How to Install 3/8 Hardwood Flooring

Installing a hardwood floor may seem like a daunting task, but it's actually a fairly simple project.

Hardwood flooring is available in a variety of woods, textures and colors.Hardwood flooring is available in a variety of woods, textures and colors.
Any homeowner with the motivation and the right equipment can install 3/8-inch hardwood flooring instead of hiring a professional to do the job. With all of the modern tools available for hardwood floor installation, the task is easier than ever.
Plywood or concrete sub-floors should be in good condition.

Move all furniture and other items out of the room. The existing flooring material should be removed to expose the sub-floor, which must be clean and dry. Cut out any damaged areas with a handsaw, and nail or glue in new sections of sub-floor material. Roll out the hardwood underlay material, and staple or nail it into place.

New hardwood flooring should be allowed to acclimate to the atmosphere.

Open the hardwood flooring package, and remove the wood flooring. Scatter the wood planks across the room, and mix up the boards from the different boxes. Different boxes of the same hardwood can vary noticeably in color and grain. Mixing the pieces ensures that shade variations look random after installation. Give the wood a minimum of 48 hours to acclimate to the interior temperature and atmosphere. Otherwise, they may expand or shrink considerably after installation.

The first row of hardwood is screwed in place to prevent shifting.

Place the first plank in place against the wall. Use a power drill with a 3/8-inch drill bit to drill two holes in each end of the plank. These holes will be filled in later. Holding the plank firmly in place against the wall, install screws in the pre-drilled holes through the sub floor. Fit the next board firmly against the first board and flush with the wall. Tamp it into place using a rubber mallet. Screw the second board into place in the same manner as the first, and continue along the entire length of the wall. This will be the foundation line for all subsequent rows that will be nailed or glued in place.

Secure the flooring with either a wood floor stapler or pneumatic nailer, which can be rented from a home improvement store. Be sure it is designed to accommodate 3/8-inch flooring. Some units come with an adapter plate for use with 3/8-inch wood planks. The rental representative will be able to make a recommendation based on the hardwood material being installed. Use the mallet to tamp each board into place, secure the board beneath the feet or knees and nail or staple roughly every five inches. Ensure each piece is locked tightly into place. The interlocking tongue-and-groove construction is meant to fit each board flush together.

Stagger the boards during installation according to personal preference and design. Some hardwood patterns are meant to be installed in a straight continuous pattern, while others should be staggered at one-third intervals. Cut the boards to fit around door jams and corners using a handsaw, and fill in wood holes using wood putty.

Things You Will Need

  • Handsaw
  • Flooring underlay
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Power drill
  • 3/8-inch screws
  • Rubber mallet
  • Wood floor stapler or pneumatic nailer
  • Glue-coated staples or nails
  • Wood putty

Tip

  • Flooring can also be glued in place. Coat the underside of the board with hardwood flooring glue, position the board in place and tap it with a rubber mallet to fit tightly with the surrounding boards.

About the Author

Sara Melone is a mother of three and a graduate of UNH. With prior careers in insurance and finance, photography, as well as certifications in fitness and nutrition, Melone draws directly from past experience and varying interests. She contributes with equal passion to birth journals, investment blogs, and self-help websites.