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How to Use a Floor Nailer: Step-by-step Guide for 2020

Amril Stewart Jan 13, 2020
Nails and human civilization go hand in hand. From the day humans invented nails, it’s been a part of our lives. With time we’ve figured out different methods of using nails. Or in other words, we now have several ways of nailing something. Nailing with a hammer and using a nail gun are two most popular methods.
But if you’re up for nailing some hardwood floor, these two aren’t the best options. For this task, it’s better to use a top-rated Hardwood Flooring Nailer. So, how to use a floor nailer?

Well, we’re here to answer this question. Moreover, we’ve prepared this whole thing into bite-sized steps. So, it’ll be easier for you to grasp and deliver.

How to Use a Floor Nailer: Step-by-Step Guide

Using a floor nailer is super easy. In fact, it’s so easy that in just 4 steps you’ll be able to nail your hardwood floor. Now, let’s get going with the steps.

Step 1: Select the Correct Size Adapter Plate

You’ll get several adapter plates with your floor nailer while buying it. Before jumping in with the nailer, at first measure your floor thickness. Two things vary based on floor thickness. These are cleat and adapter size. You’ll find a proper size chart for your floor nailer with the user manual.
Once you’ve figured out adapter plate size, attach it to the flooring nailer.
Start loading the nail magazine. Double-check the cleat size as you don’t want to pull up the cleats after installing them once.

Step 2: Connect Flooring Nailer to Air Compressor

Floor nailers use compressed air to nail floors. It takes much more than a swing of the rubber mallet to nail those thick hardwoods.

So, at this point, you have to use the compression fittings. You’ll find these on the air hose. Use fittings to connect your floor nailer to the air compressor.
Before going all berserk with floor nailer, don’t forget to check your connection. Make sure there aren’t any leaks. A small leak can result in a fatal disaster. If there aren’t any leaks, proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Set Air Pressure on Compressor

For this, you have to go to the operating manual once again. Look for the recommended air pressure. Generally, this recommended pressure varies from model to model.

Some need high pressure and low mallet force, and some need low pressure and high mallet force. However, the mallet force change is very subtle.
Now, let’s get back to the track. Once you have got that recommended psi setting, turn to your air compressor. Take that pressure gauge at hand and adjust it to the recommended pressure level. Once, you’re done with that, get ready for the 4th and final step.

Step 4: Using the Floor Nailer

This is the toughest and longest step. Now, before using the floor nailer you have to manually nail down the very first strip of the floor. You can start from the wall or from the center. But we prefer starting from a wall.
Now for the second strip- follow as we say. Hold the adapter foot of your nailer directly up against that first strip (tongue side). Now pick up that rubber mallet and strike the actuator with that. This will activate the nailer and it’ll instantly drive a cleat through the wood.
The beauty of using a flooring nailer is that it automatically pushes the cleats at a 45-degree angle. While laying the next strip, tap the 2nd strip firmly. This will tight fit the 2nd strip with the first one. Repeat the same mallet hitting process for the 2nd strip. Keep on repeating this till you reach the last strip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question #1: Can I use a nail gun to install hardwood floors?
Answer: Yes. But make sure that those cleats are going in at a 45-degree angle.

Question #2: What kind of nails to use on wood floors?
Answer: Depends on the strip thickness. For half-inch thick wood, use 1-0.5-inch-long cleat nails. Use 0.75 inches long cleats if your strip is 0.75 inches long.
Question #3: Which side of hardwood do you nail?
Answer: Nail on from the left to right. Make sure that you’re at a 45-degree angle.

Question #4: Can you install hardwood floor with finish nailer?
Answer: Yes, you can. In fact, use finish nailers on the ending strip of the flooring.
Question #5: How much does it cost to install 1000 square feet of hardwood floors?

Answer: If you buy all the materials, then it’ll have one type of cost. If you lend all the tools, then it’ll have another type of cost. And lastly, it depends on whether you’re doing it yourself or are you hiring a professional. But the range is between $6123 and $8137.
Question #6: What underlayment to use for hardwood floors?
Answer: It depends on the wood type. Engineered hardwood will need floor mufflers. Pure hardwood floors need paper-based underlayment. Silicon vapor Shield or Aquabar-B are perfect for nail down hardwood.
Question #7: Which way do you put hardwood floors?
Answer: Hardwood floors should always be laid down perpendicular to floor joists. This will make the floor structure stronger.
Question #8: Can hardwood flooring be installed parallel to floor joists?
Answer: Yes. you can do that. But it’s recommended to do the opposite. Install the strips perpendicular to floor joists

Bottom Line

There was our answer to ‘How to use a floor nailer?’
It’s super easy. But you have to be careful at every step. A slight mistake can cost you a lot. Now, go and nail down that beautiful floor of yours. Good luck.