How 'Not' to Install a Wood Floor - Throwback Video

As you can read about in our About Us section, James and I spent a good portion of our professional flooring careers at BuildDirect. We are proud of our time there. In fact, I am the co-founder of the company, and co-ran it for 19 years, so it will always be a big part of my life. One thing we did very successfully at BuildDirect was create a lot of YouTube videos. I have always been a believer in giving information away for free. Doing blog posts and videos that hopefully answer the public’s questions around flooring, related products, installation, cleaning, industry trends, etc. I believe that most videos are either very specific product videos, or, giving away general (or specific) information for the public to consume if they feel fit. It's YouTube, so we will we always have 0.1% of the population that isn’t happy for some reason, haters gonna hate, but after doing these videos for well over a decade, and having starred in hundreds of them and getting millions and millions of views, I am happy to report that 99.9% of the time it is well received. So I am going to keep doing them. I do them under the Word of Mouth Floors banner now, but I thought it would be fun to show one that I did several years back when I ran BuildDirect. This one has relevant information for the DIY wood flooring installation. It is about 13 minutes long and has over 1 million views. Here is the Youtube link plus below the video, I included the text transcript. Video transcripts read a bit off, honestly, it is terrible. It was transcribed by google and it really doesn’t work. So I apologize that it doesn’t read great. But thought I’d try and share anyways, the odd person may find value in it. But without seeing the video, the transcript will read like a bunch of rubbish. Really, it's unreadable. You've been warned!



Today is the 8 year anniversary that this video was posted (May 2, 2012), so here is the re-post:


Transcript (again, it is terrible, the transcription tool I used was poor and I'm embarassed to post this. But all I can do is warn you! I suggest watching the video only, but if you want to try and read along with the awful attempt at transcription, then enjoy!):

Transcription of How Not to Install a Wood Floor: This is Robert Banks co-founder BuildDirect. How to videos are great to show you how to do things, I love them. Today when you do something a little different... we are going to show you how NOT to install a wood floor. We came across a job site here that had installed some, or is in the process of, installing some engineered hardwood flooring that was purchased from BuildDirect. But I found quite a few things that I'd like to point out to you and hopefully you won't make the same mistakes and have some of the same challenges. This is an engineered hardwood floor but most of hardwood flooring engineered flooring laminate flooring any hard surface flooring installation cuz it's mostly around preparation. We should be really thinking the project through before you start most of the problems can be solved before he even begin the installation so let's get into some of the details.

Whatever type of flooring at your house the first thing you do is make sure you got the right floor you don't want to be installing the wrong colour or the wrong grade. So you open up a few boxes, check the labels and make sure it is what you actually ordered. Never just start installing. You're going to need to acclimate the product to the jobsite, that means it needs time to sit in a room for 48 hours to 7 days or even longer depending on your environment (and the type of flooring. Engineered hardwood flooring should be 7 days, laminate maybe 72 hours). Look at your installation instructions for whatever company you buy the flooring from or from the website and make sure that whatever product you're getting acclimates in the environment for the proper. Over time and it's just make sure that the movement is going to be reduced and you're not going to put it in some flooring products that's going to move a whole bunch. Once it gets used to the environment, you want to start focussing on site preparation. Okay what are your looking for in rooms, is the subfloor level? If it is not level, you have to take action to make sure that it is level. That's a different video for different time, but making sure that the environment is clean, sweep the floors, remove all debris, then its ready for a good installation. Make sure you have all the proper tools in advance. Tools to do your cuts, have all you tools for whatever type of insulation you have chosen. All of those things are readily available on your installation instructions that either come with the product or is available on the website. This video we're going to show you specific examples of what not to do and how to avoid these problems. Let's get started. 

When you're first starting you want to look at your room and decide where you going to start installing which wall even started selling off of and let's talk about walls the reality is most walls particularly in a renovation the walls are not strike in case you can't trust the wall being perfectly straight and then working your installation off of that wall cuz you're going to end up with crawling through floors going to you know fade away from you or it's going to fall off this wall so the way you avoid that is you drop a chalk line. Okay that's something again you can look it up on Google you can look it up on our website ‘how to drop a chalk line’. A chalk line is going to be a true straight line for you to start the installation from. so unless you'll find out if the wall is perfectly straighten if it is great you can install off that wall but I strongly recommend that you drop a chalk line first and then I'll give you a true straight line on which to start the installation from

