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Old 10-22-2012, 11:25 AM   #1
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Hardwood flooring nailing questions


I've read a number of how-to articles and believe I have a generally good idea how to install a hardwood floor. There are, however, a couple questions left unanswered for me (or are strongly contradicted).
  1. Should the first row by both face nailed and blind nailed?
  2. When nailing, should joists be avoided?
  3. With a mixed-width floor (3-1/4 & 4-1/4) should the rows alternate or be random?

For answering the last question, the flooring is character hickory (pretty random all by itself). One advantage I can see with random would the extra dimension of control it gives me to determine the last-row width. My concern would be "seeing" a pattern where none exists, or expecting a pattern and not getting one. The wood, of course, could care less.

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Old 10-22-2012, 12:15 PM   #2
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Hardwood flooring nailing questions


You could face nail along the edge, would be covered by the baseboard / trim and would not hurt anything. I hire out hardwood flooring and do not install it myself.
I have not seen my installers face nail.

I see no advantage to purposefully miss the joist, your subfloor is nailed to the joist.

#3 sounds like a matter of opinion, lay out a few courses on a dry run and see what looks better to you, alternating every other will give it more of a pattern.
Not sure how your material is ordered, when you get it on site you may find you have more of 1 size then the other and would dictate how you install it.

Our installer has a pretty wife as a assistant, she picks the pattern and keeps him stocked with the flooring where he needs it. All he has is a mallet and the flooring nailer to push the pieces in place and nail it, she cuts the end pieces. Starts the next row for him. They can lay a floor fast and excellent quality. With a vapour barrier down to hide the joist nailing and random lengths, is no measuring going on to find the joist, and again is no face nailing.
Am sure that a pretty assistant helps in laying proper hardwood flooring.

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Old 10-22-2012, 01:07 PM   #3
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Hardwood flooring nailing questions


I have always face nailed the first row, and covered it with trim. Blind nail it as well. You will have to pre-drill and use a hammer since your pneumatic nailer wont work on the first few rows.

No reason to avoid joists.

Pattern is pure preference. You should lay out your flooring before nailing it down to ensure a nice looking end product.
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:27 AM   #4
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Hardwood flooring nailing questions


I ordered a 60-40 split so I would have, overall, the same number of rows of each. I have my pallet of 1100 sq ft at the mill and just pick up and buy what I need off of that.

I planned to face and blind nail the starter row. Sounds like that won't make anything worse.

I thought there might be a couple reasons to avoid nailing on joists: hitting plywood edges and screws.

I don't see how you can avoid face nailing at either end of the room. Lacking a finish nailer, I'll probably pre-drill and hammer away. Tried using a brad nailer on some scrap pieces, but its face tended to mar the surface.
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:51 PM   #5
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Hardwood flooring nailing questions


Half a room under my belt, so to answer my own questions:
  1. Face and blind first row, blind second row, pneumatic nailer for the rest.
  2. Once your underlayment (felt paper, aquabar, etc.) is down you can't see where the joists are, so meh.
  3. Random looks fine. Hickory is so variegated that patterns would be hard to discern, anyhow.
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:50 PM   #6
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Hardwood flooring nailing questions


You can avoid face nailing the first row by screwing down some strips in a straight line if face nails are a concern. I normally just face nail and fill the holes.

You can also pl400 the last few rows that your nailer wont get to avoid face nails as well. Hope this helps.
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Old 10-30-2012, 07:41 AM   #7
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Hardwood flooring nailing questions


So you put in a spacer strip, butt the first row against that, blind nail the first couple rows, then remove the spacer strip?

What is a PL400? Is that adhesive? If so, is there any concern that the glued rows would move differently than the nailed ones? No underlayment where the adhesive goes?

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