How to Use a Finish Nailer to Nail Down Hardwood Floor

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Hardwood floors that are installed in a home come in two types. One type is called a floating floor; it is not secured with nails. The other type is secured to the subfloor using staples or nails. Nails that are used to secure the wood boards to the subfloor require using a hammer or a finish nailer. Finish nailers can be purchased or rented.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Finish nails
  • Chalk line
  • Spacers
  • Power drill
  • Finish nailer
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Make a mark along the floor half an inch from the wall using a chalk line. The half inch is to allow for the expansion of the wood. Align the first row along the chalk line, and use a hammer and nails to secure the boards to the sub floor. The finish nailer will be too big to use until at least two rows have been installed.

  • Open the magazine cover of the finish nailer and place strips of finish nails in a row along the length of the magazine. Make sure the heads of the nails, not the tips, are facing the handle of the nailer.

  • Close the magazine cover when you have finished loading nails into the magazine.

  • Set the finish nailer so that is sits flush against the tongue edge of the board.

  • Press or strike the trigger on the finish nailer to drive the nail diagonally through the base of the tongue on the board.

  • Place nails along the row about every 10 to 12 inches. Make sure you place at least two nails in each board of the hardwood flooring.

  • Repeat the previous three steps until you have finished installing the floor.

  • Place additional strips of nails into the finish nailer as it runs out. You may need to install the last row of boards by hand with a hammer and nails if the remaining space does not permit full functioning of the finish nailer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cover the finish nail hole on the top of the first boards with wood putty using a putty knife.
  • You can rent a finish nailer from your local Home Depot or other home improvement store.
  • If any boards are not aligned flush, the rest of the floor will not install properly.

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