How to Install Hardwood Floors Upstairs

To install hardwood floors upstairs, begin by preparing the subfloor and ensuring it is clean and level. Then, lay down a vapor barrier before installing the flooring planks row by row, starting from a corner of the room and working towards the opposite wall.

Factors To Consider When Selecting Hardwood Floors

When selecting hardwood floors for upstairs installation, there are several factors to consider that can greatly impact your decision. Durability and hardness of the wood species play a crucial role in ensuring longevity and minimizing wear and tear. Some hardwood species, such as oak and maple, are known for their resilience and ability to withstand heavy foot traffic. Additionally, hardwood floors should complement the overall aesthetic of your space, so considering the wood species and grain pattern is important. Each species has its own unique grain pattern, giving your floors a distinct look. Finally, color and finish options should be taken into account to match your desired interior design style. Whether you prefer a lighter or darker color, there is a wide range of finishes available, such as matte or glossy, to suit your taste.

Tools And Materials Needed For Installation

Installing hardwood floors upstairs can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and materials, the process can be smooth and efficient. Here is a list of the essential tools and materials you will need:

Hardwood FlooringChoose the type and color of hardwood flooring that suits your preferences and the decor of your space.
UnderlaymentAn underlayment helps to minimize noise and provides a cushioning effect between the subfloor and the hardwood flooring.
Moisture BarrierA moisture barrier is essential to prevent any moisture from seeping through the subfloor and damaging the hardwood floors.
Nails or StaplesChoose nails or staples suitable for hardwood flooring installation, ensuring a secure and long-lasting installation.
Hammer or Pneumatic Nail GunA hammer or pneumatic nail gun is required to secure the nails or staples into the hardwood flooring and subfloor.
Circular Saw or JigsawA circular saw or jigsaw is necessary for cutting the hardwood flooring to fit around corners, edges, and obstacles.
Tape Measure and Chalk LineAccurate measurements are essential, and a tape measure and chalk line will help you mark and cut the hardwood flooring precisely.
Trowel and Tapping BlockA trowel is needed to apply adhesive or leveling compound, while a tapping block will help you fit the hardwood floorboards tightly together.

By having all these tools and materials ready before you start, you can ensure a smooth and successful installation of hardwood floors upstairs.

Measuring And Calculating The Amount Of Flooring Needed

Measuring and calculating the amount of flooring needed for installing hardwood floors upstairs requires taking accurate room dimensions. Start by measuring the length and width of each room. To account for doorways and closet space, measure the dimensions of these areas separately and subtract them from the total room measurements. This will give you the net floor area that needs to be covered.

Once you have the net floor area, it’s important to include a wastage percentage to account for any mistakes or future repairs. A common wastage percentage is around 10%, but it may vary depending on the specific installation. To calculate the amount of flooring needed, multiply the net floor area by the wastage percentage, then add it back to the net floor area to get the total amount of flooring required.

By accurately measuring room dimensions, accounting for doorways and closets, and including a wastage percentage, you can ensure you have the right amount of hardwood flooring for your upstairs installation project.

Removing Existing Flooring And Preparing The Subfloor

Cleaning and Removing Debris: Before installing hardwood floors upstairs, it is crucial to thoroughly clean the subfloor and remove any debris. Clean the area using a broom and vacuum to ensure no dirt, dust, or loose particles remain.

Assessing Subfloor Condition: Next, assess the condition of the subfloor. Look for any signs of damage, such as unevenness, sagging, or squeaking. Addressing these issues before installation is essential for a stable and durable hardwood floor.

Making Necessary Repairs: If any damage or inconsistencies in the subfloor are found, make the necessary repairs. This could include replacing damaged boards, reinforcing weak areas, or leveling the surface. A solid and even subfloor will provide a solid foundation for your hardwood floors.

Installing Moisture Barrier: Finally, install a moisture barrier to prevent any moisture from seeping into the hardwood floors. This layer acts as a protective shield against moisture-related issues, such as warping or cupping. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper installation.

