How to Install Castle Combe Originals Hardwood Flooring? (Full/Detailed Guide)

(This guide was adapted from “USFloors Installation Instructions for Engineered Oil Finished T&G Floors” )

[su_box title=”ATTENTION! Please Read Before Installing!” box_color=”#e90a0f”]COLOR VARIATION This flooring is a natural product and color variations are to be expected. For best visual effect, shuffle and blend planks from several cartons and do not install boards varying greatly in color next to one another.
ACCLIMATION As relative humidity varies in different parts of the country, acclimation of the flooring prior to installation is the most important precaution to take in order to ensure a successful installation. Proper acclimation is necessary to adapt the moisture content of the flooring to the conditions of your environment. Improper acclimation can cause the floor to buckle and/or the boards to shrink or cup after installation.
SUBFLOOR PREPARATION Subfloor must be level, dry and free of imperfections. An uneven subfloor will make the floor feel unstable and cause premature damage.
Responsibility for the suitability of USFLOORS flooring and accompanying products for each individual installation cannot be assumed by USFLOORS/HARDWOOD FLOORING DEPOT, since USFLOORS/HARDWOOD FLOORING DEPOT has no control over the installer’s proper application. Should an individual plank be doubtful as to appearance or dimension, the installer should not use this piece. USFLOORS will send replacement in a timely fashion.[/su_box]

Pre-Installation Jobsite Requirements

USFLOORS/HARDWOOD FLOORING DEPOT cannot be held responsible for site conditions.

Carefully Examine the flooring prior to installation for Grade, color, finish and quality. Ensure adequate lighting for proper inspection. If flooring is not acceptable, contact your supplier immediately and arrange for replacement. 

USFLOORS/HARDWOOD FLOORING DEPOT cannot accept responsibility for flooring installed with visible defects. Prior to installation of any flooring, the installer must ensure that the job-site and subfloor meet the requirements of these instructions. USFLOORS/HARDWOOD FLOORING DEPOT is not responsible for flooring failure resulting from unsatisfactory Job-site and or sub-floor condition’s.

Flooring should be one of the last items installed in any new construction of remodel project. All work involving water or moisture should be completed before flooring installation. Water and wood do not mix. Installing flooring onto a wet subfloor will most likely cause cupping , tip and edge raising, telegraphing of core an subsequent gaping.

Room temperature and humidity of installation area should be consistent with normal year round living condition for at least one week before installation of flooirng. Optimum room temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and humdity range of 30-50% is recommended during installation. Humidity levels below 30% will likely cause movement in flooring, including gaping between pieces and possible cupping and checking in the face.

Store the flooring in the installation area for 72 hours before installation in order to allow flooring to adjust to room temperature. Do not store the boxes of flooring directly on concrete. The Floors need adequate acclimation for more moisture equalization prior to installation and should not be installed from just opened boxes. Shuffle the boards for best visual mix of lengths and colors.

Pre-Installation Sub-floor Requirements

All Subfloors must be:

  • Dry and will remain dry: Subfloor must remain dry year-round. Moisture content of wood sub floors must not exceed 11%. Concrete must be tested for moisture content using the Andydrous Calcium Chloride test method, a non-invasive moisture meter or a pin/probe moisture meter.
  • Structurally sound
  • Clean: Thoroughly swept and free of all debris (if being glued down, subfloor must be free of wax, grease, paint, sealers, and old adhesives)
  • Level: Flat of 3/16″ per 10 foot radius

Wood subfloors must be dry and well secured. Nail or screw every 6” along joists to avoid squeaking. If not level, sand down high spots and fill low spots with a Portland Based leveling patch.

Concrete subfloors must be fully cured, at least 60 days old, and should have minimum 6-mil polyfilm between concrete and ground. Subfloor should be flat and level within 3/16” per 10’ radius. If necessary grind high spots down and level
low spots with a Portland leveling compound.

All concrete should be tested for moisture prior to installation using the Andydrous Calcium Chloride test method, a noninvasive moisture meter, or a pin/probe meter. When using a Calcium Chloride Test, the result must not exceed 3 lbs per 1000 sq. ft. in a 24 hour period.

