Installation Instructions - Hardwood Flooring - Nail Down


Your home must be kept between 35-50% RH at 21 C for at least one week prior to installation.  The wood must read between 6% - 8% and be a maximum difference from the subfloor of 4%.  The goal is to have the moisture level in your home to be stable with the hardwood being installed, to lessen the seasonal movement that occurs.

General Information

  • Inspect the subfloor for flatness (should be within 3/8" over a 8' area).
  • Inspect the subfloor for squeaks (fix any problems before you start - the prep makes all the difference.
  • Install a proper Hardwood Floor Underlayment (we suggest HDW-15) to minimize moisture transference from under the floor.
  • Inspect the floor during installation for milling and finish defects.
  • Floor should be installed from several cartons at once to ensure evenness of look.
  • Please note that installing the floor is deemed to be accepting of the floor, so take care that it is exactly what you are looking for before you start!

Please remember that only Engineered Floors should be installed below grade (below ground level - IE, basements).


Required Tools

  • Pencil
  • Chalk Line
  • 8' Level
  • Miter Saw
  • Table Saw
  • Broom
  • Jam Saw
  • Eye Protection
  • Dust Mask
  • Glovese
  • Floor Nailer
  • Enough Fasteners to do the Entire Floor
  • Hygrometer & Moisture Meter
  • Compressor
  • Drill Bits
  • Hammer
  • Tape Measure
  • Transitions
  • Wood Glue (for transitions)


  • Do a full walk-through of the subfloor.  Make sure that there are no squeaks (if there are - screw those areas with decking screws) and that the subfloor is clean.
  • Always follow the manufacturer's recommended installation procedure (this page is for reference only).
  • 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 (1/2" is recommended, although if you undercut the drywall that already gives you approximately that), and place a mark on the subfloor.  Do not include the tongue of the board when measuring.
  • 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, maintaining the expansion space.
  • Install the flooring with the tongue side facing away from the starting wall (Use as long and straight as possible boards for the first couple of rows).  Always nail on the tongue side of the flooring.
  • Pre-drill and top nail the first row of boards using a 3/32" drill bit and 2" finishing nails about an 1" from the back edge.  Countersink the finish nail using a nail punch and fill with with wood filler.  Blind nail the 2nd and 3rd rows again using 2" finishing nails (or 2" brad nails) above the board tongue until the pneumatic nailer can be used.  Don't forget to set the finishing nails so there is no space between boards!

The Field

  • After the first three rows are installed, now you should be able to start using the nailer.  Make sure that it's set correctly (the fasteners are not breaking off the tongue, or not being set deep enough).  
  • Open a few boxes, and start racking (loose laying to check how the boards line up and look).  Keep mixing the board colours and grains to create a random look.  Keep a minimum stagger of the board ends at least 5-6" apart.  Visually inspect the floor for defects while racking.
  • Once the floor is racked, start nailing.  On solid flooring, typically you nail every 6" - 8" (at least two fasteners per board).  Many engineered floors are 4"-6" apart.  Make sure to check with the particular installation guide for your floor.

Finishing Up

  • The last row will most likely have to be cut down to properly fit.  
  • You will have to again pre-drill and use finishing nails to get tight up to the wall.
  • Don't forget the expansion space!
  • Fill any nail holes with the proper filler.
  • Install baseboards, and do your touchup painting (As required).
  • Install EZ Glides on all furniture, to protect your beautiful new floor.