Installing hardwood flooring requires skill and the right tools. There are so many tools that choosing just a few that are necessary is a daunting task. Professionals are likely to have their own set of tools which they will bring along but if you want to keep a few at hand to ensure the installation procedure is smooth, understanding the use of each tool is essential.
This post is a glossary of the eleven necessary tools which you will need for hardwood flooring installation so that you can wisely choose the ones to invest in.
- Equipment for health and safety
Potential for accidents and health hazards should be taken into consideration and the professionals working with the installation process must abide by all the safety regulations. There are few tools and equipment specially designed for safety and precautions. They are:
- Safety goggles- Wood dust, metal beads or fumes and spills from the finishing materials can be hazardous if they hit your eye. Safety goggles are a must to protect your eyes.
- Dust mask- Sanding and finishing the flooring will produce fine wood dust and fumes from the stains. These can cause nasal tract inflammation if you are not cautious. Dust masks and respirators give you protection against such health hazards.
- Earmuffs– Drilling, sanding and other finishing work for hardwood using high power tools lead to continuous loud noise. Exposure to such noise for a long period is damaging for the ears. Workers need to use ear muffs and plugs for this reason. They are specially designed for this purpose and cannot be substituted with earphones.
- Knee pads- Contractor grade knee pads are essential for giving protection when you have to spend hours on your knees. These pads minimize the strain to a certain extent.
- Safety gloves and boots- Protection for your feet and hands is essential when you are professionally working with hardwood flooring installation. Make sure you choose slip-resistant, comfortable to wear and recommended boots for this work. Choose heavy work gloves which have well-designed fingertips that are durable and provide a firm grip.
- Equipment for installation
There are several pieces of equipment which are required for cutting, sanding, finishing and installing the hardwood floorboards. They should be chosen wisely taking into consideration the hardwood species, type of finish that you want and the method of installation. The following are the most widely used tools for hardwood flooring installation.
- Sander- Using the sander after the floorboards are installed will ensure the finishing is smooth and even. There are different hardware specifications and sizes of the sanders and it can be difficult to invest in one that will fulfil your needs. Drum sanders are particularly efficient but require more time to complete the task as they are less aggressive. The power requirement can be adjusted depending on the model that you are investing in.
- Nailer/ nail gun- If you are choosing the nailing installation method, a nail gun is the right tool for you. The mechanism is based on compressed air which helps to shoot the nail with extreme momentum at the spot you are aiming. There are different types of nailers for different sizes of nail. There are spring-loaded nail guns where you have to strike it with a mallet to release the nail. These machines have angular configuration of 45 degrees and 90 degrees respectively and the device should be chosen based on how you are planning to place the nail.
- Rubber mallet- Wood floorboards which are joined using tongue and groove method has to be set in position for firmly joining them. One must ensure there is no gap between the boards to prevent creaking. The rubber mallet is a simple but very effective tool to ensure the boards are set in place. Tap the boards at the joints or when you are nailing them to set the boards correctly. Choose a good quality rubber mallet that will not leave any scuff marks on the floorboards.
- Level- A level is essential before you begin the flooring installation procedure. It will help you get an idea about the subfloor and whether it is even and suitable for the installation process. Invest in a large level which can accurately measure the level of the subfloor. They are usually available in four feet and six feet variants. An uneven subfloor can lead to denting and bulking of the hardwood floorboards in the future.
- Wood moisture meter- The wood must be acclimatized thoroughly before you start installing it. The wood should be completely dry to avoid problems like shrinking, cracking and buckling. Use a wood moisture meter to make sure the moisture level is just right for installation rather than relying on your eye-estimation. These meters are available in pin style and pin-less form. The pin-less meter sends an electromagnetic signal through the floorboards to check the moisture level while the pin style passes an electric current between the probes to check the same.
- Trowel- When you are using a glueing down method for installation, the trowel is essential for spreading down the glue to the subfloor. Choose a trowel that is specifically designed for wood flooring installation. Make sure that you clean the trowel before the adhesive dries up.
The above tools are all important for a successful flooring installation. If you want to invest in a few to keep them in stock before undertaking a flooring project, AA Floors can guide you and provide with some of them.