What are the Best Methods for Installing Flooring?

Erin J. Hill

To find the best methods for installing flooring in your home, you must first decide on the type of flooring you want to put down. The steps for installing tile, for instance, would be different than those used for installing carpet or laminate. For all types of flooring, however, your first step will be to remove any existing flooring and to make sure the sub-floor is in good condition before you proceed. This will make things easier and neater as you install your new floors.

DIY carpet installation can be labor intensive, but it can save money if done right.
DIY carpet installation can be labor intensive, but it can save money if done right.

To be sure the floor beneath your existing flooring is in good condition, check for any sagging or dipping as you walk across it. Any severe dips will likely be noticeable. If there are any problems, you may need to replace portions of the floor or add supports underneath to prevent further damage. The smoother you can make the floor underneath, the better your flooring will look once it is complete. This is especially true for tile, as an uneven floor may result in breaks or cracks.

No matter what type of new floor is being installed, any old flooring must be removed and the sub-floor must be in good condition before the job can begin.
No matter what type of new floor is being installed, any old flooring must be removed and the sub-floor must be in good condition before the job can begin.

Proper methods for installing flooring may depend on the materials you use, but there are a few things that should be kept in mind for all types of floor installation. Make sure the floor is as clean and smooth as possible. Gather the proper tools ahead of time, and rent any equipment you may need before you begin. Having everything on hand as you need it will save time and make the experience more enjoyable. You should also make sure that any flooring you choose is designed for the for which use you are intending it. For example, make sure all tiles are listed as flooring tiles and do not use indoor carpet in an outdoor setting.

When installing hardwood floors, first allow the boards to acclimate to the temperature and moisture levels in the house.
When installing hardwood floors, first allow the boards to acclimate to the temperature and moisture levels in the house.

When installing flooring that comes in pieces or tiles, make sure you measure the floor and cut pieces ahead of time when necessary. When cutting tile, check to see if you have the proper types of tile cutters before you begin. You will need a tool that can cut straight lines, as well as something that can cut curves and angles if you will need to make tiles fit around fixtures or appliances.

Be sure the suface beneath the area to be tiled is in good condition, without sags or dipping.
Be sure the suface beneath the area to be tiled is in good condition, without sags or dipping.

For tile, mark off the room using chalk so that it is separated into four equal squares. This will allow you to start from the inside and work your way out toward the walls by lining tiles up against the inside corners of each chalk square. That way, any tiles that have to be cut and made to fit will be lined up at the wall instead of being in a prominent area of the room.

Installing flooring can be time consuming and challenging if you have never attempted it, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you feel it’s necessary. You may consider hiring a professional to help with all or part of the job, or to give you advice in doing it yourself. Manuals and trade books may also be helpful in learning to lay the type of flooring you desire.

While often overlooked, it is important to properly prepare the subfloor before installing flooring.
While often overlooked, it is important to properly prepare the subfloor before installing flooring.

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