Glue Down Hardwood Installation

NOTE: The tips provided here are only intended to guide your installation. You should ALWAYS follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Responsibility for the hardwood flooring installation process lies in the hands of the owner. It is always recommended to hire a professional to install your hardwood flooring, however, gluing an engineered hardwood to the subfloor is DIY friendly. Whether you plan on doing the installation on your own, or hire a contractor, it is good to know the steps of installation before you start.

Remember, once you’ve installed glue down hardwood, you’ve officially accepted its condition. It cannot be returned.

Always inspect your flooring before beginning the installation process. Look for quality of color, finish, and manufacture. Hardwoods runs can vary slightly between stain coloration. Check and work out of several boxes when you’re installing.

That’s it! You’re done and ready to enjoy your beautiful glue down engineered hardwood floors.

Preparation of the Room

In addition to preparing the materials, you also need to prepare your space and make sure it is a good fit for your new hardwood flooring.

Before you install:

  • Close all windows and doors to minimize how much moisture can come in or escape the room.
  • Allow enough time to pass from when “wet” work is completed (such as painting, laying cement, etc.).
  • Ensure all baseboards and crawl spaces are dry and well ventilated.
  • Allow a minimum drop of 3” to 10’ to direct flow of water away from the structure by putting gutters and downspouts in place outside.
  • Ensure your flooring is installed at the right grade. Engineered hardwood is the only type of hardwood flooring that can be installed at or below grade.

As always, check your manufacturer’s recommendations to determine whether the room meets all of the requirements before you install your floors.

You must also prepare your subfloors:

  • Clean your subfloors of all debris and dirt
  • Ensure the concrete is 100% dry by testing with a moisture meter
  • Sand high areas
  • Flatten dips or other low spots
  • Repair any cracks or damages
  • Have your moisture barrier ready for installation

Your subfloor is the foundation for your hardwood flooring. Without proper preparation, you jeopardize the health and longevity of your floors.

Starting Your Installation

As you begin your installation project, there are a few recommendations to follow:

  • Install all flooring at a 90 degree angle to the joists on wood subfloors
  • Plan your installation pattern by laying out the planks and strips before you begin gluing them down. The coloration might vary between boxes and this will help to give a more uniformed look.
  • Remove all base moldings and old floor coverings
  • Return any floor pieces with obvious defects
  • Pick flooring pieces that match the trim best for the perimeter of the space
  • Undercut door casings and jambs

When you’re ready to begin, find your starting point. This is typically the straightest wall in the room. Measure out from the wall and add ¾” for expansion. With chalk, mark your starting line parallel to the wall. You might want to place a holding block between the outside wall and the starting plank to hold it in place while it’s glued down.

Once ready, follow these guidelines (and your manufacturer’s guidelines) to install your glue down hardwood floors. Note, these instructions are only for engineered hardwood floors.

  • Starting from a corner, measure out equal distance from the starting wall. The measurement must be the sum of the width of the flooring plus an additional 3/8˝ (9.5 mm) to allow for 1/4˝ (6 mm) expansion space and the width of the tongue. This designates where your first row will be.
  • Cover the first two rows of planks with adhesive by following your manufacturer’s instructions. Spread a significant amount of adhesive at a 45 degree angle using a trowel. Do not apply more than you can install over in 30 minutes. *Be sure to work in a well ventilated area.
  • Install the longest, straightest boards in the first two rows. Install the widest planks in the first row. Press the board down to adhere it to the subfloor with the tongue facing the starting wall and groove along the chalk line. Use a long board as the last board of the row, then start your next row using the cut portion of that board.
  • If your boards are over 3 – 1/4″ wide, you will need to apply a bead of recommended wood glue to the locking system prior to placing it in the adhesive.
  • Start installing your second row ensuring that the first board is at least 6” longer or shorter than the board in the first row. This will give your flooring a staggered look and better joint stability.
  • Continue the process for the remaining rows. Do not walk on your freshly laid floor! Tape each row with the blue painters tape to keep them snuggly held together.

Once you’ve finished installing the last row, wait at least 24 hours (or recommended adhesive drying time) before walking on your new floors. Once your flooring is stable, install the moldings back into the wall – not the flooring! Install any transition pieces needed in adjoining rooms.

Don’t forget to hold onto a few extra planks for future repairs or projects.

Have questions? Need a little bit of extra help? We’re here for you. Start a chat with one of our flooring experts in the box on this page and get a fast answer to your flooring installation questions.

Want To Learn More?