Hardwood Flooring Installation Instructions

Proper Installation is key to ever-lasting floors!
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Responsibility of Owner and Installer

Synfonia Floors produces one of the highest quality hardwood flooring in the industry. Please read this document and follow instructions to make sure no issues are encountered during and after the installation. Our goal is to make certain you are extremely happy with our products.
Synfonia Floor products have been tested and inspected many times before leaving the factory. Upon arrival carefully inspect products for grade, color, finish and quality. We recommend inspecting your product at the installation job site with adequate lighting. Synfonia Floors will not be responsible for any visible defects after the product has been installed.
Before any flooring is installed it is recommended to check the subfloors. Conditions must meet recommended requirements for wood flooring installation. Synfonia Floors is not responsible for failures and defects resulting from improper conditions of the subfloor, environmental conditions such as excessive moisture and poor workmapship during installation process.

Site Installation Requirements

New construction? Remodeling project? Hardwood floor installation should be completed after all water or moisture work is completed. Allow one week for the rooms(s) to settle in terms of temperature and humidity. Optimum ranges for temperature is around 55-85 degrees Farenheit and relative humidity range around 30-50%. Installing hardwood flooring in the bathrooms with full bath and in certain type of kitchens is not recommended, unless moisture treatment and special maintenance methods are considered. Synfonia Floors recommends to store wood flooring at the installation job site for 72 hours before installing the products to allow flooring to acclimate to relative temperature and humidity.

Installation Methods

Hardwood flooring can be Glued down, Nailed or Floated depending on the type of subfloor it is installed on. The quality of flooring installation is highly dependent on the condition and proper preparation of your subfloor. Subfloor conditions greatly impact the overall installation of your hardwood flooring. Subfloor must be structurally stable and free from any moisture. Please follow these steps carefully:

Clean: Sweep the entire area clean. Remove all debris. No wax, grease, paint, sealers, adhesives and any other substance that could cause problem during installation or after should be present.
Level: Flat the subfloor to 3/16” per 10’ radius.
Dry: Subfloor must remain dry all year round. Moisture can be tested with commercial moister meter. Moister for concrete must not exceed 2.5% and for other subfloor types, it must not exceed 13%.

Acceptable Subfloor Types

Plywood (1/2” or higher): Underlayment-grade particle board (float or glue only installation)
OSB (at least 3/4”): Concrete slabs (float or glue only installation)
Existing floor: Ceramic tile (float only installation)
Resilient tile and sheet vinyl (float or glue only)

Installation Acessories

Tools: Tapping block, Pull bar, Spacers, Hammer, Safety goggles, Tape measure, Pencil, Chalk line, Power saw, Duct tape Floating: 6-mil polyfilm, Foam underlay Nail Down: Power cleats 11/4” length, with Powernailer PVAC glue: Any brand you prefer Glue-down: Any brand you prefer

Concrete Subfloor

All concrete should be tested for moisture. All new concrete should be cured for at least 60 days prior to installation of hardwood. Thickness should be minimum 6-mil and should have polyfilm between concrete and the ground. All concrete must stay dry all year round. You must measure the moisture on the concrete using a moisture meter. If moisture meter is not available, please tape off a 2’ x 2’ section with a clear plastic creating an airtight seal with the concrete. Let it sit for 24-48 hours, if you see condensation or discoloration on plastic, that means the moisture content is too high. Do not install your hardwood floors until you bring the moisture level under control. Synfonia Floors can help you find professional services to resolve your moisture issues.

Sheet Vinyl, Tiles and Stones

Caution: Do not sand existing vinyl floors they may contain asbestos. All floors must be well bonded to subfloor, flat, leveled and in good condition.

Wood Subfloors

Please consider sanding down high spots and fill low spots with an underlayment patch. Nail or screw every 6” along joists to avoid squeaking. Please make sure moister will not become an issue with wood subfloors. Treat water or moisture damaged areas first before installing your new floor.

Radiant Heat

Switch off heating device 3 days prior to installation. After installation the subfloor temperature should not go above 80 degrees Farenheit. Only use floating installation method over radiant heat. Subfloor should never exceed 85 degrees Farenheit. Please check correct water temperature inside carrier pipes, use suggested manufacturer guideline for this purpose. Acceptable range of temperature year around is between 55-85 degrees and should be monitored on regular basis. Please note that installing hardwood on radiat heat systems may cause cracking, chipping, cupping and gapping, all due to the natural expansion and contraction of wood which are expected behaviors.

