Teak is an extremely hard wood. The dense nature of the wood makes it weather resistant and durable. However, the tree is extremely slow growing. It takes up to 120 years for a teak tree to mature from a seedling. After years of export, much of the world's old growth teak is gone. While Brazil exports a lot of teak, the trees' slow growth and limited resource add to the cost. When ordering the hardwood, add 8 percent to the total square footage of the room. This gives you extra flooring to match lengths or work around wall features.
Place the wood flooring in the room where it will be installed and open the boxes. If possible, spread the flooring out and leave it in the room for two weeks to give the wood time to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room. Just before working on the floors, stack the hardwood to make room for tools and installation. Teak is very sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. Giving the flooring time to acclimate to the room will save you headaches later.
Press the sharp end of the pry bar between the molding and the wall. Gently pry the shoe molding from the base of the wall with the pry bar. Set the molding aside. Remove any old flooring and discard. Vacuum the floor.
Lay a layer of 6 mil plastic sheeting on the subfloor. Overlap the seams of the plastic. The plastic limits the amount of moisture the teak will absorb from the subfloor.
Place the builder's felt on the subfloor. When figuring the amount of felt needed, add 5 percent to the total square foot measure of the room. Overlap the felt 6 inches at each seam. Place a second layer of felt over the first, staggering the seams.
Lay the first plank of flooring on the longest wall. Place the grooved side of the flooring against the wall. Measure the remaining floor and cut any pieces to fit. Lay the second row of planks so that the seams between the ends are staggered. Cut and place several rows of flooring before nailing. Builders call this "racking the floor."
Spread the planks to give you room for nailing. Starting with the first row of planks against the wall, place nails 1/4 inch from the edge of the plank and drive them diagonally toward the wall. Teak is an extremely hard wood. It may be necessary to drill pilot holes in the flooring before nailing with a hammer. Start in the corner and place nails every 8 inches along the length of the plank. If the wall is longer than the plank, measure the length of the rest of the wall. Cut a plank to fit and place the second piece against the wall so that the ends of both planks touch. Nail the second plank in place. Install a second line of nails on the tongue side of the planks. Use the pneumatic nail gun to shoot a nail diagonally just above the tongue. Hold the nail gun firmly against the teak to ensure that the nail fully seats in the wood.
Press the next row of planks up against the first. Push the tongue of the first row into the groove of the second. Use the rubber mallet to pound the planks together. Shoot a line of nails into the tongue of the second row.
Continue to lay planks across the room. As you work, cut the planks to fit around floor heat registers, walls or other architectural features.
Replace the molding around the edge of the floor.
Tips & Warnings
- If placing the wood flooring over concrete subfloors, test for moisture first. Tape a 2-foot square of 6-mil plastic directly onto the concrete. Leave the plastic for 24 hours. Check the plastic. If there is any water or condensation on the underside of the plastic, the concrete is too moist for the hardwood. Contact a professional to install a moisture barrier before installing the hardwood.
- Use caution when cutting the teak. It is one of the hardest woods available for flooring.
Things You'll Need:
- Small pry bar
- 6 mil plastic sheeting
- 15- to 30-lb. builder's felt, double the room's measurement
- 18-gauge nails
- Cutting tools
- Pneumatic nail gun
- 18-gauge pneumatic nails
- Rubber mallet
- Finishing nails
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