How to Use a Floor Nailer


When installing tongue-and-grove hardwood flooring, a floor nailer is the optimum tool to have. This machine sets the cleats at the perfect 45-degree angle for stability and aesthetics. Take some time to learn to use a mallet-driven pneumatic nailer and the time spent will pay off when you lay your floor.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor nailer
  • Mallet
  • Cleats (nails)
  • Air compressor
  • Power jack (optional)
  • Choose the correct adapter plate and cleat size for your flooring thickness. Apply the plate and load a strip of cleats in the magazine.

  • Attach the hose from the air compressor the nailer. Use the correct pounds per square inch, as detailed in the manual. Too much pressure can break the tongues on your tongue-and-groove, while too little can prevent the nails from seating properly.

  • Begin laying floor strips. On the first row next to the wall, it is necessary to use a vertical nailer (such as a hammer and small finish nails) to attach the strip to the underlayment.

  • On the other side of the first strip, place the adapter foot up to the tongue. Use the mallet to actuate the nailer. The tongue should not be damaged.

  • On the second strip, the groove is placed over the tongue of the first strip. Tap the second strip lightly to seat it against the first. Use the same method as Step 4 to attach the strip to the underlayment.

  • Continue on as in Step 5. An optional power jack may be needed to seat crooked pieces.

Tips & Warnings

  • Look for leaks in your air supply that may be robbing the nailer of power. Fix them accordingly.
  • Practice with the nailer before use. It is better to learn on scrap pieces to get the feel of the machine.
  • Always follow warnings in the owners manuals for the nailer and the air compressor.
  • Wear safety goggles when using a power nailer.
  • Do not use the nailer to seat strips or damage it in any other way. It could malfunction, causing injury.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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