Step 1: Prepare the subfloor

Preparing the subfloor when laying engineered wood floors
Photos by: Kindra Clineff
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With a pry bar, gently remove the baseboard trim. Also remove the end caps on baseboard heaters, registers for forced-air vents, plates for floor receptacles, and any other obstructions. Add a box extender to the floor receptacles, as code requires.

Walk over every inch of the floor listening for squeaks. Wherever the existing wood flooring is loose, batten it down with ring-shank nails or Phillips-head screws, and set them flush. Fasteners should penetrate at least ¾ inch into the floor framing.

Repair loose or damaged sheet flooring. Over badly damaged floors, glue and fasten sheets of AC-grade ¼-inch plywood, with the "A" side facing up.

Check for flatness by sweeping a 10-foot straightedge across the floor. Mark the floor wherever light shows underneath the edge. Level humps with a belt sander. Fill depressions deeper than 1/8 inch with troweled-on patching compound; sand it smooth when dry.

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    Tools List

    • straightedge guide
      Straightedge
    • hand saw
      Handsaw
      for trimming door casing
    • pneumatic brad nailer
      Pneumatic brad nailer
      for fastening the first courses of flooring
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
      for cutting flooring strips to length(alternative: backsaw with a miter box
    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw
      for trimming pieaces to fit around vents and other obstacles (alternative: coping saw)
    • pneumatic staple gun
      Pnuematic staple gun
      for securing flooring to subfloor (alternative: hammer stapler)
    • notched trowel
      Notched trowel
      for spreading adhesive for glue-down installations
    • plaster trowel
      Plaster trowel
      for spreading filler to level subfloor
    • combination square
      Combination square
    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • mallet
      Mallet
    • pull bar
      Pull bar
    • tapping block
      Plastic tapping block
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • tacker hammer
      Hammer tacker
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • drill
      Drill
    • air compressor
      Air compresor

    Shopping List

    1. ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORS

    2. MASKING TAPE

    for holding together glued-down boards until the adhesive sets



    3. PATCHING COMPOUND

    used to fill low spots in subfloor



    4. 15-POUND BUILDER'S FELT

    for use as an underlayment



    5. RING-SHANK NAILS OR PHILLIPS-HEAD SCREWS

    for securing subfloor, if necessary