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Can I Install Hardwood Floors Myself?

There is nothing quite like hardwood flooring. With it's durability and beauty, it’s the ideal choice for many Rim Country homeowners for both new construction and existing homes. If you’re considering hardwood floors, you have probably seen the many styles available, checked out a neighbors hardwoods, and done some early calculations to set your flooring budget. Now you may be asking the question, "Can I install hardwood floors myself?"


There is no question that installing your own hardwood flooring will be an intense do-it-yourself project.


That being said, it is not completely out of the questions if you are really looking for a full hands on home improvement project. Here’s what you need to know about the ins and outs of installing hardwood floors. Use this guide to determine if installing your own hardwood is really worth it or if you should call in professionals to do it instead.


Things to Know About Hardwood Floor Installation

Before you do anything else, evaluate your carpentry and home improvement skills. If you’ve never taken on a home DIY project, installing hardwood floors in a large area of your home would not be a recommended option. If you live in an older home or know that your subfloor has suffered damage(or if you are unable to indicate if it is damaged), you may want to leave the idea of a DIY installation in favor of hiring flooring installation professionals who can make sure that there is proper structural integrity and hardwood longevity. You’ll need basic measuring and carpentry skills to lay a floor.


You’ll also need to determine the exact type of flooring product that you’ll use. Hardwood flooring is available in both natural and engineered designs. Engineered hardwood is made up of multiple layers of wood that are positioned in different directions for enhanced strength and resistance to warping. Natural hardwood flooring is made up of solid planks of wood cut and sanded to a uniform size. Solid planks are generally attached to the flooring surface with glue or a pneumatic nailer. You’ll likely need a circular saw, jigsaw, chalk line and basic hand tools to finish the job. Without these tools installing hardwood floors is simply impossible.


Engineered hardwood can be easier to install. This type of flooring option is designed to work as "floating flooring". This type of flooring is locked together via special grooves and then glued down to an underlayment. You’ll need a circular saw, measuring tape, hammer, chalk line and tapping block. The glue used to attach engineered hardwood flooring can be a little cleaner compared to the products used for solid hardwood floors. Engineered flooring can be a good option if you don't have the experience and tools needed for natural hardwood.


As you begin shopping for hardwood floors, you'll need to decide if you want prefinished or unfinished flooring. Prefinished flooring will save on installation time. It can also help you avoid one of the most difficult and time consuming steps in installing a hardwood floor which the final sanding of the floor. You will need a drum sander during that process. Without previous knowledge or experience using this kind of sander can make it a very difficult process.


Understand Hardwood Flooring Installation Time

Installing hardwood floors is a very taxing, physical, labor. You can potentially spend hours of time either on your hands and knees or hunched over the floor. If you have bad health or a weaker body, installing flooring may be your worse nightmare. Wood will also need to take time to acclimate to your home which may take a few days. If you’re installing floors in a new home, you can count this as project downtime.


If you’re installing floors in an existing home, use the acclimation days to demolish your old flooring and prepare the subfloor for hardwood installation. Expect installation to take anywhere from one to five days depending on the size of the project and your work speed.

A professional installer like Mountain Home Interiors can finish over 1,000 square feet of flooring in a day. With their experienced team you should predict that you won't be able to do so as quickly. If your using solid or unfinished hardwood flooring you will have to budget your time for sanding and finishing the floors. This is most definitely not a project that can be done overnight, but if your willing to make the effort it can increase true value of your home.


Estimating Cost Savings By Installing Yourself

Installation represents a significant portion of the cost for hardwood flooring installation.

Many homeowners are interested in installing hardwood themselves because installation costs can make this an unaffordable flooring option. After all, installing hardwood floors costs an average of $4-10 per square foot nationwide depending on the specific floor. Of course, installation costs vary based on the flooring company you work with. Ask about average installation costs when you visit flooring showrooms. Knowing how much money you stand to save by tackling installation yourself may help you decide if you want to go DIY or pay a pro.


To calculate your approximate cost savings, determine the square footage of the area where you’ll be laying flooring. Multiply this number by the average per-square-foot installation cost quoted by flooring companies you’ve spoken with. If you don’t know what local companies charge, multiply it by four. The answer represents the approximate total cost of having hardwood flooring professionally installed. This is the amount you will save by installing the flooring yourself.


Ready to Get Started?

Whether you’d like to buy flooring and install it yourself or plan on hiring a flooring professional, our team at Mountain Home Interiors can help. Visit our showroom at 315 W Main St in Payson or call us directly! We would be more than happy to speak with you about your hardwood needs and potential things you should expect in the installation process.


Contact Payson, Arizona's superior flooring design process by clicking here.

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