Installing Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring

Installing reclaimed hardwood flooring or antique flooring. Install this reclaimed flooring, the same way you would any 3/4 solid hardwood flooring. Although, some care and consideration should be taken long the way. You can't toss reclaimed flooring around like you could, a regular hardwood flooring.

Reclaimed flooring or Antique flooring, the name says it all. They're old, yep very old, a lot of these flooring are 100 yrs or older. Reclaimed hardwood flooring has one common problem, they're very dry. So during, your reclaimed wood flooring installation, be very careful with them. You've spent a lot of money on them. You can't afford to have any  go to waste. Money well spent will be going out the window.

In this article I will be covering reclaimed flooring, how to estimate material and how to install a random width pattern. The photo shown on this page is of wide plank white pine flooring. This is not reclaimed wood flooring, white pine flooring is widely used to mimic, the old rustic look like most reclaimed flooring, without having to spend tons of money.

Let's begin...


Estimating The Amount Flooring Needed

Same Size Width If, you will be installing the same size width. Round-up to the nearest foot, to cover for waste. When ordering your reclaimed hardwood flooring, this is the easy number to figure out.

Example: 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 = 13 x 13

Different Size Width or Random Width If, you will be installing different size width, to achieve a random width look. Estimate the percentage of each reclaimed flooring needed, then figure out the amount to a full row.

Why do you need to know this? Different width will have different linear footage per bundle, covering different amounts of sq. footage.. Your waste amount will be different for each reclaimed flooring width. We want to make sure we have a complete row of each reclaimed wood flooring width

Example: Width A, bundle consist of 80 linear feet of reclaimed wood flooring.80/13=6.15 rows. Width B, 70 linear ft. 70/13=5.38 rows Width C, 60 linear ft.60/13=4.61 rows Width D, 50 linear foot.50/13=3.85 rows They all represent 20 sq. ft. per bundle.

Here is the final adjustment you need to make when ordering your reclaimed flooring. All partial rows should be rounded-up to nearest full row. You don't want to be a foot short on any width. Reclaimed hardwood flooring take an average of 4-6 weeks to order. We don't want to hold up any project that amount of time, let's help keep the ball rolling

Example: 13x13 = 169 square ft. You will be installing 4 random widths. Divide the amount of sq. footage by the amount of width. 169/4= 42.25 (round-up to 43 sq. ft.) You'll need 43 sq. feet of each reclaimed flooring width = 25%.

Referring back to the linear footage example above. We know we want 25% of reclaimed hardwood flooring of each size based on 13x15 room = 195 sq. ft. We will be installing our floor on the 13 foot length. Each bundle contains 20 square feet of reclaimed wood flooring. We need 3 bundles each, Width A=240 LF, Width B=210 LF, Width C=180 LF, Width D=150 LF. (LF/15=rows) Width A=18.5 rows, Width B=16.15 rows Width C=13.85 rows, Width D=11.5 rows. Let's keep in mind 60 sq. ft. x 4 equals 240 sq. ft. 45 sq.ft. of waste is a lot. At $10 per sq.ft. or more, this will add up and is a lot of money to be throwing away.

Let's tweak our numbers a little bit, before we place our antique flooring on order. Looking at the numbers that we have. Any numbers closest to a full row should be left alone. In our case this would be Width "B", with 16.15 Rows at 60 s.f. So we'll purchase this as is. Let's work on A,C and D. We'll reduce Width "A" to 2 bundles which will give us 12.30 row at 40sf. Increase "D" to 4 bundles, which will give us 15.38 rows at 80 s.f. and we'll put "C" at 2 bundles, which is 9.23 rows at 40 s.f.

So with our final square footage at 220 s.f. We've reduced our reclaimed wood flooring purchase quantity by 20 s.f. That's a $200 minimum on material, that we saved. We can probably tweak it some more, but I think you get the idea, on how to, math class has ended.


