Wall Installation of 3/8″ & 1/2″ Engineered Hardwood


This is the complete installation guide for installing 3/8″ and 1/2″ engineered hardwood horizontally, vertically, and as wainscoting on a wall.

ATTENTION INSTALLERS
CAUTION: WOOD DUST
Sawing, sanding and machining wood products can produce wood dust. Airborne wood dust can cause respiratory, eye and skin irritation. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified wood dust as a nasal carcinogen in humans.

Precautionary Measures: If power tools are used, they should be equipped with a dust collector.

If high dust levels are encountered, use an appropriate NIOSH-designated dust mask.
Avoid dust contact with eye and skin.

First Aid Measures in Case of Irritation: In case of irritation, flush eyes or skin with water for at least 15 minutes.
If you have any technical or installation questions, or to request a Material Safety Data Sheet,
please call 866 243 2726 or visit hardwoodexpert.com, our technical website.
IMPORTANT HEALTH NOTICE FOR MINNESOTA RESIDENTS ONLY: THESE BUILDING MATERIALS EMIT FORMALDEHYDE. 
EYE, NOSE, AND THROAT IRRITATION, HEADACHE, NAUSEA AND A VARIETY OF ASTHMA-LIKE SYMPTOMS, INCLUDING SHORTNESS OF BREATH, HAVE BEEN REPORTED AS A RESULT OF FORMALDEHYDE EXPOSURE. ELDERLY PERSONS AND YOUNG CHILDREN, AS WELL AS ANYONE WITH A HISTORY OF ASTHMA, ALLERGIES, OR LUNG PROBLEMS, MAY BE AT GREATER RISK. RESEARCH IS CONTINUING ON THE POSSIBLE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF EXPOSURE TO FORMALDEHYDE. REDUCED VENTILATION MAY ALLOW FORMALDEHYDE AND OTHER CONTAMINANTS TO ACCUMULATE IN THE INDOOR AIR. HIGH INDOOR TEMPERATURES AND HUMIDITY RAISE FORMALDEHYDE LEVELS. WHEN A HOME IS LOCATED IN AREAS SUBJECT TO EXTREME SUMMER TEMPERATURES, AN AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEM CAN BE USED TO CONTROL INDOOR TEMPERATURE LEVELS. OTHER MEANS OF CONTROLLED MECHANICAL VENTILATION CAN BE USED TO REDUCE LEVELS OF FORMALDEHYDE AND OTHER INDOOR AIR CONTAMINANTS. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF FDORMALDEHYDE, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR OR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended safety instructions and practices when using power tools.

Precautionary Measures if Power Tools Are Used:
The power tools must be equipped with a dust collector. If high dust levels are encountered, use the appropriate NIOSH-designated dust mask. Avoid dust contact with eyes and skin.

First Aid Measures in Case of Irritation:
Flush eyes and skin with water for at least 15 minutes. Seek medical attention if irritation persists.

Reduced ventilation may allow formaldehyde and other contaminants to accumulate in the indoor air. High indoor temperatures and humidity raise formaldehyde levels. When a home is to be located in areas subject to extreme summer temperatures, an air-conditioning system can be used to control indoor temperature levels. Other means of controlled mechanical ventilation can be used to reduce levels of formaldehyde and other indoor air contaminants.

If you have any questions regarding the health effects of formaldehyde, consult your doctor or local health department.

TOOLS

• Engineered hardwood flooring
• Stud finder
• Chalk line
• Tape measure
• Caulk gun
• Premium urethane construction adhesive
• Air compressor
• Air hose
• Plywood/Luan
• Brad nailer
• Miter saw
• Table saw
• Jig saw
• Drill
• Spacers

SUBSTRATES

Products can be installed over the following wall substrates: drywall, painted drywall, plywood, cement board. All substrates must be sound, clean, dry, smooth and flat. Do not install over greasy/oily surfaces, loose paint or surfaces with extraneous debris. Thin plywood must be installed over existing drywall.

ADHESIVE OPEN TIME

A premium urethane construction adhesive is required. Apply the adhesive to the back of individual planks or strips in a serpentine, or “S”, pattern. Use a spacing of 3 to 4 inches between serpentine elements. Apply an adhesive bead width of approximately 1/4˝.