A moisture test must be performed to ensure that the concrete slab is dry. Remember, a concrete slab on/below grade that measures dry today may become moist in the future due to
rising groundwater. Installing a moisture barrier now may be viewed as an insurance policy against concrete becoming wet in the future. USFLOORS/HARDWOOD FLOORING DEPOT is not responsible for site related moisture issues.

For additional protection, you may want to consider applying moisture barrier compound system.

[su_box title=”INSTALLATION TOOLS” box_color=”#e9c60a”]For all installation methods:

  1. Tape Measure
  2. Tapping Block
  3. Pencil
  4. Pry Bar or Pull Bar
  5. Chalk Line
  6. Wood or plastic spacers
  7. Crosscut power saw

For Glue Down installation method, you’ll also need:

  1. Recommended flooring adhesive
  2. Trowel per flooring adhesive manufacturer’s

For nail-down installation, you will also need:

  1. Air stapler/nailer compatible with profile of the flooring material
  2. 1 1/2″ -2″ nail, cleat, or staple that is compatible with the profile of the flooring material
  3. air compressor

Acceptable Subfloor types:

      1. CDX Underlayment Grade Plywood (at least 1/2″ thick)
      2. Underlayment grade particleboard (floating/glue-down only)
      3. OSB (at least 2/4″ Thick)
      4. Concrete slab (floating/glue down only)
      5. Existing wood floor
      6. Ceramic Tile
      7. Resilent tile and sheet vinyl (floating/glue-down only)




Starting your Installation

Make sure sub-floor is tested for moisture first and is properly prepared.

Since natural flooring expands with any increase in moisture content, always leave at least a 3/9″ expansion space between flooring and all walls and any other permanent vertical obstructions. This space will be covered up once you apply base molding around the room. Use wood or plastic spacers during installtion to maintain this 2/3″ expansion space.

Work from several open boxes of flooring and dry lay the floor  before permanently laying the floor. This will allow you to select the varying grains and colors and to arrange them in a harmonious pattern. It also allows you the opportunity to cull out very dark/light pieces for use in hidden areas in order too create a more uniform floor. Remember, iti is the installers responsiblity to determine the expectation of what the finished floor will look likewith the end user first and then too cull out poeces that do not meet those expectation.

Begin installation next to an outside wall. This is usually the straightest and best reference for establishing a straight working line. Establish this line by measuring an equal distance from the wall at both ends and snapping a chalk line. The distance you measure from the wall should be width of a plank plus about 3/8″ for expansion space. You may need to scribe cut the first row of planks to match the wall in order to make straight working line if the wall is out of straight.

Dry lay a few rows, (no glue or nails) before starting installation to confirm your layout decision and working line. When laying flooring, stagger end joints from row to row by at least 8″. When cutting the last plank in a row to fit, you can use the cut-off end to begin the next row. If cut-off end is 8″ in legnth or less, discard it and instead cut a new plak at a random length and use it to start the next row. Always begin each row from the same side of the room.

To draw planks together, always use a tapping vlock, as tapping the floor itself will result in edge damage. For best results. flip the tapping block upside down and use the groove edge to tap the tongue edge of the planl being installed. Fit end joints tightly together before tapping long edges together. When near a wall, you can use a pry bar to pry close the side and end joints. Take care not damage edge of flooring. For glue down and floating applications use straps to hold any pieces which might have side bow and need to be held straight and tight until the ashesives set up. Do Not Adhere tape of any Kind To Oil Finished Floors.

Nail Down Installation Instructions

Make sure subfloor is tested for moisture content first and is properly prepare. Use an air stapler/nailer of you choice. Test on a sample to make sure the stapling/nailing will not cause dimpling in the finished floor. (Note: be sure to look at the face of the installed flooring at a low angle from a distance to see if dimpling is occuring as it is hard to see when directly above the floor.) If dimpling does occur, stop and adjust the stapler shoe and angle and place of staple entry in order to avoid it. USFLOOR/HARDWOOD FLOORING DEPOT is not responsible for dimpling.

