The Hardwood Flooring Installation Process - Questions To Ask Yourself

Before installing hardwood floors there are a couple basic questions we tell our clients to ask themselves such as:

        1. Do you want the new floors to contrast or match existing floors?
        2. What direction should the new floors be installed?
        3. What width should the new floorboards be?
        4. Border work?
        5. Flush mount vents?
        6. Subfloor?
        7. Should existing hardwood floors be refinished?

Estimates and Subfloors

The estimate process helps us determine the scope of your hardwood flooring project. If there are pre-existing floors prior to the installation process we typically suggest that those floors are removed first. Typically homeowners will opt to demolish old floors themselves to save money. If homeowners wish to do the old floor demolishing themselves, we provide them with ways to make the process go smoothly.

In some cases we are able to install the new hardwood floors over pre-existing floors. Typically we recommend that homeowners not to do this since there could be a difference in floor height, especially if hardwood floors may be installed in other rooms at a later date.

If homeowners decide to have us remove pre-existing flooring then this is included in the cost of the estimate.

During the removal process, situations could potentially be discovered that we cannot foresee during the estimate process and because of this additional costs could crop up. Occasionally we discover subflooring that is rotted due to water damage. If structural issues are found and need to be corrected then a professional should be consulted as this is not in Mr. Sandman’s scope of expertise.

After existing flooring is removed, the next step is checking subflooring for any squeaking. Subfloor is re-nailed where it is necessary. Most subflooring squeaking comes from it being loose or not secure to joists. Prior to the installation process we work to remove any squeaking. Due to floor traffic, subflooring could develop squeaking over time. If squeaking continues to occur other sources like heating vents, structure attached to joints and conduit could be responsible.

Weave-In and Transitions

By removing existing flooring or by installing under-layment to build up the subfloor, new floors can usually be installed at the same level as other flooring. Homeowners may choose to have the new hardwood floor woven in to existing floor. Other homeowners don’t mind having a transition.

The transition boards can be installed at the existing floor level. Existing floors do not need to be refinished and individual flooring can be refinished at a later date. This way not all the floors need to be refinished at once. Between the two, transitioning is the least costly method.

Weaving in the new floor to existing provides aesthetically pleasing continuity of the floor, without transition boards or color distinction. This is especially useful when an addition is built or a wall is removed. Existing floors that are being woven into need to be refinished. This is performed frequently and the results are impressive.

Floor Material Options

There are many wood floor options when considering new floor installation. Starting with the many common North American wood species – red oak, white oak, maple, American cherry, hickory and walnut, as well as exotics like tigerwood, santose mahogany, Brazilian cherry, and bubinga; progressing to grades of floor, textures, and finishes. To name a few there are #1 common, select, clear grades, etc. with (not limited to) smooth, hand-scraped and distressed finishes. Mr. Sandman can provide samples and discuss pros and cons of the many options including width of floor.


Installation requires attention to original construction of the structure. For starters, when hardwood flooring is installed we must take into consideration the width of the flooring and the direction in which the hardwood will run. The direction in which we install new hardwood floors depends on the way that your floor joists run. Hardwood flooring must be installed the opposite direction of the floor joists, or on a 45 degree angle. Also, in some homes the flooring must be installed in two different directions because the floor joists switch direction.

If you want new flooring installed next to pre-existing flooring, there are a few things to consider. If you are not planning to finish the pre-existing floors, then there may be a color difference. We always do our best to match the pre-existing flooring. We cannot guarantee an exact match, but can typically come close. Another thing to keep in mind is that flooring finishes change color and sheen with age. Homeowners can contrast the new flooring by using transition boards, inlays/borders or by varying the species of wood. If you are not planning to refinish the pre-existing floors, then remember that the new floors cannot be laced and we would have to use a transition board or threshold.

Over concrete

Installing hardwood flooring over concrete is possible by installing an engineered product specifically designed for over concrete and below grade.

Stair treads and risers

Mr. Sandman can provide and install new stair treads and risers over existing stairs using your choice of wood species to match your installed hardwood floors. This is accomplished at a much more affordable price than installation of new staircase by using an overlay system.