Looking for the best flooring installation tools? Being able to get the job done efficiently and to the highest standards of quality as a flooring installation contractor is contingent on having the right arsenal of tools. Flooring is a specialized trade and as such, requires specialized tools. Whether you are a neophyte flooring installer just cutting your teeth in the trade or a seasoned contractor looking for the latest and greatest tools we have a list for you. We polled our very own community of professional flooring contractors to find out which tools they can’t go without, which they recommend for beginners and which flooring installation tools modern flooring contractors should have.
1) Pinless Wood Moisture Meters
You may have used pin meters in the past and are aware of the complications they present. First, they create holes in the wood. Secondly, they only measure as far as you are able to sink them into the wood. And of course, if the insulation on the pins is peeling or damaged, you will get inaccurate readings. But pinless meters use electromagnetic signals to penetrate into the wood and bring back a moisture content reading. Our experts advise that you also purchase a calibrator platform along with your pinless meter to keep it accurate.
2) Circular Saws
This is a tool that came up too many times to count when we asked our members “what flooring installation tools are absolutely essential?” Circular saws can be big and heavy, but having one on the job is a must. They allow you to cut lengths of hardwood, oriented strand board, tile and even masonry perfectly straight each time and allow you to do so quickly. Circular saws also allow you to cut panels at an angle for corner or specialty pieces.
3) A Good Trowel
Note the distinction here: a good trowel. The basic function of a trowel is to tamp down adhesive onto the subfloor evenly. But a good trowel will be one suited to your specific needs. Our experts suggest making sure that the trowel handle feels comfortable in your hands as you will be using it quite a bit. You will also need one with notches that suit your job. Quarter-inch V notches are advised for wood flooring adhesive. You will also want a trowel with a large plate. Somewhere around 11 inches is advisable.
4) The Right Finishing Material
Wood filler and wood putty are usually lumped together because they perform the same job but it is important to distinguish between them. Wood putty can only be used on oil-based flooring finishes. Wood filler is water-based so it dries very quickly. Naturally, the finish you are using will dictate which material you will have to use. In any case, it is advised to have a variety on hand to meet the needs of your customers and to be able to match the color of the finish as closely as possible.
5 ) Spacer Blocks
These little pieces of equipment often mentioned when we asked our members “what tool is essential but may be overlooked by beginners?” Spacer blocks are used to allocate space between the wall or baseboards and the flooring material. They make it much easier to leave the correct amount of room for hardwood expansion and contraction during installation.
6) Feather Boards
This is a very simple piece of equipment but it is essential to safety and can help you make smoother cuts when using a table saw. A feather board is used to push the flooring material into the table saw so you don’t have to risk getting your hands too close to the blade. They are also helpful for creating cleaner edges so you waste less wood material.
7) Concrete Relative Humidity Testers
This tool is very similar to the pinless meters that started our list, but they are used to test relative humidity and moisture content in concrete slabs. You need this kind of tester when you install floor coverings to measure moisture content. Too much moisture content can cause the adhesive to fail or warp over time. Concrete relative humidity testers with situ probes are recommended.
We hope that you found our list of the 7 best flooring installation tools helpful. Please note that while there are a number of other essential flooring tools, this list focuses only on the installation aspect of the trade. For more information or to become a member, contact us here at Contractors Society of America