How To Prepare for Wood Floor Installation

Carpenter Laying a wooden floor
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Don't just sit back and wait for the wood floor installers to arrive and create havoc in your house. Simple preparations can mitigate the dust, muss, fuss, and damage that wood floor installers will inevitably (and often unavoidably) cause. Even though your floor installation company may promise to take certain precautions, the more you can do beforehand--the better.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 1

Here's How:

  1. Dust. Dust is the #1 problem. Most floor installers will take minimum preparations to contain the dust. You can do better: seal off rooms that will not be sanded, not just by closing the doors but by covering the doorway with plastic and masking tape. "Ad hoc" plastic curtains help only a little bit, and something like ZipWall helps even a bit more.
  2. Remove doors. Any floor installer company worth its salt will do this, but they will not necessarily safely store the doors:
    • Separating each door in the stack with a blanket.
    • Removing the doors to a different room from the workspace.
    • Re-installing the door without scratching it.
  3. Removing baseboards. The best way to get the flooring under the baseboards is to remove the baseboards, and then reinstall. Unless you have extremely unique baseboards (and who does?), this is your chance to reinstall new baseboards the second time around. In other cases, the floor installers can cut under the baseboards with a special saw and insert the flooring underneath--a less preferable method.
  1. Door trim. More problematic than baseboards--you may choose to have the flooring installed around the door trim or to cut under the trim and insert the flooring underneath. Almost no floor installers will remove door trim. If you are concerned about a 100% polished finish, then removing and reinstalling new door trim is the only way to go--but be prepared for a long road ahead.
  1. Prepare the sub-floor. What is your substrate? Is sub-floor installation part of the package? If not, many floor installers will simply "steam-roller" right over any imperfections and holes in the sub-floor (after all, is it their problem?). Get the sub-floor solid and tight ahead of time.
  2. Prepare outdoor cutting area. To encourage the floor installers to cut their floorboards (and plywood, if they are installing sub-floor) outside, make sure they have a good place to do this:
    • Access to an outdoor outlet.
    • Covered concrete patio or garage best area to work.
    • Near to doorway, so that interior access is easy.