Installing Hardwood Flooring in the Living and Dining Room Areas

Laying Maple Hardwood Flooring over Plywood

Maple Hardwood Flooring

This project of Installing Hardwood Flooring in the Living and Dining Room Areas was completed right after the kitchen’s Travertine Tile flooring upgrade and the White Quartz countertop installation. However, to keep some kind of sequence, I decided to present the Kitchen’s Backsplash Wall Preparation and Installation first.

When we finally started working on this project, it was about time we took care of these two areas of the house. The carpet in the living room was in very bad shape and dirty (I did not want to have it cleaned as I always planned to replace it), it had to go. The vinyl flooring in the dining area: well, you know what I think about vinyl flooring.


As you may have guessed it, there were a few things that needed to be taken care of before we could even think about installing hardwood flooring.

Even before buying the hardwood, I checked the subfloor under the carpet, making sure it was suitable for the installation (not particle board). I was sure the one under the vinyl was OK, as I had already removed the vinyl from the bathrooms and the kitchen.

I also checked the floor joists. If they’re too far apart, the subfloor needs reinforcement. They were OK, so no reinforcement was needed.

Once we were sure it was safe to install the hardwood flooring, we went ahead and ordered it. We went with the Mullican 4-in W Prefinished Maple Hardwood Flooring (Autumn) from Lowes. It looks like it’s no longer available. There are other similar options, although at prices way higher than we paid for it.

We brought the hardwood inside the house about two weeks before installing it, giving it enough time to acclimate. Some people underestimates the importance of this acclimation period, however, I’ve seen the results of skipping this step on some installations completed by so called professionals, we didn’t want to take any chances.

I worked on removing the baseboards and used the oscillating tool to cut all the door trim. At about the same time we worked on removing the carpet and vinyl flooring, to later on sweep and vacuum the subfloor several times.

Almost ready to go, we went ahead and measured the subfloor and hardwood moisture levels using a meter (similar to this one) I borrowed from a friend, I do not remember the readings at this point, but they were pretty close.


With all the preparation steps out of the way, we went ahead and did something very similar to what I’ve done when laying tile. We could have measured and called it good, however, we had never installed hardwood before, so once again, we did not want to take any chances.

We laid some pieces of hardwood across the room, from one of the walls to the edge of the kitchen’s Travertine tile/cabinet. This was so that we could make sure that we were not going to end up with very narrow pieces of wood on either end of the room, or in the hallway area.

After doing this, we determined that we were going to have a full board on one side (4 inches) and about ¾ of a board (about 3 inches) on the other (wall). In the hallway, we had about 3 inches on one side and almost a complete board on the other, we were happy to see this.


For easier installation and to avoid having to cut a board on the kitchen’s side (we wanted a very smooth transition to tile), we started installing the hardwood from the Travertine tile edge/cabinet side of the dining area.

We were very careful when stapling that first board. At the end, all the effort paid off, and we were very happy with the end result of about 1/8 of an inch spacing between the two, which we later filled with grout.

The proper way to install hardwood flooring? Take your time

Flooring transition between hardwood and Travertine tile before grout


Travetine tile-hardwood transition

Flooring transition between hardwood and Travertine tile after grout

We laid the moisture barrier as we progressed with the installation. We didn’t want to be stepping on it and getting it all dirty and wrinkled while we worked on the installation.

Laying a Maple Hardwood Floor

Installing the hardwood flooring


We took the hardwood out of the boxes and organized it by size. This was to facilitate finding the correct sized pieces and minimize cuts. Basically, we mixed the different board sizes so that we had the required ½ inch spacing on both (left & right walls) without having to cut the boards.


Maple Hardwood flooring organized by size


To staple the hardwood we used this pneumatic flooring stapler and staples. To cut the wood, we borrowed a saw similar to this one (older model) from another friend. I also used the oscillating tool more than once to complete U-shape cuts, mostly around the HVAC vents.


2-inch flooring staples


We didn’t have to cut many boards until the end of the installation when we had no other option but to cut the remaining boards to size. I would say that we cut less than 1% of the boards. This may have caused the installation to take longer, but we didn’t waste any material or spend too much time measuring or on the saw.

Which way to install your hardwood floor - perpendicular to your floor joists

Installing hardwood flooring in the dining room, kitchen access area



Installing hardwood flooring in the dining/living room area



Almost half way done with the hardwood flooring installation


more than half-way-done-installing-hardwood-flooring

More than half way done with the hardwood flooring installation



A few days later (we took it easy, we were in no rush to finish), the installation was finished. We were extremely pleased with the final product, which you can see in the next few images. Note how different it looks based on the light conditions and angle of the photo.


The new Maple Hardwood flooring



Hardwood flooring as seen from the front door area



The hallway area



Living room as seen from the dining area


Readers, have you ever embarked on a DIY hardwood flooring installation? How did it go? Would you share about your experience?

Installing hardwood flooring in your own residence? This is what you need:

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