• Sienna Adams

The Glue Down Method of Installing Hardwood Flooring


One of the original methods of installing hardwood flooring is the glue-down method. You've come to the right place if you want to learn the fundamentals of installing hardwood flooring using the glue-down method. Glue-down hardwood floors are the most stable and long-lasting of do-it-yourself hardwood floors. When you install hardwood flooring using the glue-down method, you can be confident that you are employing a tried-and-true method.

Tools Required for Hardwood Flooring Installation

Square Notched Trowel - For applying glue, this trowel should have one-quarter-inch sides.

Broom and Dust Pan - You'll want to clean up any sawdust that gets stuck under your floor panels or in your connecting joints regularly. When you're finished installing hardwood flooring, the last thing you want is a lumpy hardwood floor.

Carpenter's Crayon - This is the tool you'll use to mark where you'll cut your panels. You'll also use this to mark the area where your panels will be installed. You'll want to keep this handy at all times because precision is especially important when using the glue-down method.

Circular Saw - As needed, you'll use your circular saw to cut up panels.

You'll also score your substrate sheets every eight inches with your circular saw. This is critical for preventing curling panels.

Glue - A lot of hardwood panel kits include glue. I highly recommend Bostik's Best Adhesive if you need to buy glue for your hardwood panels.

Lace Nails - These nails will be used to connect the panels to the walls and wall strips.

Plywood Substrate Sheets - These are placed on top of the concrete and are installed beneath your hardwood floor.

Soft Cloths - You'll need these to clean up excess glue while installing hardwood flooring. If the glue is allowed to set, it will be difficult to remove. In some cases, special chemicals and glue are required to remove the glue that has been set. You'll also need soft clothes to clean up after installing hardwood floors.

Rubber Gloves - Gluing the fingers of your gloves together is far preferable to gluing your fingers together! Furthermore, many people dislike having dried glue on their hands for weeks after installing hardwood flooring.

Final Preparation for Hardwood Flooring Installation

When installing hardwood flooring using the glue-down method, the surface on which your flooring panels will be placed must be properly prepared. Because you'll be attaching your flooring panels to this surface, it must be smooth, dry, and as clean as possible to provide a solid support base for your hardwood floor. Clean up anything that appears to be grease or oil with extreme caution, as your glue may not bond properly.

It is also critical that your subfloor is completely level and flat. If you notice any unevenness, go to the hardware store and get some patching cement to even out the subfloor.

You must also select one of two glue-down methods for laying down hardwood panels. You can install hardwood flooring using either the Walk On method or the Wet Lay method.

If you use the Wet Lay method to install hardwood flooring, you will first apply glue to the substrate before placing the hardwood panel on top of the glue. You can move on to the next panel once the glue has become tacky. However, for first-time installers, it is sometimes recommended to use the glue-down method to place the next panels before the glue becomes tacky so that you can adjust your panels a few minutes later if they are not properly lined up.

The Walk On the method of installing hardwood flooring necessitates meticulous panel laying. This method of installing hardwood flooring involves waiting until the glue is very tacky before laying the panel in the glue. This prevents glue smudges from spreading across your panels as you work. Because of the better-finished results, it can provide, experienced hardwood installers typically use the Walk On method. We'll assume you're using the Wet Lay method because you're reading about how to install hardwood floors.

Hardwood Flooring Installation Instructions

  1. Stretch your substrate sheets across the foundation. Check that the surface is level, clean, and debris-free.

  2. Warm-up your glue. It should be slightly warmer than room temperature, otherwise, it will be difficult to work with. You won't be able to work with your glue if it's below room temperature.

  3. Apply glue to the starting corner of the room with your square-notched trowel. Put just enough glue to securely fasten the board, but ration your glue so that it can last the entire hardwood flooring process. If you were unsure whether you had enough glue, you should have purchased more before you began gluing. When you run out of glue before you're finished, it usually takes an extra day to finish the flooring.

  4. Try to secure your first wood panel into the corner by placing it straight down on the glue. Because you're working with wet glue, position the panel as best you can at first to avoid smearing the glue as you adjust the panel's placement. If you had used the Walk On method, you would have been unable to move the panel even after only a few seconds.

  5. Continue with the previous steps, adding more panels until you reach the final panel, which should not fit completely. Mark where you want to cut the board with a crayon and cut it with a saw.

  6. Get your first row wedged in tight so that it serves as a solid foundation for the rest of your floor.

  7. Use a soft cloth to clean up any glue that may be sitting on the surface of your first row before it dries. The longer you wait to clean up the glue, the more difficult it will become.

  8. Hopefully, you didn't mutilate the excess panel piece you cut off at the end of the first row. That will be the panel from which you will begin the next row. By having all of the panels offset, you can ensure that your hardwood floor looks nice.

  9. If you notice any bubbles, hills, or slopes on the panels you've been laying, place a heavy, flat object on top of these sections to keep them in place until the glue binds them to the substrate.

  10. Do it all over again. Remove all of the sawdust and glue from the area. A soft cloth soaked in mineral spirits can be used to remove any glue that has hardened. To avoid damaging the floor, clean up the mineral spirits as soon as possible. You should have a nice new hardwood floor installed.

Hindsight Tips for Hardwood Flooring Installation

  • Use plywood sheets to form your substrate for the best results.

  • The thicker your substrate sheets are, the easier it is to compensate for surface leveling differences. However, before laying your substrate sheets, you should try to get the surface as level as possible.

  • If you have enough flat, heavy objects, place them on each new panel as you place them on the floor to help it attach to the substrate as well as possible. Use nothing that could harm the surface of your panels. If you don't have anything else, you can always lie down on the panels. But be careful not to get glue on top of them.


You can rest assured that installing hardwood flooring was a wise decision.

When your hardwood floor is glued down, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment. If you used the glue-down method to install your hardwood flooring, you will not experience nearly as much creaky floor syndrome as you would with other methods of installation.

And, for your sake, I hope you carefully followed the instructions and chose high-quality flooring. This is because replacing a glued-down hardwood floor is not a simple task. Unless you have destructive pleasure tendencies. If you ever want to replace that glued-down hardwood floor, you'll need some serious sledgehammer, crowbar, and circular saw work.

Cesar A Woodworking is a knowledgeable Hardwood Flooring in Manhattan NY who writes articles for his Flooring & Carpet Cleaning. I strongly advise you to go and get the best floor for you.