Preparation Steps

Remember wood always expands with any increase in moisture content, and seasonal climate changes. Therefore, you must always leave some space between flooring and walls and other objects such as cabinets for expansion. We recommend a 1/4” space to allow for expansion of wood floors during hot seasons. This space will be covered by trims and base boards and will not be visible. Stagger the end joints by at least 20” when installing floors. When you cut the last plank in a row you can use the last cut off to start your new row and you should if possible keep it no less than 6”. If you are using floating method recommended length is minimum 10”. It is highly recommended to remove and replace base boards and door thresholds before and after flooring installation. Door casings should be undercut or notched out so flooring could fit underneath. Allow room for expansion. Tapping block and hammer should be used against tongues and not the grooves when pulling planks. When near a wall, you can use a pull bar to close the end joints. Special attention should be given not to damage the wood planks.

Installation Procedure

Study the room where the floor is being installed. Typically walls that connect to an exterior(outside) wall should be used to create a straight working line in the room. That wall should be considered the starting point. For better appearance and symmetry usually the longest wall in the room is selected where flooring planks will be installed parallel to, however consider your doorways and other adjacent floors before deciding on the direction of the wood planks. Snap a chuck line by measuring an equal distance from the wall at both ends. The distance should be equal to the width of the plank plus 1/4“gap for expansion. Scribe cut the first row to match the wall. Use this straight line as your first line and continue installing the remaining rows.

Glue Down

To avoid warping in the glue down floor installation never use the “wet lay” method. This method is known to trap moisture and cause issues. Follow adhesive instructions for set time, appropriate notch trowel, angle to spread adhesive, and make sure the proper trowel size is utilized. As for all glue down floors always allow for adequate ventilation when working with adhesives. Minimum 4 hours of ventilation is recommended after the work is completed.

Once adhesive has set, lay the first row of flooring with groove facing the wall and continue laying flooring until adhesive is covered. Make sure from time to time that your working line on the floor is still aligned. Each plank needs to be tapped. Please use tapping block pushing planks together tightly. Make sure to finish one section before moving to another section since adhesive could get set quickly and make it very hard to move/remove planks around. Adhesive that gets on flooring surface must be cleaned immediately using a floor cleaner or a clean damp cloth. Always allow 1/4” inch for expansion around walls and objects such as cabinets. Walking couple of times on the floor to ensure proper bonding with adhesive is recommended. To keep a uniform spacing use the same type of wood spacer for the entire job, make sure you have plenty on hand.


If below grade, first lay a 6-mil polyfilm with seams overlapped about 4 inches. Fasten seams completely with duct tape. Run the outside edges of the film up the perimeter walls, trim excess film after flooring installation is complete. If installation is on or above grade, polyfilm is recommended but not necessary. Lay foam underlayment by butting edges (do not overlap edges) and tape off the full length of the seams.

Start first row with grooves towards the starting wall. Glue end joints of the first row by applying adhesive to the bottom of grooves. Always leave at least 1/4” clearance for expansion around the walls and vertical objects such as cabinets. Use spacers during installation to maintain this expansion space. Lay subsequent rows of flooring by applying glue to side and end joints and fitting planks together with tapping block. Remember to stagger the end joints from row to row.

Nail Down

Inside the chuck line consider placing first plank perpendicular to the joint of the floor. You may choose other direction if you are installing over older floors or the subfloor has been prepared for a nail down flooring. Drill 1/" inch hole from the grooved edge 8” apart and nail down the planks using finish nails. With nail punch sink the nails below the surface and use wood fillers to fill in the holes. Make sure to use consistent wood spacers throughout the installation process. Always leave at least 1/4” clearance for expansion around the walls and vertical objects such as cabinets.

Always use tapping block to fit the planks tightly together. Lay more rows by using floor nails to blind nail top inside the edge of tongue at 45 degrees angle. Nail each board every 8” and within 2” of each end. Remember to stagger end joints from row to row.

After Installation

Use vacuum to remove all dust or debris after installation is complete. On some floors dust mop may be preferred.
Install transition pieces. Install expansion, base, and quarter round molding to cover all expansion spaces.
No foot traffic or heavy furniture on floor for 12-24 hours on floating and glue down floors.
Use Synfonia Floors care products to maintain your new floor for years to come. Our maintenance products protect luster and add longevity to your beautiful floors.