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The Staple Down Technique To Laying Hardwood Floors

Feb 9, 2008
Do it yourself hardwood floors is now easier than ever due to the staple down technique. This technique is fast and requires little cure time.

In fact, this technique of laying hardwood floors is followed by only about one day to complete. At that time you can move all of your furniture in and proceed with life. With older techniques, you may be inconvenienced for more than a week.

Also, using this technique, will allow you to install solid wood floor panels rather than manufactured floor panels. These solid hardwoods are thicker and tolerate more abuse.

- Tools

In practice, using staples for laying hardwood floors is not all that much different than using nails. You can use mostly the same tools to perform either task. The obvious difference being that you'll need staples and a stapler instead of a nails and a nailer. Here is a list of the main tools you'll need for this technique:

Staples - You need some sturdy staples so that you can firmly attach your hardwood panels to the wall and foundation.

Stapler - You need to have a good, sturdy staple gun to make driving the staples as easy as possible.

Carpenter's Crayon - You need to mark guidelines for where you'll fit each of the hardwood panels together. You'll also need to mark the floor panels up so you will know where and how to cut them to fit the angles and objects of the room where the floor is being laid.

Cutter Knife - This is a sturdy, sharp knife that has the special ability to be able to cut off small chunks that need to be cut as you go when the measurements are off by just millimeters.

Rubber Mallet - You will most likely have to pound things to one side or another as well as pounding grooves together as you are laying the hardwood floors. Just don't get carried away and pound on things too hard.

Saw - You will use this to cut up your panels where you have marked them with the carpenter's crayon.

Claw - When you're backed into a wall, sometimes the only way you can get a grip on the sides of the panels to pull them is with your claw.

Broom and Dust Pan - You'll find yourself cleaning up saw dust, splinters, and chunks of wood often during this job.

- Preparing the Surface

When laying hardwood floors, you'll want to prepare your surface area well, as whatever flaws you leave there will be there for the duration of your floor. The last thing you want to do is install hardwood floors without a proper, flat surface to support the wood. Any lumps or holes under the wood could cause damage and will cause squeaking floor panels

One of the things you can do to prepare the surface for laying hardwood floors is to scrape off any residues or lumps on the surface. Also, you should patch up any holes in the surface.

Next, you will need to do a good surface cleaning. Sweep the floor and get out all of the dust. More importantly, make sure no chunks of wood, splinters of wood, or pebbles are on the surface.

It may be helpful to compensate for any uneven surfaces by ensuring that your first row of floor panels are the sturdiest of the lot. These will help anchor the rest of the panels. If these are not made of good wood, your whole floor will have problems.

-Step by Step Instructions

1. Start by positioning your floor liner on the place where you're going to begin laying your hardwood floor. You can do this each time you lay down another piece of floor board, or you can start by laying the whole thing out for the entire room before laying the hardwood floor.

2. Lay your first hardwood panel in the corner. The grooved edges should point towards the wall. It is best if your initial corner has straight edges and no objects to have to work around. When you're sure it is where you want it, get it fixed in place.

3. Fix your next hardwood panel to the first one by gently hitting the end of it into the connecting joint. The two boards should fit together nicely and create a smooth surface. You should not have a gap between panels. Also, you should not have the panels overlapping each other. If you hit the panel to hard, it could bust and/or the original panel could bust.

4. Staple the panels in place. Do not place the staples within one inch of the edges of the panels or you may create a crack down any edge of the panels. The panels should be very well affixed in place when you're done.

5. Repeat steps three and four until you get to the next corner.

6. Cut the panel for this next corner carefully so that it will fit in perfectly to the corner.

7. Start your next row of panels using the leftover piece from the panel cut in step six.

8. As you add more panels to your row, you will now have to pay special attention to pound the panels together both to their current row and to the panels beside them from the last row. Remember not to hit the panels too hard with the rubber mallet.

9. When you start running into parts of your floor where there may be modifications to the shapes of your panels required, lay the panel in place as much as possible. Then mark around the exact areas where you need to cut your panels to avoid the obstacle, but still hug the obstacle as tightly as possible with the panels. Cut your panel tightly around the object. If you can't quite fit the panel down, use the cutter knife to shave off the excess wood.

10. Continue to repeat all of these steps until your new hardwood floor has been completely laid.

- Tips

- In addition to making sure that you do not staple too close to the edges of the panels, make sure you don't drive your staples too deeply into the surface of the floor. When dug too deep, they will pull areas of your nicely finished surface down. It could also cause the floor to break the staples through at a later time when there are pressures on the floor.

- As you complete each row, recheck the row to make sure there are no small gaps at the connecting joints. These will not only look bad later and cause instability in the connection, but they create gaps under the wood as well which can cause bubbling in the floor. This can result in creaking sounds whenever you walk on the floor. If you notice a row is not well fastened in any place, gently use your mallet to push all of the gaps together before laying another row.

- Before starting each successive row after the second row is complete, first walk around on the row you just completed to test it for stability. If it squeaks, something isn't right. It's a lot easier to go back and correct the problem now than when you finish the floor!

- Clean Up

You only want to get rid of the sawdust at this point. Ignore any advice to use a wet rag or mop. Give your floor some time to settle before you start applying water. The water will make the wood swell and it could pop out of place and even warp if it gets too wet before it has settled into place.

The exception to the water advice is if you deviated from the instructions here and used adhesives to connect joints, you will need a damp towel to rub off any excess glue before it can harden on the surface. Just be very careful not to have your floor get any more wet than necessary.

As for cleaning up the saw dust, your broom and dust pan will do just fine. If there is still some dust or debris stuck in hard to reach corners, you can get this out using a vacuum with a hose attachment.
Once you've completed cleanup and waited a day for your floors to settle, you've completed the staple down technique for laying hardwood floors.
About the Author
Niv Orlian is an experienced Home Improvement Adviser who writes articles for his Flooring & Carpet Cleaning online guides. Visit myflooringhelper.com to learn more about Laying Hardwood Floors
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