. When all the flooring is installed, the few remaining planks at the end should be installed by face-nail.

This installation method is only suitable for places where the subfloors are made of wood. The nail-down wood flooring installation method can be used for solid wood floors as well as engineered wood floors.

Note that the installation of flooring with this method has its standards. So, to ensure the quality and longevity of the flooring must comply with these standards. Some national wood flooring associations in some countries have developed guidelines for the technical specifications of installing these floors.


Wood flooring installation methods: Glue-down

As the name implies, this method uses adhesives to glue the wood flooring to the subfloor. Two types of adhesives are used for this purpose: synthesized polymers or moisture-curing urethane. The technical specifications and properties of these two types of adhesives are different from each other and are selected depending on the installation location. Therefore, before buying an adhesive, you should pay attention to the relevant standards and choose the right adhesive.

Some considerations that you should consider when choosing an adhesive for installing wood flooring are:

  • Performance
  • Ease of use
  • Relevant standards


Before installing the floor by glue-down method, make sure that the subfloor is dry, clean and completely flat. Since wood flooring boards adhere directly to the subfloor, if there is a high spot in, it will also be seen in the flooring. Therefore, high spots must be sanded and removed before installing the flooring.

On the other hand, low spots should be filled so that the lower surface of the floor is completely flat. If you do not pay attention to these items, the lifespan of the floor will be reduced.

When using adhesives to install flooring, you usually have 15 to 20 minutes to complete the installation. If the installation process takes longer than this, it will probably cause you problems because the adhesives in the air lose their adhesive properties. Of course, this time varies depending on the type of adhesive you choose. This period is called "flash time" and as one of the technical specifications of adhesives, you should consider it.

Adhesives on the market have very different properties. Therefore, before buying an adhesive for wood flooring installation, you must pay attention to their standards and technical specifications. Usually, these manufacturers provide a brochure as an instruction manual.

Another important criterion to consider about wood flooring installation using adhesive is relative humidity. Relative humidity can affect the adhesive properties of some types of adhesives.


In this method, regardless of the type of adhesive used, the excess adhesive must be cleaned up when installing the flooring. If the glue droplets are not removed from the floorboards, they will appear as bumps after drying and affect the final quality of the work. It will be very difficult to remove these stains after the glue dries and it can even damage the floors.


Wood flooring installation method: Floating

The third common wood flooring installation method is floating. This method became popular almost 60 years ago in Sweden. In this method, the floor is not attached to the lower surface by glue or nails, but is placed on it in a floating manner. This wood flooring installation method is commonly used for engineered wood flooring. This method of installation is better than other floors such as vinyl, ceramic, or laminate that are non-removable.

Newer floor models that use the click installation system are much easier to install. In this method, the floorboards are joined together like logo pieces and there is no need for clips or adhesives. The connection of these boards is mechanical, not using chemicals.

Of course, in some systems, a chemical bond is also used to connect the parts. In this way, the friction caused by the mechanical connection of the parts and the tension that is created between them activates a kind of adhesive on their surface, which causes the parts to be more tightly connected.


Considerations for installing wood flooring

No matter what method you choose to install wood flooring, you should always follow some basic principles:

  • First, be aware that wood flooring installation in the construction process should be the last step of the project. Sometimes, due to lack of time and to reach the deadlines of the project, some contractors may start the installation of the floors earlier without the necessary arrangements to ensure the quality of the installation.
  • Doors and windows must be installed before wood flooring installation. Open space can expose and damage the floor to moisture, cold or uncontrolled heat.
  • Before the floor installation process, you must make sure that all construction steps are completed and other cement, drywall, and masonry structures, etc. must be dry. In other words, the painting and texturing steps must be completed before installing the flooring.
  • It is better to install the wood flooring after installing the heating and cooling system of the building so that the temperature and humidity of the environment are closer to the normal temperature.
  • Before wood flooring installation, floorboards must remain in the environment for some time to adapt to the new conditions. This time varies depending on the type of flooring.
  • Before installing the flooring, the dehumidification process must be done on the flooring, as well as the subfloor.

However, we suggestion you to leave the specialized work to the specialists to be sure of the final quality of the work! Contact us for more information. 


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