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Oak flooring : installation and maintenance

Last modified: 2022-06-16 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

The choice to install hardwood floors in your home is positive, as wood floors are considered a timeless classic: elegant, durable, and sleek. Specifically, oak flooring is a wonderful option for those interested in a long-lasting and versatile material.

Of course, it’s important to know the process of installing and maintaining this material so you have an idea of what’s involved before opting for them. 

Installing and maintaining oak floors isn’t overly complicated. This article will offer an overview of the installation process as well as information about oak floors including the necessary tips for caring for them properly. 

Oak flooring: installation and maintenance

oak floors in living room_Oak flooring: installation and maintenance_Reno Quotes

Photo: Pexels

Oak floor installation: the basics

As with any installation or renovation project, being prepared will allow you to complete this task with success. First, we’d recommend starting with a sketch of the area or room where you’ll be installing the oak floors. The sketch should include the direction with which the wood slats will be placed.

Another important note is that hardwood must acclimate to the room temperature and humidity for 3 to 5 days before installation. We’d recommend laying the slats down and getting a feel for how you’ll want them laid out for installation. Make sure to check if there are any misshapen wood pieces and choose the straightest ones for the first 2 rows.

Here’s a list of materials necessary for this project:

  • mallet;
  • nail setter;
  • drill and drill bits;
  • pry bar;
  • tape measure and level;
  • ¾ inch spacers;
  • tapping block;
  • chalk reel;
  • flooring nailer (optional).

A level subfloor is essential for a smooth installation, with the hardwood installed over ¾ inch plywood on or above grade. Hardwood cannot be installed over concrete.

To begin installing, bear in mind that the first and last rows will need to be secured through the face of the board, where all other boards will be nailed through the tongue. Lay the first board with the groove toward the wall. Set ¾ inch spacers for the expansion gap along the length and at the end where the board and wall meet. Now, you can drive the nails through the pre-drilled holes in the boards.

Tap the next board in place using a tapping block and mallet, then countersink the nails. To begin the second row, push the board groove into the tongue of the first row and tap together. You can continue this process with the rest of the boards, remembering to stagger joints and maintain the extension gaps.

To finish, you’ll need to cut the excess underlayment. Sand and stain if this is necessary. Fill the nail holes with wood putty. Cover the expansion gap by replacing the baseboards and shoe moulding.

oak floor_Oak flooring: installation and maintenance_Reno Quotes

Source: Pexels

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Oak floor maintenance tips

Now that your new hardwood has been installed, you’ll need to know how to best care for it in order to prolong its beauty and lifespan. Here are our top tips for your oak floors:

1) Use felt pads

One of the best ways to keep your oak floors safe from scratches and defects is to use felt pads beneath every piece of furniture. This is an especially important tip in terms of any furniture that’s moving around a lot: chairs especially. These can be found in most hardware and big-box stores. Make sure to check out the different sizing options in order to choose the right ones for you!

2) Learn how to gently clean oak floors

Cleaning your oak floors should be done with a careful approach, as this material is different from those of stone, porcelain tile, ceramic tile and laminate. Although oak is a durable material, it needs to be cleaned in a specific way. Our advice is as follows:

Clean away dust, dirt and debris using a vacuum or soft-bristled broom before moving onto wet floor cleaning methods like mopping. If you’re using a vacuum, make sure to choose a high setting, as this will allow you to avoid scratching the floor. 

When mopping, we’d suggest getting a mop that’s been specifically designed for hardwood floors. String mops are not the best choice, so look for additional options on the market.

Make sure to use cleaning products that have been specifically designed for natural wood. Using a hardwood-specific cleaner will provide the proper protection without damaging the finish.

3) Know how to deal with scratches

Scratches happen and on an oak floor preventing them isn’t impossible but can prove difficult. If you find yourself with a few scratches on the surface of your oak floor, we have some tips to suggest on how to deal with them:

  • Consider using blending markers and pencils to touch up visible scratches. These are easy solutions and will work on most wood floors. Bear in mind that for certain types of oak, such as red and white, you may need to use more than one to get the colour combination right. 
  • Coconut oil is another fix for any unwanted scratches on the floor. While it won’t remove it, it will help conceal the scratch to the naked eye. This is a cost-effective way to hide the scratches without damaging your floor.
  • There are commercial products on the market that work to cover and repair scratches. If using these products, it’s important to match the colour of the floor with the available options. In most cases, these products can be applied with a microfibre cloth. 

oak floor dining room_Oak flooring: installation and maintenance_Reno Quotes

Photo: Pexels

When should I refinish my oak floors?

Although oak floors are strong and resistant, time may still wear them down. This is especially true for the top coat. So, if your oak flooring has been installed for a while, you may be wondering about the right time to add a new coat of finish. Here are some signs that the time has come:

  • There are plenty of visible scratches: As mentioned, a few scratches can be fixed simply and quickly, but when several appear on the floor it may be time to consider refinishing. This will offer your floor a uniform and beautiful finish.
  • Discolouration: It’s normal for there to be minor discolouration when it comes to a wood floor, but when you notice a heavy amount of gray and black spots, it’s time to refinish. 
  • Water damage: Water damage is another common issue with oak floors, leaving them looking dull and dingy. If you want to remedy this, refinishing is an excellent option. This can restore the natural lustre and elegance of your floors. Not to mention, it can work to prevent further water damage from spreading to other areas of the floor.

Caring for your oak floors is not as difficult as it may sound. In fact, putting a minimal amount of love and attention into this earth-born material will allow for a long-lasting and beautiful flooring option.

Would you like to continue reading on this subject? We have a few articles for you:

Would you like to have an estimation of the cost of your flooring project? Try our cost calculator!

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