Wood Flooring International
Shopping Cart
View cart ( - )
Search the Site
Gluedown Installation Instructions

Tools Required:

  • Tape measure
  • Tapping block (trimmed piece of flooring)
  • Pencil
  • Pry bar
  • Chalk line
  • Wood or plastic spacers (3/8")
  • Crosscut power saw
  • Hammer
  • 3M Blue Tape
  • Flooring adhesive: Bostik® Best & Franklin® 811 Urethane Adhesive/Mastic (Note: Use only urethane adhesives – DO NOT USE water based mastics as they will cause this floor to fail)
  • Sika System
  • On concrete slabs, which are on/below grade, we strongly recommend installing Sheet Vinyl first and then installing the wood floor on the vinyl or using the Bostik or Franklin Moisture Barrier Systems.
  • Trowel per flooring adhesive manufacturer’s recommendations.

Acceptable Subfloor types

  • Plywood (at least 1/2" thick)
  • OSB (at least 3/4" thick)
  • Existing wood floor
  • Underlayment grade particleboard
  • Concrete slab
  • Ceramic tile
  • Resilient tile & sheet vinyl

Printer-friendly version

Glue Down Installation

Make sure subfloor is tested for moisture content first and is properly prepared.

On concrete subfloors, which are on or below grade (ground level), always assume the worst and even if they measure dry, we now recommend taking the following installation steps to ensure a trouble-free installation. The cost of the precaution is little when compared to costs to rip out and replace a floor which has failed due to high moisture from the subfloor.

Method #1: Install a sheet vinyl floor first and then glue down our wood floor over the sheet vinyl. Follow the vinyl manufacturer's recommendations. An example is provided here: Sheet Vinyl Installation Instructions (PDF).

Method #2: Both Franklin and Bostik now offer Moisture Barrier Systems on which they provide a warranty that moisture will not pass through and damage your wood flooring. For Information:

Bostik Moisture Barrier System(PDF)

Franklin Moisture Barrier System (PDF)

Flooring adhesive: Bostik® Best (PDF) & Franklin® 811 Urethane Adhesive/Mastic(PDF)

(Note: Use only urethane adhesives – DO NOT USE water based mastics)

Use only the above listed flooring adhesives. DO NOT use water based adhesives! Follow adhesive instructions for proper trowel size and adhesive set time before beginning installation of flooring.

Once the spread adhesive has setup sufficiently per adhesive manufacturers instructions, lay the first row of flooring with groove facing the wall, and continue laying flooring. Always check your working lines to be sure the floor is still aligned. Use tapping block to fit planks together, but be careful not to let installed floor move on the wet adhesive while you are working.

When first section is finished, continue to spread adhesive and lay flooring section by section until installation is complete. Use a damp cloth to immediately remove any adhesive that gets on flooring surface. Warning – DO NOT allow adhesives to dry on the finished flooring as it is very difficult to remove it once dried without damaging the flooring. For info on an adhesive remover: Bostik's Ultimate Urethane Adhesive Remover (PDF). Remember to stagger end joints from row to row.

Always leave at least a 3/8" expansion space between flooring and all walls and vertical objects (such as pipes and cabinets). Use wood or plastic spacers during installation to maintain this expansion space.

Walk each section of flooring in order to make sure it is well bonded to the subfloor within the adhesive working time. Flooring planks on the perimeter of the room may require weight on them until adhesive cures enough to hold them down.

Installation Instructions

Step 1 - Preparing All Existing Wood Trim

Carefully remove any baseboards, doorway thresholds, or shoe moldings, as they can be re-used once the floor has been installed. Door casings and other vertical trim, which runs to the floor, should be undercut to avoid difficult scribing. A piece of flooring can act as a saw guide. Thoroughly sweep and vacuum all debris from the subfloor.

Step 2 - Establishing the Starter Row

First decide which direction the flooring is to be run. Then you need to layout the starting line for the first row of flooring by snapping a straight chalk line. This is the most important row, as the rest of the floor will be built off of this line so make sure it is straight and square to the room.

Step 3 - Installing the Starter Row

Start with the groove side of the flooring facing the wall and the groove on the end also facing the adjacent wall in a corner of the room. Using the longest pieces possible, so as to minimize the number of end joints in the starter row, lay the first row “dry” to the previously snapped chalk line to reveal any irregularities in the starting wall. If the starting wall is irregular, not straight, or is out of square, then scribe the first row of planks to match the variation. As the first row of planks establishes the basis for building the rest of the floor, it is very important that the first row is square, straight and true. Allow for at least ½" expansion space at all walls and other fixed objects.

Firmly set ½" temporary shims every 12" between the initial row of flooring and the walls. Make sure to shim firmly every end joint in the starter row by using a shim to span the joint so it firmly shims both pieces of flooring away from the wall. This will eliminate individual pieces of flooring in the first row from moving later on when installing subsequent rows. The shims then must be left in place throughout the installation to avoid movement of the flooring during installation. After first spreading mastic according to the mastic manufacturer instructions, install the first row, checking for a tight end fit between boards. Immediately start the second row. When fitting this row be careful to make sure you do not knock the starting row out of straight. Occasionally, you will run into pieces of flooring which are slightly bowed or out of flat. When racking out the flooring before installing by nailing or mastic, these pieces will become apparent and before using they should be set aside, crosscut and then used for either the starter or ending pieces in a row.

Step 4 - Installing Subsequent Rows

After spreading mastic out as necessary on the subfloor with the proper trowel, start each new row with the cut-off end of the previous row, making sure the ends joints of flooring are staggered at least 6" from the end joints of neighboring rows. Use a softwood “knocking block” or section of flooring against the tongue of the piece being fitted to gently tap the flooring in place, tight against adjacent pieces. Never tap against the groove side of the flooring as this may damage the surface of the flooring. Check all seams for a tight fit and move on to the next row.

Step 5 - Installing the Last Row

Usually, the last row does not allow a full width board. Scribe the last row to accommodate any irregularities in the wall, leaving a ½" expansion joint. Pull the last row tight with a prybar and shim if necessary to hold it in place.

Step 6 - Remove All the Shims

Remove all the temporary shims and apply moldings/trim to the wall to cover the expansion space. Never attach the trim to both the flooring and the walls.

After Installation

If you decide to cover the floor (to allow the other construction trades to continue working), in order to protect the floors prior to final cleanup and turnover to the owner, use rosin paper to cover the floors and only use 3M Blue Tape to hold the rosin paper to the floor. Do NOT USE plastic film or other non breathing type coverings as this can cause the floor to become damaged from humidity buildups. Also, only use the 3M Blue Tape as this tape is designed for use on finishes and other tapes may pull and damage the finish when removing it.

Remove expansion spacers and reinstall base and/or quarter round moldings to cover the expansion space.

It is suggested that you buff the floor with lambs wool pads in order to “pull any splinters”, remove any residues and handprints/foot prints, etc.

Install any transition pieces that may be needed (reducer, T-moldings, nosing, etc.).

Do not allow foot traffic or heavy furniture on floor for 24 hours.

Dust mop or vacuum your floor to remove any dirt or debris.