LAYOUT & FITTING

For standard installations of hardwood on walls, the product can be installed horizontally, vertically and as a wainscoting. For best results, layout the planks/strips on the floor prior to installing on the wall to determine the desired visual. Planks or strips can be cut prior to installing on the wall. To maintain a random visual, keep end joints of adjacent rows at least 6˝ apart.

INSTALLATION METHODS

INSTALLATION STEPS FOR A HORIZONTAL INSTALLATION

  1. Use a stud finder to find wall studs and with a pencil mark the location of the studs.
  2. Snap chalk lines on the wall along the length of the studs.
  3. Install a 1/4˝ plywood or lauan to the drywall; this will assist with the application of the strip or planks of the hardwood flooring when starting the installation. Fasten the plywood with staples or ring shank nails 1-1/2˝ min.
  4. Snap a horizontal chalk line on the bottom of the wall to maintain a level installation (for uneven subfloors).
  5. Using a tape measure, measure (a) the distance from floor to ceiling and (b) the length of the wall. These measurements should be used to determine both the amount of hardwood needed for wall installation AND the spacing of the first and last row of a horizontal installation.
  6. Open at least 3 cartons of hardwood to work from.
  7. Lay out hardwood planks/strips on the floor to arrange and see the desired plank/strip visuals and pattern.
  8. Determine if the installation of the hardwood flooring needs to be balanced between the floor and ceiling. This may require lengthwise cutting of the first and last rows of planks.
  9. Connect the brad nailer to the air compressor and turn on the air compressor.
  10. Use 1-1/2˝ to 2˝ long brads.
  11. Place a premium urethane construction adhesive in the caulk gun and cut open the tip of the adhesive tube to achieve a 1/4˝ wide bead of adhesive.
  12. In a serpentine pattern, apply the adhesive to the back of the initial strip or plank of the first row (for a horizontal install the first row is the bottom row).
  13. Place plank/strip on the wall such that the side tongue of the plank/strip is facing up.
  14. Face nail the plank/strip in an area where wall base trim will cover the plank. Also blind nail the plank through the tongue.
  15. Apply adhesive (in serpentine manner) to the second plank/strip and place the plank/strip on the wall such that the end of the plank/strip tongue can be engaged into the groove end of the first plank/strip installed. Then brad nail the second plank/strip in the same manner as initial plank/strip.
  16. Repeat glue, engage, brad nail process to complete first row.
  17. After completing first row, use a cut plank/strip from first row (if longer than 6˝) for start of second row.
  18. Engage the initial plank/strip of the second row into the adjacent plank(s) of the first row. Do not face nail second row or subsequent rows. Instead, only blind nail into the side tongue.
  19. Engage the tongue into the groove (with accompanying blind nailing) continue installing planks/strips on the wall. To achieve a random appearance, keep end joints of adjacent rows at least 6˝ apart throughout the installation.
  20. If necessary, the last row of planks/strips may need to be ripped with a table saw. Remember to maintain a 1/4˝ expansion space.

INSTALLATION STEPS FOR A VERTICAL INSTALLATION

  1. Using a tape measure, measure the width of your wall to determine a balanced layout. You may have to cut the width of the first and last rows to maintain a balanced layout. (See above steps 1,2,3).
  2. Measure the width of your starting plank/strip and add a 1/4˝ to maintain your expansion space. Then place a pencil mark onto the wall at the top and bottom of the starting wall.
  3. Snap a chalk line along the starting wall.
  4. Open at least 3 cartons of hardwood to work from.
  5. Lay out hardwood planks/strips on the floor to arrange and see the desired plank visuals and pattern.
  6. Connect the brad nailer to the air compressor and turn on the air compressor.
  7. Use 1-1/2˝ to 2˝ long brads.
  8. Place a premium urethane construction adhesive in the caulk gun and cut open the tip of the adhesive tube to achieve a 1/4˝ wide bead of adhesive.
  9. In a serpentine pattern, apply the adhesive to the back of the initial plank/strip of the first row (for a horizontal install the first row is the bottom row).
  10. Place plank/strip on the wall such that the side tongue of the plank/strip is facing right.
  11. Face nail the plank/strip in an area where trim will cover the nails holes the plank. Also nail the plank through the tongue at several locations.
  12. Apply adhesive (in serpentine manner) to the second plank and place the plank on the wall such that the end of the plank can be engaged into the tongue end of the first plank/strip installed.
  13. Then brad nail the second plank/strip in the same manner as initial plank/strip.
  14. Repeat glue, engage, brad nail process to complete first row.
  15. After completing first row, use a cut plank/strip from first row (if longer than 6˝) for start of second row.
  16. Engage the initial plank of the second row into the adjacent plank(s) of the first row.
  17. Do not face nail second row or subsequent rows. Instead, only blind nail into the side tongue (after applying adhesive to the back of the plank/strip).
  18. Using this method (with accompanying blind nailing) continue installing planks on the wall. To achieve a random appearance, keep end joints of adjacent rows at least 6˝ apart throughout the installation.
  19. If necessary, the last row of planks/strips may need to be ripped with a table saw. Remember to maintain a 1/4˝ expansion space.

