How to Install Unfinished Oak Hardwood Flooring
By Chris Deziel
Despite the ever-increasing selection of hardwood flooring materials available, oak continues to be the standard. It is one of the most abundant domestic hardwoods, and whether or not you stain it, oak blends well with a variety of decor motifs. Many homeowners opt for prefinished floorboards when they lay a new hardwood floor, because it eliminates the extra steps of sanding and finishing the floor, but a prefinished floor has a different character than one that you finish yourself. Sanding allows you to level the boards and create a smooth, integrated surface free of distracting lines and irregularities.
Installing the Floor
Level the subfloor before you begin laying the flooring. Fill depressions and gaps with floor leveling compound, and knock down high points with a belt sander. Irregularities in the subfloor produce defects such as squeaking and gaps.
Lay a moisture barrier. You can choose from several materials that you staple to the subfloor, including tar or kraft paper, vinyl sheeting and clear plastic, or you can apply a paintable plastic coating with a paint roller. The barrier is a safeguard against warping and separation.
Snap a chalk line to demarcate the first row of flooring, either down the middle of the room or against a wall. Lay the first row with its edge along the line and face-nail the boards with pairs of 2-inch finish nails. Drill a 1/8-inch hole for each nail, and separate the pairs by 8 to 12 inches. Cut the last board in the row to fit with a chop saw.
Install the rest of the boards by blind-nailing them -- which means to nail them through their tongues -- with 2-inch flooring cleats. Use a pneumatic flooring nailer or a nail gun to drive the nails.
Install the last row against the wall by cutting the bottoms of the grooves off the boards with a table saw, laying the boards in place and face-nailing them.
Sanding, Staining and Finishing
Sink the heads of all visible nails with a nail punch. Dilute a gallon of latex floor filler with water until it is pourable and spread it over the entire floor with a rubber grouting float. Work it into all the gaps between boards. Let the filler dry overnight.
Sand the floor with a drum sander and 36-grit sandpaper. Run the machine diagonally across the boards to cut down the surfaces quickly and level them, then run the machine parallel to the boards with the same grit sandpaper. Sand the edges with a flooring edger and a 36-grit disk. Vacuum the floor when you're done.
Make two more passes with the drum sander and edger, using 80- and 100-grit sandpaper. Sand the corners that you can't reach with the edger with a palm sander. Vacuum the floor and wipe it with a damp rag when you've finished sanding.
Stain the floor, if desired, by spreading stain with a paintbrush and wiping off the excess with a rag. Stain the floor in sections, brushing material on one section and wiping it off before moving on to the next. Let the stain dry overnight.
Apply a coat of sanding sealer with a flooring applicator. Let the sealer dry, then sand the floor with a floor buffer fitted with a 120-grit sanding screen. Vacuum the dust when you're done.
Apply two or three coats of clear finish, screening the floor and vacuuming after each coat except the last one. Instead of screening the last coat, install a lambswool buffer on the floor buffing machine and buff it.
- If you prefer no visible nails, glue the first and last courses instead of face-nailing them. If you use glue, don't forget to cut the moisture barrier away before spreading it on the subfloor.
- It requires skill and experience to operate floor sanding equipment properly. If you're doing it for the first time, consider hiring a professional refinisher to advise you.
Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.
Red Oak #1 Common Grade Unfinished Solid Hardwood
Red Oak #1 Common Grade Hardwood Flooring contains variations in coloration from board to board produced by the contrasting differences of heartwood and sapwood. #1 Common Grade also has some small knots and mineral streaks sporadic throughout the hardwood flooring. This flooring has a slight “Character” look to the overall appearance. Our #1 Common Grade is processed to NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) Rules allowing a slight difference in coloration between each board produced by the contrasting differences of heartwood, sapwood, small tight knots, and short mineral streaks sporadic within the wood flooring.
Hardwood Floor Depot offers a full choice of Red Oak in Plain Sawn, Rift & Quartered Sawn, Rift Sawn only, Quartered Sawn only, and Live Sawn hardwood flooring alternatives in different multiple grades as well a variety of board widths. Our solid Red Oak floors are fabricated by strict NOFMA (National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association) Guidelines. Hardwood Floor Depot works solely with NWFA certified manufacturers that start the milling process with wood that is kiln dried for 30 days at 350 degrees giving more prominent strength and quality to our material. This material is generally packaged in 1′- 7′ Random Lengths with longer lengths accessible upon demand.
These different cutting methods are all the more dimensionally stable to withstand the regular extension and compression that ordinarily happens in wood flooring. Alongside security, these cuts additionally give a generally higher hardness rating than standard cuts. Rift Sawn produces a tight straight grain running parallel to the boards. Quarter Sawn will show the straight grain alongside a “Ribbon & Fleck” like appearance. Live Sawn cut also known as “European Oak” or “French Cut”, will show all conceivable grain appearances possibly in each piece and additionally Plain Sawn. The flooring will have a four-sided tongue and groove for simplicity of installation. Recommended waste factor for this grade is between 8%-10%.
