How to Install a Cedar Floor in a Closet

Cedar-lined closets make your clothes smell fresh, and they repel moths and bugs.

Traditionally, the tongue-and-groove cedar planks are hung on the walls, but there's no reason you can't use it on the floors, either in addition to the wall cedar, or instead of it. Laying a cedar closet floor is similar to laying a hardwood floor, except you don't need a floor nailer or other specialized tools, since the cedar is softer wood, and closets don't get the kind of foot traffic that a regular floor does.

Use your hammer and flatbar to remove the floor trim and door threshold in the closet. Remove it carefully, as you will be reinstalling it. If there is carpet, linoleum or any other nonwood surface on the floor, pull it up, so you're dealing with a wood floor or subfloor. Use your belt sander with 80-grit sandpaper to take off the top layer of the wood and give yourself a smooth, clean, flat surface to work with. Thoroughly vacuum up all the dust.

With your tape measure, measure along one side wall of the closet (perpendicular to the doorway) for your first plank. Subtract 1/4 inch from the measurement, so the wood has a little room for expansion by the walls. Use your pencil to mark your first board at the measurement. Cut it to length on your miter saw.

Hold the plank upside down and lay a squiggly line of carpenter's glue on the back of it, from end to end. Press the piece into place with the groove side facing the wall and the tongue side facing out. Use your trim nailer to shoot in pairs of nails in the face of the board, about every 18 inches. (Note: For most closets, each plank will be long enough to entirely span the floor. If not, then lay one full piece along the wall, then cut a second piece to size to go at the end of it.)

Lay the rest of your planks in the same manner, cutting them to size and spreading carpenter's glue along the back of each. Press the groove side of each new piece against the tongue side of the preceding piece, lock them together, then shoot in your trim nails to hold it down. For the doorway, measure so the ends of the boards stop about 1/2 inch past the point where the door threshhold goes. If you have to lay more than one plank for each span, make sure to stagger the seams.

After all the planks are down, put the floor trim back on, covering up the small gaps between the floor boards and the walls. Reinstall the door threshold over the ends of the boards where they stop in the doorway.

Things You Will Need

  • Hammer
  • Flatbar
  • Belt sander with 80-grit sandpaper
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Tongue-and-groove cedar, enough to cover the floor
  • Miter saw
  • Carpenter's glue
  • Small electric trim nailer

Tip

  • There are several kinds of cedar. Make sure you're getting Eastern Red cedar, which produces that familiar cedar aroma and repels pests.

Warning

  • Wear eye protection when cutting your planks.