Acclimating The Flooring

When installing hardwood floors upstairs, it is crucial to acclimate the flooring before installation. Acclimating the hardwood allows it to adjust to the temperature and humidity conditions of the space, preventing future problems such as shrinking or expanding of the planks.

To acclimate the flooring, start by unpacking the hardwood from its packaging and removing any plastic wrap. Store the planks in the room where they will be installed for a minimum of 72 hours. This will allow the wood to naturally adjust to the climate of the space, ensuring a more stable installation.

During this acclimation period, it is important to provide proper airflow to the planks. Avoid stacking the hardwood directly on top of each other; instead, leave space between the planks and use stickers or spacers to allow air to circulate around them. This will promote better acclimation and reduce the risk of movement or warping after installation.

Laying The First Row Of Flooring

Laying the First Row of Flooring

The first step in installing hardwood floors upstairs is laying the first row of flooring. To do this, you need to determine the starting point and create a straight reference line. Here’s how:

  1. Determining the Starting Point: Start by determining the best starting point for your hardwood floor installation. Consider factors such as the direction of the floor joists, measurements, and aesthetic appeal.
  2. Creating a Straight Reference Line: Once you’ve decided on the starting point, use a chalk line or laser level to create a straight reference line. This line will serve as a guide for laying the first row of flooring and ensuring it is straight.
  3. Installing the First Row of Flooring: With the reference line in place, carefully place and secure the first row of flooring. Use a combination of nails or adhesive, depending on your specific installation method.

By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to successfully installing hardwood floors upstairs. Remember to take measurements and plan accordingly for a seamless installation.

Installing The Remaining Rows

Proper spacing and alignment are crucial when installing hardwood floors upstairs. One way to ensure this is by using spacers and tapping blocks. Spacers help maintain the appropriate gap between the last row and the wall, allowing for expansion and contraction. Tapping blocks, on the other hand, are used to gently tap the boards into place, ensuring they are snugly fit together.

Once the boards are properly aligned, the next step is to firmly secure them in place. This can be done by either nailing or stapling each piece. Using a pneumatic nailer or a flooring stapler, carefully drive nails or staples through the tongue of each board at an angle. Be sure to space them evenly, around 6 to 8 inches apart, to prevent any gaps or buckling.

By following these steps and paying attention to spacing and alignment, you can successfully install hardwood floors upstairs, providing a beautiful and durable flooring option for your home.

Navigating Obstacles And Tricky Areas

Installing hardwood floors upstairs can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to navigating obstacles and tricky areas. One common obstacle to consider is doorways and transitions. It is important to ensure a seamless transition from one room to another by carefully selecting the right type of transition strip and properly installing it.

When it comes to stairs and landings, it is essential to measure and cut each hardwood plank accurately to fit the shape and angle of the steps. This will create a uniform and visually appealing look throughout the staircase. Additionally, using a high-quality adhesive or underlayment can help reduce noise and provide additional stability.

Angled or irregular spaces require even more attention to detail. Take accurate measurements of the space and use a miter saw to cut the hardwood planks at the appropriate angles. This will ensure a tight and seamless fit, enhancing the overall aesthetics of the room.

In conclusion, installing hardwood floors upstairs requires careful planning and precise execution. By considering obstacles such as doorways, transitions, stairs, and irregular spaces, you can achieve a beautiful and durable floor that will enhance the value and appeal of your home.

Installing Baseboards And Quarter Rounds

When installing hardwood floors upstairs, it is important to pay attention to the details, such as baseboards and quarter rounds. These finishing touches can make a significant difference in the overall appearance and functionality of your floors. Choosing the right baseboard styles and materials is the first step. Consider the style and color of the baseboard to complement your hardwood floors. Measuring and cutting the baseboards accurately is crucial to ensure a seamless fit. Take precise measurements and use a miter saw to cut the baseboards at the correct angles. Attaching and securing the baseboards requires a nail gun or adhesive. Make sure to space the nails evenly and securely attach the baseboards to the wall. Lastly, installing quarter rounds can provide a polished look and cover any gaps between the baseboards and floors.