In Wall Ironing Board and Cabinet - Unfinished Oak
Maximize your laundry room space with the In Wall Ironing Board and Cabinet. This cabinet is constructed from Unfinished Oak, giving you the opportunity to stain the cabinet to match your laundry room. The In Wall Ironing Board and Cabinet includes a garment hook, two shelves for storing ironing accessories, and a heat resistant barrier for storing your iron. Give your laundry room a classic look with the In Wall Ironing Board and Cabinet.
- In Wall Ironing Board and Cabinet - Unfinished Oak Features
- Cabinet is constructed from unfinished oak, letting you stain the cupboard to match your laundry room.
- Board rotates a full 180 degrees to make it easier to use in small spaces.
- Designed to fit in between standard framing studs.
- Cabinet has two shelves to store ironing accessories.
- Includes a garment hook for hanging clothes.
- Door can easily be installed to open left or right.
- Interior measures 13.25 inches wide by 5.375 inches deep and about 43.75 inches high.
- You will need to cut out a piece of the wall measuring 14.25 inches wide by 46.25 inches high.
- Hardware is included for convenient installation to the wall.
- Heat barrier included in the cabinet for storing the iron.
- Board provides you with a 11-1/2 x 40-3/4 ironing surface.
- Board has adjustable height to accommodate you.
- Light Some assembly required.
- Contains materials identified in California Proposition 65.
- Important Product Information:
- Ground shipping only.
- Items may be drop-shipped from the manufacturer. Please allow an extra week for delivery.
- Gift wrapping not available for this item.
- Items on this page are special order and non-returnable.
Product Dimensions Additional Product Info
The above dimensions are the outside measurements of the product at the largest point. All dimensions are in inches and may be rounded up to the nearest quarter inch.
-Width: Left to right dimension
-Height: Top to bottom dimension
-Depth: Front to back dimension
-Diameter: Width of a circle at the widest point
|Ships From:||This item may ship from the manufacturer|
|Shipping Method:||Ground shipping only|
|Shipping Time:||Allow an extra week for delivery|
|Gift Wrapping:||Not available for this product|
Supreme Series 400 (Unfinished Oak)
Installation Instructions for Hide-Away® Recessed Ironing Boards Models: SUP 400, SUP 400M, and SUP 420 (Click here for detailed instructions.)
- Tape measure
- Phillips screw drive
- Stud finder
- Sheet rock saw or utility knife
The Hide-Away® ironing board is designed to be easily installed between two normal 16” center studs. First determine the desired height of the ironing board from the floor. The mounting hole dimensions indicate the standard height of 36” above the floor. This can be obtained by cutting the base of your wall opening 27” above the floor. You may adjust higher or lower according to your preference.
When selecting the exact location for your cabinet, remember to leave room for your door to open. The door can be mounted on either side of the cabinet. It is recommended that you allow at least 56-¼ inches wide and 44 inches deep clearance around the Hide-Away® Ironing Board. The Supreme Series ironing boards will swivel to either side so you will not need to be concerned about blocking a walkway. Make sure the location you choose is free of all electrical and mechanical services.
Board unfinished oak
Red Oak // Quercus rubra
Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of wood to the density of water.
A wood doesn't float, for example, if it's specific gravity is 1.00 or greater.
We display the specific gravity for each of our woods using it's kiln-dried measurement (instead of the non-dried measurement).
It's Just a Guide
The trouble with this number is that the specific gravity of a wood changes with its moisture content. So use this number just as a ballpark guide to estimate how dense a wood is. We've also compared the number to that of red oak, as red oak is the most commonly used hardwood in North America.
Why Does It Matter To You?
Most of the time, the higher the specific gravity, the more abuse your tools take. Conversely, woods with low specific gravity don't make good choices for furniture and are more difficult to create nice, strong joints with.
Just use this as a guide to help you make an informed choice.
Oak flooring is one of the simplest ways to bring strength and character to your home: but installation can cost a small fortune. However, hardwood floors are one of the best investments you can make. Oak’s rich detailing and deep tones can warm up a home and give it a timeless appeal.
Real oak will last forever if taken care of properly. While the initial cost may be high, you may never have to replace your floors again.
In fact, many historical homes still have their original hardwoods intact. If you’re ready to learn about oak floors, take a look at this guide for more information.
Red Oak vs. White Oak
There are visual differences between the species, but both are used in building and remodeling. Raw wood is a commodity, so price fluctuates and is dependant on grading, and sizing.
Pricing for both red and white oak tends to fall between $3-$6 per square foot. Expect to pay more for specialty sizing or premium quality wood.