For the first and second starting rows: Lay first plank inside chalk line with grooved edge toward wall. Install entire first row in the same manner. Always leave at least a 3/8″ expansion space between flooring and all walls and vertical objects. Use wood or plastic spacers during installation to maintain this expansion space. In order to affix the first rows, as it is difficult to get the nail gun in place next to the wall, you may wish to set these rows in mastic and glue them down rather than face nailing them and leaving unsightly nail holes which must be filled with putty to match the wood floor.

After gluing down these starting rows with manufactureres recommended adhesives, set weight on top of these rows and allow them to set before commencing stapling/nailing the additional rows, as nailing the adjacent rows may cause the starting rows to subsequently move. Make sure the starting rows are straight and drawn tight.

Subsequent Rows: Lay by using floor nailer/stapler to blind-nail top inside edge of tongue at a 45 degree angle. Nail each board every 8″ and within 2″ of each end. Remember to stagger end joints from row to row at least 8″ apart and use a tapping block to fit boards together. It may be necessary to face-nail in doorways or tight areas where the nailer/stapler cant fit, (or glue down in these areas and weight them while the mastic sets) The last two rows will need to be face-nailed, in the same manner as the first two rows. Always make sure to visually check the installed floor as you go to ensure that the stapling/nailing is not cause dimpling the face. (Note: be sure to look at the face of the installed flooring at a low angle from a distance to see if dimpling is occurring as it is hard to see when directly above floor.)

Glue Down Installation Instructions

Make sure sub-floor is tested for moisture content first and is properly prepared.

On concrete subfloors, which are on or above grade, always assume the worst even if they measure dry. We recommend taking the following installation steps to ensure a trouble-free installation:

  • Test and document moisture content prior to installation.
  • Applying a sealer to the subfloor as needed

Use flooring adhesive recommended by USFLOORS/Hardwood Flooring Depot.

Once Spread adhesive has setup sufficiently per adhesive manufacturer’s instructions, lay the first row of flooring with groove facing the wall, and continue laying flooring. Always check you working lines to be sure the floor is still aligned. Use tapping block to fit planks together, but be careful not to let installed floor move on the wet adhesive while you are working. Always leave at least 3/8″ expansion space between flooring and all walls and vertical objects. Use wood or plastic spacers during installation to maintain this expansion space. Remember to stagger end joints from row to row at least 8″ apart.

When first section is finished, continue to spread adhesive and lay flooring section by section until installation is complete. Use a damp cloth to IMMEDIATELY REMOVE ANY ADHESIVE that gets on the flooring surface. If adhesive cannot be completely removed with damp cloth, use the manufacturer’s recommended adhesive remover. Never let flooring adhesive dry completely on the finished surface.

Walk each section flooring in order to make sure it is well bonded to the subfloor with the adhesive working time. Flooring planks on the perimeter of the room may require weight on them  until adhesive cures enough to hold them down and in place.

Floating Installation

Make sure subfloor is tested for moisture content first and is properly prepared.

Important: Floating installation method should only be used on engineered floors measuring at least 5″ in plank width.

If using an 1/8″ thick pad and installing below or on grade, poly-film is required.

Laying polyfilm: Lay 6-mil poly film with seams overlapped 8″. Fasten seams every 18-24″ with duct tape. Run the outside edges of film up perimeter of each wall 4″. Trim after flooring installation complete.

Laying pad:  Lay underlayment by butting edges, not overlapping. Tape full length of the seam with duct tape. Leave 1/2 space between pad and all walls and permanent vertical fixtures.

Installing the floor: Start first row with groove toward wall. Glue end joints of the first rows by applying a small but continuous bead of tongue and groove adhesive or PVAC glue to bottom side of the groove. Always leave at least a 3/8″ Expansion space between flooring and all walls and vertical objects such as pipes and cabinets. Use wood or plastic 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 a tapping block. Remember to stagger end joints from row to row at least 8″ apart.

Clean up any adhesive that is on the face of the floor by using a damp rag- DO NOT allow adhesive to dry on the flooring face as it is difficult to remove without damaging the finish.

In-floor Radiant Heat

Use only recommend flooring adhesive over manufacturers recommend ply wood substrate

  • Turn the heat off for 24 hours before, during and 24 hours after installation when installing over radiant heated subfloor.
  • Failure to turn the heat off may result in shortened working time of adhesive.
  • Floor temperature must not exceed 30 degrees Celsius.
  • Failure to strictly follow adhesive manufacturer’s guidelines may result in failure and void warranty.