Okay so let's assume that the wallet either straight or you drop your chalk line so you can have a straight line to start off a really nice flow okay so you can either buy product that has 6 planks or you can buy product that has random lengths. A lot of the products in the market place (for solid hardwood or engineered) to have random lengths. So you need to assess random length mean you'll have some pieces (from each box) that are 1 foot long, some are 3 ft 4 ft in lengths, and could be 5 ft or 6ft. It depends on the product that you've purchased. So when you're installing to make sure your room is going to flow. The longer planks are usually visually more attractive. So, you want to save those longer planks for the centre of the room. Or put them in locations where people are going to see them. Then use most of the short planks in areas that you know furniture is going to be, in closest, in the corner. You want to put those out of the way whenever you can. You want the room to have flow. In this particular installation seven rows of products have been installed. Think about the flow of the room. I want to show you how there's no flow and how they delay this healthy didn't plan it properly. And hopefully you can avoid doing the same mistake. So here's an example of poor flow. Starting on the first line which is extremely important, the whole room is going to come off that first line. There's several pieces in a row here that are short pieces and then when the next row comes up, they put another short piece in beside these three other short pieces. They have a cluster of four short pieces and it just doesn't look right and it just looks choppy. If hasn't been staggered, the visual is just not great. Alright, take a look, same here, see joint here, they should never be this close. You need at least 8 inches, I think you can get away with five or six inches, but 8 inches is what you should have. Some people say 5 or 6 inches, but I think 8.


Ripping a board:

I'm thinking on the first row here, you need to do a dry fit run. So what that means is you want to know when you're done installing off your first wall, what is the last board going to look like against the far wall? And there's a concept called ripped boards… a rip of a board (plank) just means cutting a board long ways. You are trying to avoid a plank getting ripped too thin.

okay so if you're going to do a cut do you need to make sure that if it's okay if say to 5 inch wide plank that is enough left on your cut would you rip. the 422 it'll be installed either staple play clock or glue together to that final Plank and so you don't want to have a one-inch strips you want to have ideally you know a couple of inches that there's enough for four structural Integrity there so if you're going to rip a board you want to rip a board to start with and at the end to make sure that you're is close to the middle as possible it was the first row here again planning your cuts out in advance you need to stagger your boards properly so when you have a post like this or a register that you're doing your cut in the centre of a board you know not too far to the end because you just might not be enough meet at the end of this to keep the structural Integrity years down the road so you want ideally to always cut in the centre and make sure that the board is still going to be structurally strong for many years to come and that goes for post that goes for registers almost every home installation will have to have in the install and you can find that out. Installing a floor you must use spacers okay you need to be able to give your floor engineered hardwood pork whatever floor installing floating floor application you need to be away from any solid structure your wall 3/8 of an inch away would you could be half inch or 3/4 of an inch depend on the product you're installing look at your insta what's 3/8 of an inch is it is a good gauge so let's take a look in this installation that used a spacer here for these two boards that's great they're half an inch away from the wall perfect over there another one but they didn't use it on every board so you can see already on this first row that is getting too close to the end board this is one end of the of the application let's go take a look at the new spacers are let's see what happened down at this end we have all the rose have ended up fighting against the wall and when time comes that this product going to want to move it's not have anywhere to go so you're going to have buckling pressure wood wants to move and when it moves and has nowhere to go you have problems between bubbling and different problems like that so always use your spacers and against any solid structure play the message you can do when installing a floor you can make it be a click together there could be a nail down or staple down you can glue it down or you can glue the seams and Float the Bluetooth cooler installation with a floating floor seems glued installation issue is they didn't strap the floor or they didn't put down painters tape or masking tape to hold sections of the floor together to let the glue to set so what ended up happening once they left is the bourse slowly started to pull a part and we have permanent gaps in the floor okay so we're almost at the end now don't you doing your installation a friend of mine mentioned you know installing a floor is not like having a dinner party you can have a dinner party clean up the next day that's no big deal. You can't do that when you're installing a floor. You need to clean up as you go. If glue or adhesive is involved, if it gets on the surface of your floor you need to clean it up on the spot you can't leave it for another day cuz it won't come off and it'll be a real pain to solve That okay so make sure your cleaning as you go so that sucks I love how to videos this is turned into a how not to video and really this floor needs to be torn up and these boards are going to be thrown away this is an expensive lesson to learn okay so the reason we did this video reason I really wanted to show you this is you as a customer I don't want you to have the same expensive mistake we just don't we all in all it's expensive have to make some of these similar mistake take your time plan out your project before hat do your measurements do some dry runs you know make sure you have the right product make sure you have the right grade if there's colour variation make sure you're staggering those in advance different lengths the boards told a great opportunity so I do this every day that this is an opportunity for a really good to make your home you know a special place for you and your family and so just take that extra time upfront prepare have the right tools make the right Cuts in advance use your spacers you know all these things that we've talked about in this video and please come to our website or give us a call and email us any questions you might have and always follow the installation instructions my name is Robert Banks co-founder BuildDirect, please, have a great day

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