floors, flooringOnce the board is in place, the nailer (or stapler) is set on top of and perpendicular to the new board’s tongue, about 1 inch from the end. The fastener is then installed and the nailer moved about 6 inches along the tongue and another fastener is installed. This process is repeated until the end of the board, making sure that the final fastener is at least 1 inch from the end.

Once installation moves away from the starter wall, you will develop a rhythm of placing a racked board, striking the two exposed edges to lock the grooves to the previous board’s tongues, then nailing the exposed tongue. Remember to step back periodically and take a look at the floor as it develops. If you’ve installed a bad board or find one that was damaged in installation it’s easier to replace it now than later.

If you find a warped board you can either set it aside as waste or attempt to remove the warp as the board is installed. You can remove some warp with a scrap board placed along the edge and tapped with a hammer. Remember that it’s difficult to remove a board once it is installed, so err on the side of caution.

Boards on the ending wall are blind nailed as are those on the starting wall and for the same reason. The hardwood floor nailer typically can’t be used near walls. Remember to allow for floor expansion by using a 1/2-inch spacer between the flooring and wall as you did with the starting wall.

As you installing flooring materials you probably will meet obstacles. They can be stairs, posts, or vent registers. Hardwood flooring is installed on stairs by first installing the nose then the subsequent boards, blind-nailing them at the edge of the tread and the riser. Posts require that you trim boards to fit around them, allowing an expansion space if possible and covering the space with trim. For registers, remove the unit and make sure you trim the hole sufficiently so it can be reinstalled later.

Trade Secret

You’ll probably need to manually nail the first three rows of boards from the wall because most hardwood nailers can’t do the job because of their depth. Drill pilot holes, then nail and countersink finish nails in the surface and on top of the tongue. Be especially careful nailing the tongue as a miss could damage the edge and require additional sanding.

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