Sanding And Finishing The Floors

When installing hardwood floors upstairs, it is important to properly sand and finish the floors to achieve a smooth and polished look. One crucial aspect of this process is selecting the right sandpaper grits. Generally, coarse grits such as 36 or 60 are employed for initial sanding to remove imperfections and old finishes. As you progress, medium grits like 80 or 100 can be used to eliminate scratches and unevenness. Finally, fine grits ranging from 120 to 220 are employed for the final sanding to achieve a smooth and uniform surface.

When it comes to sanding techniques and equipment, using a random orbital sander is recommended for its efficient and uniform sanding action. Start sanding from one corner of the room, moving in the same direction as the wood grain. Remember to keep the sander in motion to prevent any uneven sanding marks. Once the sanding is complete, clean the area thoroughly to remove any dust or debris before applying the stain and sealant.

Applying stain and sealant is the final step in finishing hardwood floors upstairs. Choose a quality stain that matches your desired color and carefully apply it using a brush or rag. Allow the stain to dry completely before applying a protective sealant. This sealant will not only enhance the appearance of the wood but also provide durability and protection against moisture. Apply the sealant evenly, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and allow it to dry thoroughly before allowing foot traffic on the newly finished floor.

Cleaning And Maintaining Hardwood Floors

To ensure the longevity and beauty of your hardwood floors upstairs, it is important to clean and maintain them regularly. Regular sweeping and vacuuming is essential in removing dirt, dust, and debris that can scratch the surface of the floor. Using a soft bristle broom or a microfiber dust mop, sweep the floor to remove any loose particles. Vacuuming with a hardwood floor attachment can also effectively remove dirt and dust from hard-to-reach areas.

When it comes to using cleaning products on your hardwood floors, it is recommended to use products specifically designed for hardwood floors. Avoid using harsh chemicals or oil-based cleaners that can damage the finish of the floor. Instead, opt for pH-neutral cleaners that are safe for hardwood surfaces. Apply the cleaner using a damp mop or a spray bottle and wipe the floor following the grain of the wood to avoid streaks.

To prevent scratches and damage to your hardwood floors upstairs, it is important to take some preventive measures. Place doormats at the entrances to trap dirt and debris from outdoor shoes. Use felt pads on furniture legs to prevent them from scratching the floor when moved. Avoid dragging heavy furniture across the floor; instead, lift and move it carefully. Trim pet nails regularly to prevent them from scratching the surface of the floor.

How to Install Hardwood Floors Upstairs: Master the Art!

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Install Hardwood Floors Upstairs

Can You Put Hardwood Floors Upstairs?

Yes, you can put hardwood floors upstairs. Hardwood floors are a great option for any level of the house, including upstairs. They provide a timeless and elegant look, are durable, and can increase the value of your home. Hardwood floors upstairs can enhance the overall aesthetics and functionality of the space.

Which Way Do You Lay Flooring Upstairs?

When installing flooring upstairs, it’s best to follow the same direction as the main floor. This helps with continuity and visually expands the space.

Should You Have Wood Floors Upstairs?

Wood floors are a good choice for upstairs as they add warmth and elegance to any space. They are durable, easy to clean, and can handle foot traffic. However, consider factors like noise transmission and maintenance before deciding. Wood floors upstairs can be a beautiful and practical option.

Can You Lay Hardwood Directly On Subfloor?

Yes, you can lay hardwood directly on the subfloor. It’s important to ensure the subfloor is clean, level, and free from any moisture issues before installation. Adding an underlayment and moisture barrier can provide additional protection.


Installing hardwood floors upstairs can be a challenging task, but with the right knowledge and techniques, it can be a rewarding project. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can ensure a successful installation. Remember to prepare the subfloor, choose the right materials, and take your time to create a beautiful and durable floor.

With proper maintenance, your hardwood floors upstairs will last for years to come, adding a touch of elegance and warmth to your living space. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to transform your upstairs with stunning hardwood flooring.

Happy installing!

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