what tools to use to install hardwoods

Discussion in 'Hardwood and Laminates Q&A' started by lakebuilder, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. lakebuilder

    lakebuilder Charter Member

    I'm ready to start installing 1750 sq ft of 3/4 x 2 1/4 prefinished hardwood floor. Rather than rent a nailer I thought I may as well buy one and then I can do the project at my own pace. Any recomendations as to what brand to buy or what brand to avoid? Also would a nailer or stapler both do an equally good job? One last question, would I need the plastic shoes for the nailer being the floor is prefinished? thanks.
  2. Danny Ferguson

    Danny Ferguson Abbey Carpet & Floor Charter Member

    I've heard alot of good things about Senco. You can pick up a manual hammer type for around $250. Air assited might be double the price. I would stay with a cleat rather than a staple.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Though when I started out, I started with a Powernail model 45, I now use a pneumatic gun. Staples or cleats are like Ford or Chevy, each has its fans, neither will do you wrong. I will say that if I'm installing an exotic, I've found the cleats to be less likely to cause splitting of the tongues. Buy a new gun, or a used one on Ebay, then sell it when you are done. Beats renting tools. If you go with the air, a 1 1/2 horse twin tank will do fine. I use a Senco, but that new Porter Cable with the big wheels and pop up handle, is calling my name. Yes, I would upgrade just to avoid having to pack that heavy compressor any more.
    A good finish nailer makes starting and finishing rows a simple task, but predrilling and hand nailing will work, just a bit more time consuming.I cut the head off a finish nail, and use it as a drill bit. Perfect size hole, and you'll never break a bit.:D
    Unless your going to get really creative, a table saw will handle most tasks; I have an 8 1/2 and a 10 inch, but use 40t, 7 1/4 " blades for cutting 3/4" stuff, on both. Blades are plentiful and cheap.

    I'm sure some can add to this, but I will also point out, that acclimating your wood flooring, on site, until it is within standards, will go a long way in assuring your job will look as good one year from now, as it does at the time you finish installing it. Strip flooring should be within 4% of the sub floor readings.
  4. Nick Arrera

    Nick Arrera Traitor

    You can get a decent chop saw for $100.00 . finish nailer for 1/4 round .
  5. lesakflooring

    lesakflooring Pro Member

    Ive seen some crews that use just circular saw and manual nailers. I work smarter not harder.
    tool list

    Bostich M III stapler for oaks and other softer woods.
    Cleats for the hard stuff maple, brazilian cherry ect.
    They come with nylon foot just keep it clean if you get grit embedded in it it will scratch the floor everytime you drive a fastener.
    Min 1 hp air comp. OIL OIL OIL (oilless wont last)DeWalts work just fine for me.
    15 ga finish for top nail on raw wood.
    18 ga or 22 ga pin for pre finish.
    Undercut saw for door jambs and fireplace hearths (sometimes)
    10" table saw I use a 7 1/4" blade on mine, more torque won't bog down saw when doing long rips.
    Jig saw for cutting around pipes vents other radius cuts.
    BIG screw driver or wood chisel for last few rows, cheap way. Wall jack, right way but expensive, $200+
    10" miter saw a good one and set it up correctly. make sure a 90 degree cut is 90 degrees and a 45 is a 45 not 45 1/2 or 44.
    Your work should rival that of a cabinet maker.
  6. c park

    c park Guest

    Flooring is among the most important element in the construction or renovation of your home or office. Some property owners do not settle on any other flooring material except of hardwood, because of its beauty and durability. But these consumers seek to balance cost versus return when looking to install hardwood floors. Here is a quick look at some of the benefits of installing hardwood floors.
  7. Al Gladden

    Al Gladden stretcherman Charter Member

    i would recommend staples over cleats.
  8. steve h

    steve h Pro Member

    This is old school, but I prefer 15 pound fell like I said that's old-school, but I find that it alleviates the concern about the moisture difference between subfloor and the floor is being installed. As for tools to be used that subjects been well covered. There is no reason for me to inject my personal feelings between saw, nail guns, air compressors.

  9. Chris Mha

    Chris Mha Charter Member Senior Member

    Steve, 15-pound felt does not alleviate the concern about moisture between the subfloor and the flooring. It is not a moisture barrier. Lesak, top of your list should be a good moisture meter. I also use a 7 1/4 ich blade in my 10 inch table saw. I have no need to extend that blade 3" above the table. Hell of a lot cheaper and they last just as log.
  10. Floorguy

    Floorguy The Living Dead Charter Member Senior Member

    For crisp cuts where I need a perfect edge, I always set my 10" blade up as far as it will go, so the teeth almost come straight down into the wood. Way less chipping, even with a duller blade.
  11. cproader

    cproader All over T's last nerve Senior Member

    Yep, that's why I gotta have a 10" too. :D
  12. lesakflooring

    lesakflooring Pro Member

    Yup Chris you are correct. I forgot all about checkin moisture, kinda left that in the CAN I install wood at this time catagory, Not the installation itself. Sorry to have missed that, it is the most important tool for hardwood.
  13. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    For safety sake, there is no subsistute for a sharp blade. With a sharp blade there is no need for any more than 3 teeth to be above the work piece.

  14. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    Looking at floors around here, chain saw, sledge hammer, roofing nails, axe
  15. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

  16. bonifp

    bonifp Member

    I'm wondering why a different gauge nailer would be used for raw vs. prefinished. Do the larger nails have more of a chance to crack the finsh?
    I just bought a 15 gauge to install brazilian walnut. I'm glad I have the 15 gauge vs. 18 or 22, since I'll probbaly need the power to get thorugh that hard stuff. Hope it's ok.
  17. MSC

    MSC Pro Member

    bigger nail ---> bigger nail hole ------> bigger eye sore on prefinished flooring
  18. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    :welcome: aboard MSC. Hope you enjoy the site. Word of warning "T" will probably get after you for posting to a thread more than 30 days old with no activity. They don't call him Grump for nothing.

  19. MSC

    MSC Pro Member

    Thanks for the welcome and for the advice ( or am I doing it again by posting here?)
  20. Jim Decker

    Jim Decker Pro Member

    The most important tool a hardwood installer needs is a moisture meter without being to accurately assess the moisture content of the subfloor and wood it is a turkey shoot.

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