Chicagoland Pro

The Hardwood Flooring Installation Process

The Hardwood Flooring Installation Process—Questions To Ask Yourself


Before installing hardwood floors there are a couple basic questions we tell our clients to ask themselves such as:


  1. Do you want the new floors laid on top of existing floors or transitioning?
  2. Do you want the new floors to contrast or match existing floors?
  3. What direction should the new floors be installed?
  4. What width should the new floorboards be?
  5. Boarder work?
  6. Flushmount vents?
  7. Subfloor?
  8. Should existing hardwood floors be refinished?

Estimates and Subfloors

The estimate process helps us determine the scope of your hardwood flooring project. If there are pre-existing floors prior to the installation process we typically suggest that those floors are removed first. Typically homeowners will opt to demolish old floors themselves to save money. If homeowners wish to do the old floor demolishing themselves, we provide them with ways to make the process go smoothly.

In some cases we are able to install the new hardwood floors over pre-existing floors. Typically we recommend that homeowners not to do this since there could be a difference in floor height, especially hardwood floors get put in other rooms at a later date.

If homeowner’s decide to have us remove pre-existing flooring then this is included in the cost of the estimate. While we can hire to have a dumpster for debris at an additional cost, we do NOT haul it away. Homeowners may opt to arrange a disposal method for debris personally.

During the removal process, situations could potentially be discovered that we cannot foresee during the estimate process and because of this additional costs could crop up. Occasionally we come across subflooring that is rotted due to water damage. If similar situations crop up that require additional work that we should have noticed during the estimate, they will be performed at no cost. If structural issues are found and need to be corrected then a carpenter will need to be contacted as this is something we do not deal with.

After prior flooring is removed, the next step is checking subflooring for any squeaking. Subfloor is re-nailed where it is necessary. Most subflooring squeaking comes from subflooring being loose or not secure to joists. Prior to the installation process we work to remove any squeaking. Due to floor traffic, subflooring could develop squeaking over time. If squeaking continues to occur other sources like heating vents, structure attached to joints and conduit could be to blame.

Lacing and Transitions

By removing existing flooring or by installing under-layment to build up the subfloor, new floors can usually be installed at the same level as other flooring. Occasionally homeowners want the new hardwood floor to be laced in with old. Other times homeowners don’t mind having a transition.
The transition boards can be installed at the existing floor’s level. Existing floors do not need to be refinished and individual flooring can be refinished at a later date. This way not all the floors need to be refinished at once. Between the two, transitioning is the least costly method.
Lacing in the new floor gives an original look. Existing floors that are being laced into need to be refinished. If we come across old floors or floors with gaps, then typically we suggest transition boards. Since additional labor needs to be done, lacing becomes the more costly method. We have successfully laced new and old floors and have had great success.


When we install hardwood flooring for homeowners we take a lot of factors into consideration. For starters, when hardwood flooring is installed we must take into consideration the width of the flooring and the direction in which the hardwood will run. Wood flooring comes in a variety of widths. The most popular width is the traditional 2 1/4″. The flooring comes in a range of lengths from 1′ to 8′. Flooring in widths up to and including four inches is nailed down. Wider widths such as five inches and up must be glued and nailed. The wider the wood you choose, the more movement you may experience with expansion and contraction. We have seen some customers decide on a mixture of different widths. The direction in which we install new hardwood floors depends on the way that your floor joists run. Hardwood flooring must be installed the opposite direction of the floor joists, or on a 45 degree angle. Also, in some homes the flooring must be installed in two different directions because the floor joists switch direction. Installing flooring on a 45 degree angle is costlier and can appear “busy” especially in smaller areas, which should be taken into consideration.

If you want new flooring installed next to pre-exisitng flooring, there are a few things to consider. If you are not planning to finish the pre-existing floors, then there may be a color difference. We always do our best to match the pre-existing flooring. We cannot guarantee an exact match, but can typically come close. Another thing to keep in mind is that flooring finishes change color and sheen with age. Homeowners can contrast the new flooring by using transition boards, inlays/borders or by varying the species of wood. If you are not planning to refinish the pre-existing floors, then remember that the new floors cannot be laced and we would have to use a transition board or threshold.

Over concrete

Installing hardwood flooring over concrete is possible, but is met with some considerations. Prior to installing solid 3/4″ nail down hardwood over concrete, 3/4″ plywood subfloor must be shat and glued to the concrete, however this does increase the level of the floor 1 1/2″. This could pose a problem with exterior doors, levels of other flooring, and appliances. Many times customers decide to have a floating laminate or veneer floor installed over a concrete subfloor.

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