LayOut, Racking and Set-ups

To reduce waste and achieve the unique look you want. Do a dry layout with your reclaimed wood flooring.

Set-up your reclaimed flooring the same way you would like a regular nail/staple down hardwood flooring. For random widths, mix in the different widths that you have, completing a row for each reclaimed flooring. If you need help, visit our staple/nail down page for instruction on set-up, then come back.


After you have performed a dry layout, of your reclaimed flooring do not perform any cuts at this time. Balance the appearance of your reclaimed hardwood flooring, move rows or pieces around. Evenly distribute the many different characters of your reclaimed flooring, throughout your space.

Don't forget about your furniture placement. If, you have limited reclaimed hardwood flooring boards with a lot of valuable characters. Save them,  for areas where you can show them off, avoid putting them under a furniture or a rug area.

Reclaimed HardWood Flooring Installation

2 Points make a straight line. Start your first row from a straight chalked line, refer to the staple/nail down page, for help. Face nail your board in. When installing wide plank reclaimed hardwood flooring. Apply a generous amount of hardwood flooring glue, to the groove of your reclaimed flooring board. This will help keep your joints tight, but it will also allow it to contract, then install your flooring staples.

If, your floor boards have large cracks in the middle of your planks, apply glue in these areas, also. On wider reclaimed hardwood flooring, you can face nail the reclaimed flooring boards, if needed. Apply finish nails to areas, where there are a lot worm holes or knots. This way your nails, when set below, will blend in, and there won't be a need for filling them, with wood putty.

Complete your reclaimed wood flooring installation, the same way you would as a standard staple/nail down method, using these above, additional information given

Installing Square End Planks, Using 3d Cut Nails

Layout 1 strip of underlayment, expose enough sub-flooring, so that you can see the locations of your sub-flooring joist from the wall. Make reference lines on your underlayment paper with a pencil or chalk line, to represent the location of your sub-flooring joist. Chalk your starting line also, at this time.



Do a dry layout of your reclaimed hardwood flooring. This time cut them in place. Your cut edges must land in the middle of a joist.

Starting from your starting chalked line. Set-up about 3 feet of reclaimed flooring rows. Using 3d cut nails, face nail your first antique flooring row in place. Install a nail 1 inch in from the edge of your reclaimed hardwood flooring into the sub-flooring joist location, install 2 nails per joist.


Using 2, 8" x 12" scrap boards, cut 2 equal triangles(see image). Place both pieces in front of your last reclaimed flooring row. Fasten the outer triangle down with screws. Using a hammer, tap the triangle that's closest to the reclaimed flooring in place. This wedge system will apply pressure, tightening the joints of your square end reclaimed hardwood flooring. When the joints are tight, chalk or draw a reference line on the face of your reclaimed flooring, for nailing.

Repeat this process to complete your reclaimed flooring installation. Using the same installation procedures we spoke about, in the above article and our staple down method page.


Plugging Holes

Some antique flooring have large knot holes, that may be missing, you will need to make plugs for this area.

Determine the diameter of your plug, needed for your reclaimed hardwood flooring. Make a square strip 16-20 inch long. It could be either 3/4 x 3/4 or 3/4 x 1 depending on the size plug needed.

Using a hand planer, taper the tip of your reclaimed flooring strip, Shape the strip to look like a wedge dowel, to fit your hole or wood knot. Once, you have a snug fit, apply regular wood glue to your plug, then install it, use a hammer to tap it in . Then, use a Japanese flush cut saw or a multi tool with a flush cut attachment to trim flush to your hardwood floor surface.

Tip: For, odd shaped holes, re-drill the holes, before making a plug to fit.


By now, you should have a good understanding of how to install reclaimed hardwood flooring and the techniques used. If, your stuck and need help or may have a question, contact us.

Learn how to finish your reclaimed wood flooring, click here ...Refinishing hardwood floors.

Use less waste and get expert results

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