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
Tools You Will Need:
2. Handsaw for trimming door casing
3. Pneumatic brad nailer for fastening the first courses of flooring
4. Miter saw for cutting flooring strips to length(alternative: backsaw with a miter box
5. Jigsaw for trimming pieaces to fit around vents and other obstacles (alternative: coping saw)
6. Pnuematic staple gun for securing flooring to subfloor (alternative: hammer stapler)
7. Notched trowel for spreading adhesive for glue-down installations
8. Plaster trowel for spreading filler to level subfloor
9. Combination square
10. Utility knife
12. Pull bar
13. Plastic tapping block
15. Hammer tacker
16. Tape measure
18. Air compresor
Jeff Hosking, a flooring consultant for This Old House, first began laying floors 35 years ago. Back then, 90 percent of his work was installing solid-wood strips with nails. But now, half of the flooring he installs is engineered—made of thin sheets of wood glued together like plywood.
Solid wood is classic and can last a century, but engineered flooring offers a quicker, easier way to get a new floor, and it comes with a durable factory-applied finish.
Because it's laminated, it's more stable than solid wood, so you can put it over concrete or radiant floors, and not worry about warping. And Hosking says the finishes are far more durable than anything he can apply on-site.
Top-of-the-line engineered strips range from about $8 to $12 per square foot. That's higher than solid-wood planks, but homeowners can offset the expense by tackling the installation themselves.