How Do We Install Wood Flooring in OKC?

September 9, 2019 - 2:00pm
Temple Johnson how we install wood flooring

If you thought carpet was the most popular flooring in the United States, you’d probably be right.

But that’s not because it’s the flooring most people want.

According to a 2017 survey by the National Wood Flooring Association, wood flooring is the preferred choice of the American homeowner. Wood is beautiful, durable and stylish. When it begins to wear or scratch, it doesn’t require replacement like many other floor coverings—it can be refinished. It avoids the allergy problems that can come with carpet. Wood flooring in OKC is a perfect choice because of this.

Temple Johnson Flooring has been in this business since 1927 because we truly love what we do. As lower-quality coverings and DIY installations become more common, we’re one of the flooring stores in OKC that’s still kept an installation crew made of artisans and craftsmen, not just half-trained people who can slap down a little laminate and call it a day. We keep the tradition of wood floor quality alive through proper installation techniques. And we don’t just install—we refinish, too.

What goes into a Temple Johnson Flooring installation?

Preparation

First, whether we’re installing hardwood or engineered wood, we have to prepare the floor. A proper wood floor installation begins below the wood with a well-prepared surface. To begin with, we remove any baseboard trim and possibly the baseboards themselves so there’s room underneath for flooring. A half-inch gap is left between floor and wall to make room for the wood to expand. Door casings and jambs may also need to be trimmed.

Wood is a natural, porous building material—because it is hygroscopic, i.e., it either dries or picks up moisture until it reaches equilibrium with the air. Keeping a constant humidity through the year will help with this, but it’s hard to do entirely. Small gaps are to be expected as the flooring expands and contracts.

One of the key elements that will keep wood flooring in OKC from suffering through moisture is proper floor preparation. If there have been previous moisture problems on the floor, a moisture barrier will be laid.

In addition, to avoid any dips and make sure the installation is completely integrated with the concrete, the floor will be cleaned of any adhesive and other material. A concrete floor may also need to be floated to fill in divots and depressions so the final product is perfectly level and smooth. Not all flooring stores in OKC will go to this level of effort for a quality fit and finish.

Finally, any dirt and debris will be swept up and removed.

Subfloor

If the floor is to be solid hardwood, there’s a second important step before you begin to add the top layer. Solid hardwood has to be nailed down to a subfloor layer of plywood or OSB, with a minimum of a ¾” thickness required for proper nailing. We lay a full layer of this underneath the area where the hardwood floor will be located.

Subfloor has to be checked for squeaks and sounds at the time it is laid. Though wood flooring in OKC is particularly susceptible to the temperature and humidity fluctuations that come with weather, well-installed subfloor can stop the worst of the traditional squeaky wood floor noise. We tack down the subfloor particularly carefully in any area that makes noise or doesn’t seem quite level.

Because of its susceptibility to humidity, it is unwise to install solid hardwood below grade. This makes it too easy for water to make its way in and cause boards to warp, cup or lift. Engineered wood, which requires no subfloor, is a better choice for below-grade installation or areas likely to see water, such as kitchens or bathrooms.

Layout

The next step is to lay the flooring out in the desired pattern. As you can imagine, installing wood flooring in OKC requires particular care to acclimatization of the wood. We bring the material into the installation area early to allow it to get used to the humidity and temperature of the building. This ensures that the installation is closest to the baseline of what the wood will be without expansion or contraction patterns.

Plumb lines will be laid out across the workspace to keep the floor square, and urethane is sprayed over it to keep the chalk from smudging as we work. If there is a pattern, we lay this out at the same time as well.

Installation

Once the wood is acclimated to the area where it will be installed, the next step is to lay it permanently. Wood from different batches is used together to make sure the floor has a random look, and it keeps color more consistent throughout. If a floor is laid box by box it will look more unnatural than one that has been mixed. Width and length can vary even within a box, so it’s important to have an experienced crew to keep it consistent. Our flooring store in OKC offers a wide variety of lay patterns, hand scraping and borders so you can get the look you want.

If a subfloor is used, we try to overlap lines on the subfloor with full sections of hardwood so no cuts run straight from the surface to the flooring underneath. End joints are staggered from each other so the floor has structural integrity. Adhesive is applied to engineered wood as it is laid, while solid hardwood flooring is nailed.

If the flooring for a particular job is pre-finished, this is where the job ends. However, If the wood flooring in an OKC home or business doesn’t have a surface finish yet, we still have more work to do.

Sanding

After the floor has been laid it’s time to prepare it for finishing.

Many of the installations from our OKC flooring store tend to need finishing in place. On-site finishing is a trend that’s on the rise, especially for wood flooring in OKC. Why? Probably because it’s easier to choose a finish and texture when you can see the wood actually in place inside the home. It also allows for easier mixing and testing of stains. Either engineered or solid wood products can be finished in place, depending on the product.

If the wood is not pre-finished, hand scraping, wire brushing, sanding or other finish techniques take place at this point. A large industrial sander will be used for most of the floor while the edges and more finicky areas are sanded by hand.

Cleaning

Sanding leaves behind a lot of very fine dust which can play havoc with the finishing step. Wood flooring in OKC in particular can have dust problems, especially in areas that have doors to the outside because of the wind gusts when it is opened. We use a vacuum and tack rags to get every last piece of dust off the floor before moving on to the stain process.

Staining and Finishing

Stain is applied by hand, not by machine. We use rags with either a dry or wet rag application to show the intensity of the stain, then reassess after drying to determine if any changes need to be made.

The job isn’t done once the stain is down, though. To lock in the stain and safeguard the floor, a top layer of finish has to be applied. Usually this coating will be made of polyurethane, and we apply at least two coats to make sure nothing can penetrate to the vulnerable, porous wood beneath. In between coats we screen the finish to make sure there are no imperfections. Wood flooring in OKC in particular is exposed to temperature and humidity changes as opposed to other areas in the country, so a good coating on the surface matters.

If all goes well during installation, a new job would take Temple Johnson Flooring a couple of days for preparation and laying, a couple of days for sanding and staining and a couple of days for finishing. Depending on pattern, finish, size and many other variables, though, it could take a little longer.

Your Choice for Flooring Stores in OKC

One of the most popular floor coverings in OKC is wood flooring, especially for high-end homes. Temple Johnson Flooring has been in business for almost 100 years, and our installation crews have over 150 years of experience between them. We pride ourselves on the quality of our installation. Temple Johnson Flooring is a hardwood floor specialist. Wood flooring is the only thing we sell, the only thing we install, and the only thing we refinish. Most flooring stores in OKC sell a wide variety of coverings, and they don’t necessarily have the time or experience to delve into hardwood. Temple Johnson doesn’t just provide a hardwood floor—we install it the same way we would in our own home, with the experience, quality and finish that we would expect ourselves. We’ll also help you maintain and refinish your hardwood floor.

Real hardwood flooring provides great long-term value and can stand up to anything a family can throw at it. We believe in our product and the quality that our installation and refinishing crews deliver.

Give us a call today or visit our flooring store in OKC to find out what Temple Johnson Flooring can do for your home.