Types of Hardwood Floor Installation

hickory hardwood flooring
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If you’ve decided to update your flooring with hardwood, understanding the different hardwood installation types is essential. This guide will help you decide on a method that’s right for your home. Ultimately, choosing the best installation technique will prolong the life of your hardwood floors and keep them in the best shape possible.

Nailing or Stapling

Nailing and stapling go hand in hand during hardwood floor installation. In this installation method, nails or staples fasten the hardwood planks to the subfloor. One of the major advantages of this type of hardwood installation is it’s fast and as long as you have the proper tools and skills, it’s a simple installation process.

Despite its speedy installation, nailing or stapling hardwood to the subfloor attaches the material tightly, meaning that it restricts the planks’ natural expansion in humid conditions. Lack of proper expansion space between the hardwood and vertical obstructions (i.e. walls, cabinets, door frames) can lead to cracking, buckling cupping, or crowning of the hardwood.

When you compare these wood floor installation methods, nails/cleats are ideal for wider width solid or engineered hardwood where staples can be used for thinner width and construction of materials. Exotic solid hardwood should be installed with nails/cleats instead of staples. Nail construction creates a stronger attachment between hardwood and plywood sub-floor. Still, neither option is ideal for areas with high humidity or moisture.


Gluing is another way you can install hardwood flooring. This technique involves attaching the hardwood planks to the subfloor with a strong adhesive. Gluing is typically one of the best methods when nailing or stapling is not an option. Adhesives provide multiple benefits besides keeping your floors in place. On concrete sub-floor, a direct glue spread is used to install hardwood over the concrete. Right glue with a moisture barrier will also protect your investment over time.

Gluing your hardwood flooring to your subfloor also provides an effective sound reduction barrier. This quality means this wood floor installation method is ideal for apartment complexes.

Like other hardwood installation types, gluing has its drawbacks. One major downside of installing your hardwood floors with glue is the complicated installation process. It takes much longer to adhere your floors to your subfloor and removal in the future can be costly. Always read glue manufacturer’s recommendations for installations as they differ from one another.


Installing your hardwood floors using the floating method may be the easiest way to complete hardwood floor installation. Rather than attaching the hardwood planks directly to the subfloor, the planks form a single surface over the subfloor.

To accomplish this installation method, the edges of the planks fit together like puzzle pieces. Manufacturers create this type of plank with tongue-and-groove edges specifically for floating installation. This means that the planks have a click-lock mechanism to be installed together. If the hardwood has a typical tongue and groove, another option is to use T&G (Tongue and Groove) hardwood glue to attach the planks together. This process is pretty time-consuming in order to complete an installation. Each plank tongue will have glue applied manually before joining the next plank and there is time for the glue to adhere before heavier foot traffic.

This type of installation method will potentially require additional transitions placed going in and out of rooms and can be limited to the actual size that it can be installed. In addition, floating installations are quick and easy to complete.

Reach Out to District Floor Depot for Installation Services

At District Floor Depot, our team of experts has special training in various hardwood floor installation methods. We make sure your new floors fit effortlessly into your home. With our dedication to customer service and strong work ethic, you’ll receive a five-star experience when we install your new floors. Request a consultation today!

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