INSTALLATION ADJUSTMENTS FOR A WAINSCOTING INSTALLATION

  1. Using a tape measure, measure the width of your wall to determine a balanced layout. You may have to cut the width of the first and last rows to maintain a balanced layout. (See above in Horizontal Installation steps 1,2,3).
  2. Measure the width of your starting plank/strip and add a 1/4˝ to maintain your expansion space. Then place a pencil mark onto the wall at the top and bottom of the starting wall.
  3. Wainscoting is usually 36 inches in height. A chalk line can be used vertically and horizontally. This will ensure that your installation is straight and all of the planks are cut the same length.
  4. Next apply a serpentine bead of construction adhesive to the back of your starting plank/strip. Then place onto the wall at your chalk lines. The groove side of the plank should be placed at the vertical chalk line. Then use a Finish brad nailer to secure into place.
  5. Continue the installation by applying urethane construction adhesive to the back of each plank and simply engage the side tongue into the previous groove. Then again securing the plank with finish nails into the groove.
  6. Continue this same method until the wall is complete.
  7. After the installation of all your planks is complete, add your trim pieces. Start with the base molding first, then add your chair rail trim to the top of your planks. Complete the installation by placing the inside and outside trim pieces onto the wall.

INSTALLATION ADJUSTMENTS FOR A DIAGONAL INSTALLATION
A diagonal installation of hardwood on walls is very similar to a horizontal installation except a diagonal installation is typically installed on a 45 degree angle from the floor. For a diagonal installation of 45 degrees, the planks that meet the perimeter of the installation will need to be cut on a 45 degree angle.

ACCOUNTING FOR OUTLETS AND SWITCHES
If there are either outlets or switches on the wall, a jig saw or coping saw can be used to cut the hardwood flooring to allow proper fit of the outlets or switches. First, remove the outlet covers so you can cut the hardwood planks/strips to fit around them. Then, reinstall the faceplate over the hardwood flooring. This may require a spacer between the outlet and the mounting box, or a plastic washer beneath the cover and a longer screw to hold the faceplate to the outlet. Spark rings or box extenders may be used in some situations. This project requires experience working with tools, making accurate measurements, and working with drills and saws.

Note: When installing hardwood on walls as a decorative wall covering, do not install heavy items on the hardwood accent wall. Do not install hardwood as a hearth surround at a fireplace. It can be installed outside of the fireplace surround.

After the installation is complete clean any adhesive that may be on the surface using mineral spirits. Then simply clean the surface with Bruce Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner. Fill any holes with the appropriate blended filler. Recognizing that your wall dimensions will be slightly affected by varying levels of humidity within your building, care should be taken to control humidity levels within the 35-55% range to protect your investment and to assure that your wall installation provides lasting satisfaction.

COORDINATING TRIM AND MOLDING

Create endless possibilities for your wall – like framed installations or Wainscoting – with durable trim and moldings in vibrant, custom-matched colors that are readily available and always in stock.

Reducer Strip: A teardrop-shaped molding typically used for gradual transitions between wood flooring and adjacent lower surfaces. For wall installations, the reducer can be used to create a subtle border or framing effect.

Threshold: A molding profile that is undercut to allow for wood flooring expansion space and to provide a transition in height difference. For wall installations, the threshold can be used to create a raised border or framing effect. It can also be used as a cap or chair rail for partial wall installations.

Stair Nosing: A molding typically used for stair steps or landings. For wall installations, the stair nose could be used as a border however cutting or shims may be required.

Quarter Round: A molding typically used to cover the expansion space between the wood flooring and vertical surfaces. For wall installations the quarter round can be used along the base of the installation or as a simple border.

T-Molding: A molding that is used as a transition from one flooring to another flooring of the same height. For wall installations the t-molding can be used as a break between different products if applicable.

Updated on July 7, 2022