Any hardwood floor installation starts with the sub floor. We always make sure the sub floor is 3/4″ thick, solid and properly secured. Sometimes patching weakened or broken sub floor is recommended or necessary. We then sand down any ridges and clean up before laying down building paper. Flooring planks should be laid perpendicular to the floor joist, this increases stability and usually has the added benefit of making the room appear larger. Expansion gaps must be left against walls parallel to the floor. Wood floors move a bit between the humid summers and dry winters of the Twin Cities, and need room to do so. Hardwood flooring installed tight to the wall will likely cause buckling and gaping. In cases where trim is not removed, 1/2″ or 3/4″ shoe will be added to existing trim to cover the expansion gaps. Face nailing is required against walls where a stapler or nail gun won’t fit and glue is sometime necessary when nailing isn’t an option. Aside from the boards against the wall, we staple every board with 15 gauge staples 6″ to 10″ apart depending on the width of the planks and use a 16 gauge nail gun for face nailing. We also rack out floors ahead of time where we can to maintain even distribution of size and color throughout your floor.