How to Install Your Own Hard Wood Floors


  1. Remove old carpet. Easier to cut carpet down the middle to make it lighter to carry.

  2. Remove carpet padding

  3. Remove tack strips with pry bar

  4. Remove staples with pliers

  5. Nail down all nail heads to create flat subfloor

  6. Lay down moisture barrier and staple it (used staple gun with air compressor)

  7. Most difficult part was removing old wood at door frame. Since it was put in tooth its very difficult to pry it out. Ended up using dremel to cut it out.

  8. Buy wood (I got rustic hickory in 3 1/4” and 5” planks unfinished from original company who put floors in house).

  9. Start first row and use finish nailer to lay first couple rows. Bought plastic spacers on amazon to keep 1/2” gap from baseboard. 10. Use rubber mallet to get rid of spaces

  10. First row needed thinner cut so used table saw

  11. Used circular saw to cut off last plank to fit

  12. Repeat and put down more moisture barrier with staples with overlap.

  13. For custom to fit places around doors used jig saw. Can always use wood putty layer if not perfect.

  14. I had tile-wood interface for bathroom that needed custom piece. Heights were different so had to cut at angle to fit 1” wide strip.

  15. Cut to fit last row and use pull bar to seal gaps with rubber mallet.

  16. Fill in imperfections/holes with wood putty

  17. Rented drum sander and got 36/60/80 grit paper for it. Did two passes with ease grit.

  18. Used corner finish sander for outside. In between sands vacuum up saw dust

  19. Final 120grit sand

  20. Vacuum and used mineral spirits with hand towel to wipe down boards to remove last bit dust.

  21. Let dry for day and applied painters tape around edge of room and doors

  22. Custom stained using two parts ebony-one part red mahogany. This was general directions. I didnt measure exactly. Put mixture into paint tray.

  23. Started far end with applicator and handle. Worked my way down.

  24. Waited awhile to dry and applied second coat stain

  25. Waited 48 hours to dry

  26. Switched to water based poly as we have pets and kid and couldnt leave house for 2-3 days

  27. Mixed poly per directions and applied with applicator. Poured poly lengthwise across room and brushed it on (per youtube videos)

  28. Wait 2 hrs in between coats

  29. Applied 3 coats

  30. Screen with 120/220grit paper and apply final topcoat poly

  31. Done

  32. Begin second bedroom

Made a time lapse video of me installing unfinished hardwood floors, sanding, staining, and finally poly top coat.

Overall pretty happy. Its not as silky smooth as original floors are but its not high traffic area. I may try sanding again with 120/220. I know second room will be a lot easier and better overall from just practice.

Lots of tools supplies needed but just follow youtube videos to figure out what to do. Most difficult DIY project Ive done so far. Very time consuming but worth it. Company wanted $5500 for two bedrooms and I have $1800 in materials but that can fluctuate based on what you have in tools already.


Bostitch Air Compressor Package (Finish nailer, brad nailer, staple gun) with compressor tank

Bostitch Flooring nailer

Minwax Red Mahogany

Duraseal Ebony

Varathane water based flooring poly – semigloss

Pry Bar

Pull Bar

Rustic Hickory Planks in 3 1/4″ + 5″ alternating

Moisture Barrier

Plastic spacers from amazon

Stain Applicator

Extension Poll

Painters tape

Measuring Tape

Ryobi Circular Saw

Ryobi Jig Saw

Ryobi table saw

Eye protection

Knee pads

Ear Protection (costco kit with wireless bluetooth speakers)

Aspirator Mask

Plastic painters wrap

Rigid Shop Vac

Wood Putty with spade

Rented drum sander – 36/60/80/120 grit paper

Black and Decker finish corner sander

Mineral Spirits

Used fan from my son’s blowup bounch house to dry it out