Updated at: 08-08-2022 - By: cnbusinessnews

How do you install engineered hardwood flooring correctly? When your new flooring arrives, you want to make a statement straight away. Determine the best way of installation for you and your home.

Engineered wood flooring has four different ways of installation, all of which may be learned in a short period of time. Even if you’re just curious about the procedure, this article will help you get started.

What Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

In comparison to solid hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood is better suited to withstand variations in moisture and humidity.

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Glue, nail, staple, or float are all options for installing engineered hardwoods, depending on the subfloor.

Regardless of the approach you use, you’ll need to clean, level, and adjust door clearance on the subfloor. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s acclimatization guidelines.

Engineered Wood Installation Preparation

Preparing the engineered wood planks and the subfloor is the first step in a successful flooring installation. By following these guidelines, you can have beautiful new flooring for many years to come.

Plank Prep

Your new floor should not be installed immediately after it arrives. The planks should be exposed to the room’s temperature before installation.

Humidity can cause a floor to buckle in engineered wood if it isn’t properly acclimated. Prior to installation, let the planks sit for at least 24 hours to allow them to acclimate to the room’s temperature.


Work on the subfloor for new flooring while your floor is getting used to the room’s climate. Remove the baseboards, any old nails or staples, and any loose dirt from the floor or walls.


You should always install engineered wood over an underlayment. Protecting your flooring from moisture, noise, and faults in the subfloor are all benefits of moisture barriers and underlayment. Engineered wood planks will last longer with this additional support beneath them.

Engineered Flooring Installation Safety

Because you’ll be doing a lot of kneeling when you’re installing your new engineered floor, we highly recommend investing in a good pair of knee protection. In addition to eye protection and dust masks, we also recommend ear protection for power equipment.

Installing Engineered Flooring Underlay

Apply your engineered underlay after the surface has been prepared. Unroll a roll from the wall and place it at one end of the room. Trim the opposite end using scissors or a knife. Make your way across the room, being careful not to overlap any of the edges or produce an uneven floor. If the thin Damp Proof Membrane is wider than the rest of the underlay, it must be overlapped. Make sure the DPM extends slightly up the wall to protect the boards’ edges from the pipes, but leave a 10mm gap around them.

Engineered Floor Fitting

At the room’s perimeter, avoid using boards that are less than 60 millimeters broad (that is width, not length). Calculate your board’s width by dividing the length of your room by the width of your measurement tape. This will let you know how many boards broad the room is, as well as how wide the final board is going to be. If your first board’s width is less than 60mm, thin it out a bit so that both boards have a width of more than 60mm.

  • Work your way around a corner, starting at the left and making your way to the right. The grooved end is placed against the interior wall. Keep the 10mm expansion gap by using expansion spacers along the wall. Your engineered flooring could be harmed if you don’t leave a small gap between the floor and the wall.
  • Fit the tongues together at 30 degrees from the floor before lowering the floorboard to a level and locking it in place for the next floorboard. Keep going until you reach the end of the row.
  • If the last board in a row is too lengthy, you’ll have to chop it down. By laying it next to the preceding board and turning it 180 degrees, you can get an accurate reading of the gap’s size (remember to use an expansion spacer). Tri-square and a pencil are all that is needed to draw a straight line from one board to another. The board can now be cut to size and inserted into place at the very end of the row, its freshly cut side pointing toward the wall.
  • Using the off-cut from the previous row as the first board in the second row – cut side facing wall – is recommended if it is longer than 30cm. If it’s too short, you may always use a board that’s been chopped in half. This ensures that the ends of boards are at least 30cm apart.
  • Insert at a 30 degree angle and push down to lock into place; the locking mechanism is the same for both ends.
  • In order to cut the last row of planks lengthwise, lay the planks out as shown below. In order to get the center plank to fit snugly up against the wall, draw a line down its edge.

Fitting Engineered Flooring Around Pipes

If you’re installing engineered flooring around any pipes, make a notation on the floorboard you’re laying to indicate where the pipes are. Using an angle saw, cut a wedge out of the board by drilling a hole that is about 16mm wider in diameter than the pipe. To attach the board, use a little off-cut wedge as a glue stick behind the pipe.

Installing Engineered Flooring in Large Rooms

Wooden boards grow across their width (the boards), not their length, thus it’s crucial to note this while constructing engineered floors (along the boards). While the length of a space isn’t important, the breadth should be. It’s as simple as dividing the floor into portions and leaving an expansion space between each section. The gap can be disguised by using a threshold trim or other similar product. Please be aware that various manufacturers’ specifications differ on the maximum width of a room, so be sure to check with your individual floor.

Glue Down Installation

Adhesive manufacturer’s instructions and these instructions should be followed regardless of whether you use the dry or wet form of installation. It is possible to void the floor’s guarantee if you do not abide by the instructions provided.

1. Select A Starter Wall

A straight and square room is more likely to be achieved if the installation begins along an outer wall. Measure the length of two planks from the wall and snap a chalk line at each end of the room.

