Installing a Decorative Border

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated February 22, 2019)

While many hardwood floors are beautiful all by themselves, there is a way that you can add a little extra elegance and character to your hardwood floor. That is by installing a decorative border to your hardwood floor. A decorative border is simply a "frame" to the floor of your room that offers a little extra definition, and character. Decorative borders are made from a piece of flooring that is a different color or finish from the rest of the floor. Here is how you can go about installing a decorative border yourself.

Please note that the best time to begin installing a decorative border is when you are installing a new hardwood floor. You will already have all of the tools and materials necessary to get the job done at that time. The only extra material that you will need to purchase is a small amount of the same type of wood flooring that you are installing, but make sure that it is a different color for contrast.

  1. Decide on a location. A decorative border should be placed in a location that will attract some attention, but not too much. Ideally, the location that you want is going to be between six inches and a foot away from the wall. This will allow you to have enough distance from the wall to attract notice, but not draw undue attention, while also allowing you plenty of room to work with the rest of the flooring. Lay out some lengths of the flooring across the entire width of the floor, and then measure carefully. Lay out a bunch of the full-width strips, just as if you were installing them. This will give you an idea of what the project will look like when finished, as well as give you an idea if any adjustments should be made. Use a chalk line to create a mark where you want the edge of the decorative border to lay.
  2. Cut and install your inlay. The easiest way to create an inlay is to use the standard sized flooring strips that you get at your local home improvement store. Before laying down the inlay, cut off the tongued edge by using a tablesaw. Where you will be having corner, miter the corners (cut the pieces into 45 degree angles) so that you have a more elegant look and feel to your flooring. Nail each piece of the inlay down to the subfloor using #6 finishing nails. Repeat the process with the rest of the inlay, though you should make periodic checks to ensure that you are installing everything in a straight line.
  3. Install the perimeter. Cut and fit the perimeter flooring using the regular flooring materials. Keep in mind that because you will be closer to the wall when you are doing this, you will not be able to use a flooring nailer (you simply don't have the room). This means that you will need to face nail them instead (which is what you did when you installed the inlay). For the majority of the perimeter you should be able to install the flooring using the regular tongue and groove method that you will on the rest of the floor. However, you will need to cut the tongue off of the last piece in order to fit it in.
  4. Install the remaining floor. Continue to install the rest of your flooring as you normally would. Be sure that you follow the flooring manufacturer's directions as closely as possible when doing this.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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