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How to Install Floating Hardwood Floors

A floating hardwood floor isn't secured to a subfloor, doesn't require nailing, can be removed easily, and still looks great. Here's how to install one.


  • Step 1: Take the door off Remove the doors and any existing floor covering. Draw a line with a pencil on the floor in the center of the door space, from doorjamb to doorjamb, so you'll know how much to trim the flooring so that it extends halfway under the door.
  • TIP: If you don't want to bother removing the baseboards, you can install quarter-round molding trim after you install the hardwood floor.
  • Step 2: Put down an underlayment Put down an underlayment, the foam padding that goes under a floating hardwood floor. Use masking tape to secure the pieces down where they meet so they don’t overlap. Place the underlayment from wall to wall without any gaps.
  • Step 3: Put down the first plank Start in a corner and put down the first plank, allowing about 1/4 inch space from the wall. Take the next plank and snap it to the end of the first one. Continue this way until you reach the other side of the room.
  • TIP: If you're having trouble getting the planks to lock in place, use a hammer and tapping block to secure the wood planks to each other.
  • Step 4: Trim the last plank If need be, use a hand or power saw to cut the final plank in the row so that it ends about 1/4 inch from the wall.
  • Step 5: Cut the first plank of the second row Cut the first plank of the second row so that it is a different length than the first plank you put down, and continue varying the length of the first plank in each row so that when the room is finished, the planks are not sitting side by side, but are in a random pattern. Start every fourth or fifth row with a full-size plank.
  • Step 6: Trim the last row When you get to the final row, use your saw to make any necessary adjustments to the width of the planks. Keep it mind that most rooms are not perfectly square, so each plank will require tailoring.
  • TIP: Trim the bottom If you have carpet on the other side of a door, fold it under itself and tack it down so there's a smooth transition from carpet to wood.
  • Step 7: Adjust plank for the door Make any necessary adjustments to the planks under the doors so that they line up with the pencil lines you marked earlier. Use a hand or power saw to cut notches in the plank to accommodate the doorjambs.
  • Step 8: Trim the bottom Reinstall the doors and baseboards, or install the trim around the new floor. Then replace your furniture and enjoy your new floating hardwood floor!
  • FACT: 75 percent of real estate agents surveyed said that a house with hardwood floors sells faster than a carpeted house.

You Will Need

  • Pencil
  • Underlayment
  • Masking tape
  • Hammer
  • Tapping block
  • Lock-and-fold floating hardwood flooring
  • Saw
  • Quarter-round trim molding (optional)
  • Tack strip (optional)

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