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2. Spread The Adhesive

  • To apply the moisture cured urethane wood flooring adhesive, use the recommended trowel size as provided by the glue manufacturer.
  • To ensure a strong and long-lasting adhesion between the adhesive and the subfloor, it’s critical to apply it with a trowel set at a 45-degree angle. Incorrect bonding might lead to hollow or loose areas.
  • The notches on the trowel wear out with time, so be sure to replace it every 2,000 to 3,000 SF. This helps to ensure that the adhesive is applied evenly.

3. Begin Installing The Flooring

  • Start by laying down the first row of starter planks with their tongues towards the starter wall and then nailing them in place.
  • A straight edge can be secured along the chalk line, or the first row can be top-nailed with finishing nails (wood subfloor) or sprig/pin nails. Alignment is crucial (concrete subfloor). This prevents the planks from slipping, which might lead to alignment issues.
  • Because most walls are not straight, it may be necessary to scribe and cut the planks along the wall to fit.
  • Spread 2 1/2′′ to 3 feet of glue down the room’s length after the beginning rows are in place. Adhesive should never be applied in excess of two hours.
  • The tongue of the plank or strip should be pressed firmly into the glue; do not slide planks or strips through the adhesive.
  • Using a rubber mallet to butt the ends together might create burnishing and marring of the finish. Planks should be fitted together tightly at the side and butt ends using a tapping block.
  • Use terry cloth towels, mineral spirits, or the adhesive manufacturer’s glue remover product to remove any adhesive from the surface before it has a chance to harden..
  • Use straps to keep the planks in place when you install them and keep doing so throughout the operation.
  • Make sure you don’t operate on top of the floor when installing.
  • After 12 hours, light foot traffic is permitted, but the straps must be removed 24 hours later.

Staple/Nail Installation

Staples or flooring cleats can be used to lay engineered hardwood floors over wood subfloors. Staining engineered wood planks or strips with a flooring stapler and nailer suited for their thickness is essential when installing engineered wood flooring.

1. Choose The Proper Floor Stapler

  • Use a 20 gauge, 1 inch staple with a 1/8 inch crown for objects up to 3 inches broad and 1/2 inch thick.
  • Use an 18 gauge 1-1/4′′ staple or longer with a 1/4′′ crown when installing a 5′′ wide product.
  • A 3/4′′ solid wood flooring nailer or stapler of any brand can be used to nail or staple 3/4′′ thick engineered planks. A staple or cleat of the specified length must be used for 3/4-inch solid wood installations, and the recommended nailing schedule must also be followed.
  • Some flooring staplers require an adaptor to fit the thickness of the wood.

2. Install A Polyethlene Layer

  • Engineered wood items that are less than 3 inches wide must be stapled or nailed every 4 to 6 inches along the edges. As a result, you can rest assured that the job will be done right.
  • Initially, the compressor should be set at 80 PSI and the pressure can be adjusted as necessary to ensure that the fastener is properly placed and that the staples do not go through or break the tongues.
  • It is possible for squeaks in the floor to be caused by poor stapling practices. Adjustments may be required to ensure that the nail or staple is properly inserted into the nail bed. Ensure that the nail pocket is completely filled with it before placing it in place.
  • Scrap flooring material can be used as a guide for setting tools before installation.
  • Install a 6-mil polyethylene covering on the ground before installing the engineered flooring. Using a crawlspace and a wood subfloor, go about 6 inches up the foundation walls.
  • An aggressive tape, such as Duct tape, should be used to secure the 6-mil poly’s seams to the foundation walls. Moisture discharged from the soil will be held back if this is done.
  • Before installing engineered wood flooring on top of the subfloor, a 6-mil polyethylene layer or a 15 1b felt or resin paper must be placed on top of it. There is less noise coming from the next floors thanks to this method.
  • Using Polyethylene 6 mil Allow a three-inch excess around the perimeter of the polyethylene to keep it from chafing against the floor. As much as six inches should be added to the previous run of polyethylene for each subsequent run.

3. Begin Installing The Flooring

  • Organize the task at hand. When putting 2 1/4′′ strip flooring or 3 1/2′′ planks, measure out from the ends of your starting wall 2 3/4′′ or 3 1/2′′. Identify both ends.
  • Lay the flooring at a 90-degree angle to the floor joists if at all possible.
  • To begin, draw a chalk line along the wall where you made your marks, using the chalk.
  • Consider the need for additional space around the perimeter of any rooms where you plan to install this product. If the product is 3/8′′ thick, it needs 3/8′′ of expansion space; if the product is 1/2′′ thick it needs 1/2′′ of expansion space; and if the product is 3/4′′ thick it needs a full 3/4′′ of expansion space.
  • Make sure the tongue of the planks is pointing away from the wall and aligned with the chalk line you’ve drawn.
  • In order to fasten the first starter row along the wall edge, use brads or small finishing nails every 4 to 6 inches along the side and at the ends.
  • Apply a color-coordinated filler to the nail holes and countersink them to match the flooring.
  • In a dark grain area of the board, nail the screws. The nails will be covered by the base or shoe molding after the installation is complete.
  • The tongues are pierced with a 45-degree blind nail.
  • Pre-drilling holes in the tongues will make this process much more efficient and less time-consuming.
  • Nail every 4 to 6 inches down the sides, 1 to 2 inches from the ends. The next two rows will necessitate blind nailing.
  • A brad nailer with 1″ to 1 3/8″ brads can also be used to blind nail and no pre-drilling is needed.
  • No pre-drilling is required when using a brad nailer with 1′′ to 1 3/8′′ brads for blind nailing.

