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Hardwood Floor Nails:
Flooring Nails designed with barbs and resin for holding power

Hardwood Floor Nails serve only one purpose.. to hold the floor in place without squeaks! They do this via a couple of special design features. This is why when installing hardwood flooring, floor nails designed specifically for that purpose are so important.

Features:

  1. Resin Coating: Most of the better quality hardwood floor nails are resin coated.. kind of like a "sticky" coating applied to the nails to add greater grabbing power when it is installed into the subfloor
  2. Sawtooth Edges: Seasonal changes in humidity causes the planks of your hardwood floor to move and this in turn, pulls at the nails.Thus the holding power of your nails is especially important for a wood floor. Nails with a serrated edges, similar to the resin coating prevent the wood movement from pulling the floor nail out of the subfloor.
  3. The EDGE: die cut floor nails are sharper, thus less likely to break the tongue of your hardwood floor on entry. This is particularly important on very brittle hardwoods, like the exotic species (ie. Brazilian Cherry or IPE)

Every hardwood floor nailer uses a specific nail. You can't even in most nailers change between a "L" Shaped to a "T" shaped without an adapter kit. Thus be cautious, particularly if you are renting, to get the floor nail suited to the specific nailer. If you buy the nails from the same company that you rent the manual or Pneumatic floor nailer from you are usually covered.

Styles:

  1. "L" Shaped (typically 16 gauge & 2" long for 3/4" floor)
  2. "T" Shaped (similar to "L" shaped)
  3. Floor Cleats, or "floor staples",

Floor Cleats are definitely NOT in my books recommended for the very dense wood species. They have a habit of bending under the wood, instead of going straight into the subfloor. Also because they grab a wider piece of the tongue they are more likely to crack the edge, (again with the brittle woods).

The "other side of the fence" here is that some installers do believe that because staples do grab more wood they will hold the floor down more efficiently. I'd agree with that in the softer woods where I'm not afraid it will break and leave loose pieces of the tongue in place to squeak... best to experiment.

CAUTION: some rental places will charge you extra if you damage the driver head, particularly if you didn't buy floor nails from them and they are suspicious that you jammed-in something that was incompatible.

Thus get the right nails! Flooring is expensive and it is not worth saving a few bucks to either end up with a floor that squeaks or having to pay a big floor nailer rental bill if you get it all jammed up.

Further Information:
Installing Hardwood Flooring

 

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