Nail-down Installation

Nailing Your Wood Floor Installation

When installing wood flooring, you’ll need to know a little about nailing it down, unless you go a different route. There are some things to consider before you make your wood floor purchase that have to do with nailing it properly so read on to find out more.

History of Nailing Wood Flooring

Prior to the end of the 19th century, wood flooring was comprised of straight planks that were typically installed by nailing through the top of the wood. Today, planks generally come in tongue-and-groove pieces. Installers rarely nail the top of the wood because the nails show and also because nailing the tops causes the planks to gap.

Unless you are going for a rustic look or a Colonial-inspired theme, chances are you will opt for tongue-and-groove boards and if so, you’re in luck. They look, feel, and wear better when “blind nailing” them versus the old fashioned method of “top nailing” them.

Nail-In Installation Process

In order to achieve a “blind nail” job, simply make a chalk line over the subfloor in the direction of the boards, marking the first row. The flooring boards will them be arranged along the line and the last one should be cut to the appropriate length with a chop saw. In the event the boards have tongues, they need to be placed facing in the direction in which you are incorporating to install the flooring.

Using a combination square and pencil, lightly draw lines perpendicularly across the boards. Space them consistently, 7 to 10 inches apart from one another, spacing closer if wide boards are being used. Now, draw lines within one inch of the boards’ ends.

Next, drill two neat 1/8-inch holes on each line. Position the holes ¾ inches from the boards’ edges and if the boards are wider than 6 inches, an extra hold should be added between them for security. Then, in each hole, drive a 1 ½ inch finish-style nail and use a nail set to ensure that the head of the nail is sunken and not visible.

Working with Tongue and Groove Boards

To install the next section of the floor, you’ll want to stagger the boards’ ends about 6 inches away from the first round of them. Use a hammer to lightly tap the boards together and then blind nail them together in their tongues with a floor nail device. Continue until you reach the end of the wall. Go to the bottoms of the grooves and rip them off and then cut them to the desired length by using a table saw. Drop, but don’t nail, them into their prospective place.

Draw light chalk lines across the boards’ faces, making sure to include the ones in the last raw. Use the lines previously made of the floorings’ first row as your point of start. Ignore the lines that were drawn at the boards’ ends.
In each board and on every line, drill two or three 1/8 inch holes according to the width of the boards. Drive a finish nail into each of the holes and complete the job by sinking the head of the nail.

Working with Straight Boards

Carefully place the flooring on the second row, trying to get them as close as possible to one another. Stagger the boards’ ends by 6 inches. Extend the lines from the first row onto the second using a straightedge. Then, use a drill to make holes on the lines and once again, sink the heads of the nails.

The third row should be installed just like the second row was. Repeat until you read the wall. Your floor should now be…nailed!

Nailing It…or Not?

With some skill and a little luck, by following the instructions above, you’ll nail the installation of your wood flooring. Hardwood floors are a considerable investment. If you aren’t confident in doing the job yourself, don’t hesitate to hire a professional. The main goal is to nail having gorgeous floors no matter who it is that does the job.

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