Red oak has pink undertones and prominent graining. It has a hardness rating of 1290 on the Janka scale, a tool used to measure the density of wood. The graining gives variation to the boards and helps to hide imperfections and scratches.
White Oak is lighter with yellow or amber undertones. The surface is even, with little variation and a uniform look. White oak is a bit harder than red and has a rating of 1360 on the scale.
Once stained, there’s little difference between the oak.
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Pre-finished Vs. Unfinished Oak
You can buy oak floors in either stained or raw formats. Stained boards will cost you $2 more per square foot but are cheaper to install. On-site finishing costs can exceed $4 a square foot depending on location.
Pre-finished oak is available in various shades and textures. The stain will look even with little to no variation in color or consistency. The factory applies several layers of protective coating, dried and hardened under optimal conditions.
A benefit to buying pre-finished oak is less mess on the job site. Since there’s no need for staining and sanding, you can walk on your new floors the same day they’re installed. You won’t have to block off rooms or stay elsewhere during your remodel.
There’s also the health benefit associated with pre-stained flooring. Your family won’t be exposed to noxious odors and harmful chemicals from color and clear coat applications. These products can take days to cure and often emit fumes for several weeks.
However, buying unfinished boards is a better solution when matching existing oak floors, or when a custom color is desired. Since unfinished oak is sanded on site, it will appear flat with fewer bevels.
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Cost of Installing Oak Floors
A contractor may base your estimate on either an hourly or per project basis. Typical installation costs range between $65-$125 per hour or $4-$8 per square foot. You should get estimates from a few installers to ensure accurate pricing.
Remember, contractors often charge extra for the demolition and removal of existing materials. Expect this to add around $500-$1000 to your estimate. This fee will include haul away and disposal.
Aside from finishing and overall area, the price of installation can fluctuate by floorplan. A room with transitions and obstacles can be challenging. Your installer must make intricate cuts and carefully plan the layout.
Not all the flooring will be usable, always purchase extra. Wood is a natural material and may come with imperfections. Selecting higher grade wood will help keep waste to a minimum, but your contractor must inspect every board before installation.
In addition to culling, flooring contractors match the graining and tones for consistency. They have to mix boxes and vary lengths to create the perfect layout. The best contractors will take their time to ensure a natural pattern.
The installation process itself is straightforward but time-consuming. Flooring professionals will lay an underlayment and then nail each board to your subfloor. Even with a Pneumatic nail gun, the job is backbreaking and not for the faint of heart.
Depending on the project, many professionals can lay a floor within a day or two. If you’ve opted to have the oak finished on site, expect the process to take a week or more.
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White oak is one of the more expensive oak flooring options because it has a high Janka rating (1,360), boasts a straight-grained appearance, and is rarer than other types of oak.
English oak, overcup oak, bur oak, swamp white oak, post oak, and sessile oak are all examples of white oak woods.
While white oak flooring is more expensive than other options, it is by no means the most expensive wooden flooring option. Brazilian cherry, zebrawood, and Macassar ebony are some of the most expensive hardwood floor options available.
Can I install hardwood floors myself?
Unfortunately, hardwood is not an easy material to work with and it’s always recommended that you leave this installation to the professionals. Installing solid hardwood floors is difficult and requires extensive knowledge of how the material behaves, including expanding and contracting over time.
You’ll also need expert know-how about the conditions that hardwood thrives — and fails — in, and a mistake in this area can cost you thousands of dollars to remedy.
If you’re looking to keep costs low, though, you can discard the old flooring and remove your furniture from the installation area yourself instead of including that in the installation.
What is the most affordable oak flooring?
If you’re set on oak flooring but are concerned about the cost, red oak is the way to go. As you now know, white oak is more expensive because it has a higher score on the Janka scale and is not as common as red oak trees.
Red oak trees — also called Quercus rubra — are plentiful, which means that this material is less expensive than other options. In some instances, red oak can cost half the price of other oak flooring options.
Black oak, cherry-bark oak, water oak, and willow oak are all different types of red oak woods.
Final thoughts on Oak Floors
Oak flooring will never go out of style. Contrary to popular belief it is relatively easy to maintain. Most surface scratches are superficial and can be buffed or filled with wax.
Installation can be expensive, but the job requires more than labor. There’s no substitute for the skill and trained eye of an expert tradesman. Unless you’re confident in your ability to plan, select and install new floors, you should hire a professional.
If you’re considering investing in hardwood floors, be sure to shop around for the best quality and prices. Oak flooring is pricey compared to other materials but can last forever. You can restore the boards to look brand new even after 100 years.
Do you have oak floors in your home? Would you ever consider replacing them?
About Jeanine Hintze
Jeanine Hintze is a professional content writer, and home improvement enthusiast from Long Island.Back to Top
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