How to Install Staple-Down Engineered Hardwood

  1. Create a room boundary using spacers, leaving a 14-inch gap between the wall and boards on all sides.
  2. The first row of boards should be pre-drilled and nailed down with finishing nails about 1 inch away from the wall and every 3-4 inches along the length of the plank, with the tongue facing the middle of the room.
  3. Then, use a nail-punch to countersink the nails and fill the hole with a wood filler that matches the color of the wood.
  4. Staples should be driven at a 45-degree angle above the plank’s tongue when installing the next rows. This procedure should be repeated every 3-4 inches along the board’s length. Avoid damaging the tongue and groove system with staples.
  5. Measure the distance between your last plank and the wall, and then mark and cut the following plank accordingly if you run out of room. To see how to cut the fabric, see the part above.
  6. Stagger the boards by starting the new row with the six-inch-long cut ends of the previous row.
  7. Remove the spacers and add the transition strips and molding when the floor is entirely coated.

Allow 24 hours for high traffic and furniture installation after planks are put.


Do you still have concerns or questions concerning the various installation procedures now that you’ve learned more about them? Do not be alarmed! Check out our most frequently asked questions to learn more about your engineered wood floor.

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Is engineered hardwood waterproof?

Engineered wood resists water better than solid hardwood because of its multi-layered architecture and robust core. However, only planks with an SPC core are completely watertight.

Can I install engineered hardwood myself?

It is possible to install engineered wood flooring in four different ways, and all of them can be done by the homeowner. In contrast to the floating floor approach, glue-down, nail-down, and staple-down procedures can be used without a professional. To obtain detailed installation instructions, speak with the flooring manufacturer.

How should engineered hardwood flooring be installed?

It is possible to install engineered wood flooring in four ways. In a matter of minutes, you may install a beautiful new floor by floating it, gluing it down, nailing it down, or stapleing it down.

The “best” way depends on your familiarity with various tools and the environment in which it is installed. Floating floor installation, for example, does not necessitate the use of power tools and is ideal for residential areas with minimal traffic. Whereas, for commercial applications, nail-down installation employs a nail gun.

Is it better to glue or float an engineered wood floor?

High-traffic areas are best served by glued-down engineered wood, which is a more lasting flooring option. The installation process for floating engineered hardwood is easier for the do-it-yourselfer because it is designed specifically for home use. To select whether to glue or float engineered hardwood, you need to know what your flooring needs are and how comfortable you are with installing flooring.

How long do engineered hardwood floors last?

From 20 to 80 years, engineered wood flooring can be expected to last. The life of the floor depends on the thickness of the plank, the wear layer, and how well you care for your flooring… Thinner planks may only last 20-30 years, whereas thicker ones may endure 40-80 years or more.

Is underlayment necessary for engineered hardwood floors?

When installing engineered wood flooring, it’s crucial to use underlayment. It prevents moisture from accumulating beneath your floors, keeps them warm, minimizes noise, and evens out any flaws in the subfloor. Your engineered wood flooring will last longer with this added support. Some engineered hardwood floors come with underlayment already connected, making installation even easier.

Can you lay engineered hardwood over hardwood?

Solid hardwood floors, laminate, vinyl, and engineered hardwood can all be floated on top of engineered hardwood. When putting over an existing floor, glue-down or nail-down methods are not suggested.

Where may engineered hardwood be installed?

Using engineered hardwood in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and basements is possible due to its great water resistance. As long as you don’t abuse it, engineered wood can be used in both commercial and residential contexts. No part of your house is off limits, either. It’s possible to have planks with a connected underlayment that are ready to go in any room of the house.

Is it necessary to acclimatize engineered wood prior to installation?

There must be at least 24 hours of adjustment to the temperature and humidity of the new location before installing engineered hardwood. To ensure effective installation and long-term durability, engineered hardwood requires acclimatization to the environment in which it will be installed.

How do you cut engineered hardwood?

With the correct equipment, cutting engineered hardwood is a cinch. To begin, sawing the planks while wearing a mask is highly recommended for your own protection. Make a mark on the top side of the board using chalk or a pencil before cutting according to the directions that came with your flooring. Finally, cut the plank with the finished side up using a table saw, miter saw, circular saw, or hand saw.


With the correct equipment, cutting engineered hardwood is a cinch. To begin, sawing the planks while wearing a mask is highly recommended for your own protection. Make a mark on the top side of the board using chalk or a pencil before cutting according to the directions that came with your flooring. Finally, cut the plank with the finished side up using a table saw, miter saw, circular saw, or hand saw.