Warning: Heating mats work very well under carpet, tile and stone, however we do not recommend to have them placed directly underneath a hardwood floor. It is best to install hardwood flooring over embedded floor heating systems.

This type of installation requires a specific construction of the plywood subfloor and the installer for such must be familiar with the NWFA recommendations.

NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) can be reached at 800-422-4556 U.S, or 800-848-8824 Canada.

General Radiant Heat Installation Guidelines

  • Radiant systems work most effectively, and with less trauma to the hardwood floor, if the heating process is gradual based on small incremental increases in relation to the outside temperature.
  • Subfloors should have proper moisture tests according to testing procedures outlined by the NWFA.
  • Avoid penetration of the heating element, tubing
  • Concrete subfloors should be fully cured.
  • Prior to  beginning the installation of the hardwood flooring over a water-heated radiant-heat, a pressure test should be preformed by a qualified plumber or the system installer.
  • Radiant heat is dry heat and a humidification system maybe necessary to  maintain the optimum recommended relative humidity of the hardwood flooring.(30%-50% RH).

After Installation

  • Flooring should be one of the last items installed in a project. In order to protect the floors while other trades are finishing their work prior to final cleanup and turnover to the owner, the floor should be completely covered with rosin paper or cardboard. Do not adhere tape of any kind to the face of the hardwood floor. Adhesive from tape will damage the finish. Do not use plastic film or other non-breathing covering as this can cause the floor to become damaged from condensation building ups between the plastic film and the hardwood floor.
  • Remove expansion spacers and reinstall base and quarter round moldings to cover the expansion space between the floor and the wall.
  • Sweep, dust mop, or vacuum your floor to remove any dirt or debris.
  • It is suggested that you buff the floor with lamb’s wool pads in order to remove any loose splinters, residues, footprint, etc.
  • Install any transition pieces that may be needed.
  • If using glue-down method, do not allow foot traffic or heavy furniture on floor for 24 hours.
  • Preform normal daily or weekly cleaning by vacuuming or dry mopping.

Protection and Maintenance of Your Floor

Lasting beauty can be achieved by providing proper, regular, on-going maintenance.

Fading: Natural floors contain organic pigments and are subject to fading when exposed to direct sunlight. Where possible, use drapes or other systems to protect your floor excessive light.

Joints: Natural flooring reacts to the conditions in the environment. Natural flooring plank system expand and contract in response to fluctuations in temperature humidity. Controlling the environment, maintaining an optimum temperature and relative humidity, will minimize the visible effects of normal contraction and expansion. Optimum recommended temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity is 30%-50%. In very dry climates, the use of humidifier is recommended to maintain optimum relative humidity.

Photo-sensitivity: Hardwood floors are photosensitive and will change color as they age or are exposed to U.V light. As this is a natural occurring phenomenon, accelerated with exposure to ultraviolet light, it is not considered a material defect and is excluded from coverage under the provision of Us-floors Limited warranty.

Tips to Minimize Fading/Discoloartion

  • Avoid rubber-backed mats and rugs, as the backing may discolor your floor.
  • Change the location of your rugs periodically. Rearrange more frequently if they are placed in front of doors and windows.
  • Use lights filtering window treatments that will minimize the effects of sunlight exposure.
  • rearrange furniture seasonally to allow the flooring to darken and age uniformly.

If completing a flooring extension or board replacement after the original installation has been down for a period of time the new flooring will have a lighter appearance. As the material is exposed to natural light, it should eventually blend in with the surrounding areas. However, due to the age of your flooring, surface wear exposure to ultraviolet light, USFloors cannot guarantee replacement flooring will be a 100% match to your existing product.

Color variation is to be expected with natural products, such as hardwood flooring. However, should an individual plank be doubtful as to appearance or dimension the installer should not use the piece.


Disclaimer: Hardwood Flooring Depot does not own the content of this page. This post is simply to assist readers and customers with installing “Castle Combe Orginals Hardwood” in DIY situations.

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