Can I Use a Nail Gun to Install a Hardwood Floor?

Yes, you can use nail gun to install hardwood floor. But, you have to use the specific nail gun for each process, because there are many types of nailers are available and each one have its own properties. By using nail gun you can reduce the time and labor for the installation and you can replace the old swing a hammer technique with automated nailing. You can use certain types of nail guns to install a hardwood floor. But, first of all you need to practice on scrap wood to ensure that you master the correct technique. To do the hardwood flooring, you can use three type of nailer.

  • Flooring Nailer
  • Finish Nailer
  • Flooring and Mallet Nailer

The framing nailers are not suitable due to its nail size and configuration on nailing.

Flooring Nailer

Pneumatic flooring nailer or stapler is the best nailer to install hardwood floor. It is made specifically to fit over the top edge of plank and tongue. The flooring nailer shoots a headless nail through the tongue and into the subfloor. The accuracy of the flooring nailer is high while compared to other nailer. So, if you positioned correctly, then making a mistake is difficult.

Finish Nailer

Most people don’t keep a flooring nailer around, because it has only one use. So, if you handy with a finish nailer, then you can use it for the installation of hardwood floor. It is designed for trim work and to shoot a near-headless nail that does not mar the surface look of the wood. That’s why finish nailer make the hardwood floor installation effective as well. To use the finish nailer, position the nail shoe to wood tongue about a 15 degree angle downward and inward, towards the plank. Depress the nail shoe while holding the nailer carefully in place, and pull the trigger. And use finish nails that are long enough to go through the subfloor.

Top 3 Best Finish Nailer

These are top 3 best finish nailer comparison table which will help you to make the best choice for your woodworking projects easily:

Finish NailerImagePower SourceMagazine Capacity/ShippingEditor's RatingPrice
Hitachi NT65MA4 1-1/4 Inch to 2-1/2 Inch 15-Gauge Angled Finish NailerPneumatic100 Nails
FREE Shipping4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)See on Amazon
NuMax SFN64 Straight Finish Nailer 16 Gauge Ergonomic & Lightweight PneumaticPneumatic100 Nails
_4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)See on Amazon
Metabo HPT NT65MA4 Pneumatic Angled Finish Nailer, 15 Gauge, 1-1/4-Inch up to 2-1/2-InchPneumatic100 Nails
FREE Shipping4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)See on Amazon

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Flooring and Mallet Nailer

The power nailers became common in the flooring industry and a manual flooring nailer and mallet were standard. And it still does a good job now days. The manual nailer holds flooring nails and features as a shaped nail shoe that fits right over edges of planks and the tongues. Tap on the nailing cap after positioning the nailer correctly. It may use the gravity and a spring-loaded system to drive the nails. To shoot down nails, it may employ compressed air while hit the nailing cap with the mallet.

Can I Use a Nail Gun to Install Hardwood Floor

Install Hardwood Floor Process

The nailing process of hardwood flooring is designed to toe-nailed into the subfloor through the tongue. To do it, we can follow two easy ways to sink the nails. So, you no need to do everything by hand. The flooring nailers are spring loaded devices that you can hit with a special rubber-tipped mallet and requiring a certain amount of strength. If you don’t want to spend more time on the exercise of swinging a heavy hammer, then you can use the pneumatic nail guns as the best option.

What Should I have?

  • Hardwood flooring
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • 2-inch finish nails
  • Nail punch
  • Flooring nailer
  • Mallet
  • Pneumatic nail gun with compressor (optional)
  • 2-inch cleats
  • Table saw
  • Safety glasses

What to do?

  1. First course of flooring is you to install this along the walls or in the center of the room. Do this by drilling pairs of holes in the flooring at 12- to 18-inch intervals and driving in 2-inch finish nails with a hammer. And make sure to nail within an inch of the grooved end of the flooring boards. Snip off the end of one of the finishing nails to make a bit more for drilling the pilot holes. Sink the heads of the nails with a nail punch.
  2. Top-nail with a nailer by simply holding the head of the nailer on the wood and pull the trigger. Adjust the air compressor pressure correctly. So that the head sinks about 1/8 inch into the wood.
  3. Install next course of flooring by tapping the grooves of the boards into the tongues of the first course. And stagger the short ends of the board by at least 6 inches from the short ends of the board in the first course.
  4. Toe-nail the second course through the tongue about 12- to 18-inch intervals. Use a nailer, or do it by hand, drill well the pilot holes and sinking the heads with a nail punch. And don’t use a flooring nailer while you are in the center of the room, as the force needed to drive the cleat and it may move the first course out of place.
  5. Use a flooring nailer to toe-nail from the third course onwards and if there is room for it. Set the lip of the nailer against the edge of a board along the tongue, holding it in right place with the handle. Hit the spring-loaded driver sharply with the rubber side of the mallet to force the cleat through the tongue. And again hit with enough force so that the head of the cleat sinks into the wood. Continue to toe-nail with a nail gun, If you are using this nailing method to install hardwood floor.
  6. Install the entire floor in this way until you get close to the wall. And you need to run out of room for either the nailer or the nailer. Toe-nail by hand until you finishes the second-to-last course.
  7. Finally, measure the gap between the wall and the second-to-last course. Rip the board of the last course to fit, using a table saw and preserving the groove side of the boards. Set the depth of the table saw blade to 1/2 inch and remove the bottom part of the groove from these boards. Drop the boards into place along the wall and top-nail them to get the perfection for this word.

So you can take a practice section on scrap to get the perfection for your hardwood floor installation.

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