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  • Hardwood flooring techniques and suggestions

    Folks,

    I am remodeling my house and removing carpet and linoleum and in its place, putting down 3 1/2 wide x 3/4 thick pre-finished hardwood (solid oak) flooring.

    I researched the internet and have some general knowledge and techniques but wanted to open it to the forum because you cant get too much info.

    First - I have a P.C. staple gun, 1/4" wide but all the guns I see are designed to sit on the floor at the desired (45 ??) angle and assumably drive the staple at the top of the tongue. I have been told by HD a 1 1/2 to 2 inch staple is desirable and BTW, the subflooring is plywood. I obviously wish to use my current P. C. stapler instead of buying a new hardwood flooring stapler. I could find no foot that could be added to my stapler to convert it to a floor nailer.

    Second - I realize the necessity of starting some of the flooring off with screws and plugging the screw holes due to closeness of stapler to walls and other obstructions. I plan to go by my local fastener supply store and look at options in screws. Has anyone simply used something like a finish nailer to do this which would be far less work hiding the nails as opposed to the screws.

    Third - I can also see an advantage to using a spline to reverse directions on laying the floor, think this could be used in many instances but dont see this published as a mainstream method. Does it have its drawbacks?

    Fourth - We are prepping the floor now, removing linoleum and carpet and will reasonably clean nails that appear too high. I dont see the necessity of having a totally smooth floor as far as nail heads, just remove the 1/16 or greater height ones (subjective). I do have at least two areas I need to work on. Where the plywood joints are nailed to the 2x below the subflooring, they missed a couple of places and wear and tear over time has a depression where one edge of the plywood has been pressed down as no support is directly under it, just beside it. I went under the house and tried to "scab" a 2 x but due to limited access, it was not very effective. I bought some Bondo and fiberglass and plan to "level" and strengthen this area. I believe the 3/4 thick hardwood will then effectively span this problem. I will then put down rosin paper and layout guidelines on this.

    So, any suggestions or guidance will be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Jerry
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

  • #2
    Jerry--A brief answer to your questions:
    1. Rent a nailer--preferably the one you drive with a big rubber mallet(It will come with the nailer) This will do a better job because in nails at the proper angle and also drives the hardwood tight together as you nail. Nail on the joist lines.
    2. Yes you can use a power nailer for the back edge of your first row. Try to keep you nails where the base or shoe will cover.
    3. Yes, you can use a spline to reverse direction.
    4. Yes, the hardwood will span the low spots--be sure to nail on the joist.
    HTH, Jim

    Comment


    • #3
      I WOULD ECHO THE PREVIOUS COMMENT REGARDING THE FLOORING NAILER. IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO PUT DOWN THE TYPE OF FLOOR YOU ARE DESCRIBING.
      IF YOU\'RE WORKING HARD, YOU\'RE DOING IT WRONG

      Comment


      • #4
        I also agree with the flooring nailer. I just did 1400 sq ft and bought a PC FCN200. When I finsihed I sold it on ebay for $30 more than I paid for it.

        So look for a god deal on a nailer, use it and then sell it. even if you lose a few dollars you will pay less than renting one. You also can work at your own pace and sell it when you are done.

        Scott

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the input guys, and if anyone else has further advice I will appreciate that.

          One followup question, regarding the use of the pneumatic floor nailer. The guy at HD may or may not know what he is talking about but when I mentioned the very point of being able to "drive" the boards closer together then the nailer firing the staple in at the best time, he said you dont hit the nailer that hard. According to him, he has to caution folks who rent his nailers to not do that as the housing is aluminum. I thought about this later, and that is if all that is needed is a hammer heavy enough to "fire" the pneumatic trigger, they would not have to make one a big and heavy as what he was renting and I also realize he is not as interested in me getting a good looking floor as he is in not having to replace a flooring nailer that has been beat to death.

          Any followup comments on his comments?
          It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

          Comment


          • #6
            Always start from the most difficult left hand corner of the room and work out from there.

            Comment


            • #7
              OK---a few points----first, they should be including the hammer with the nailer when you rent it. But, since I also used the hammer to initially drive pieces together, you're better off with one HD sells that has a black and a white rubber head----the white head won't leave scuff marks on the flooring. And on the hailer, periodically put a couple of layers of blue masking tape covering the sole plate-----no sense in taking chances on pre-finished floors.

              As to prep----I would tell you to carefully listen for any squeeks as you walk on the subfloor----now is the time to fix them. And, you will need to inch your way around the floor to drive down nail heads and make sure you got all the carpet pad staples out.-----Keep your vacuum handy----clean the floor before you put down the rosin paper, and periodically vacuum the paper as you go---it just makes life a bit easier.

              As to your starting course----actually this is one of the longest jobs if you do it right. Worry about what's going to show when you finish. if you have a long wall with little furniture----line up on that (remember---you lay the flooring perpendicular to the joists in almost all cases).

              As to the starting course---it totally depends on your room layout. However if you have obstructions like alcoves, entryways, fireplace hearths, etc., it's better to start a few feet from your objective wall. Since the long pieces of flooring tend to bow a bit, I screwed down an 8 foot length of plywood (with a good straight edge). Used a chalk line to mark my rosin paper and would nail down three course of planks going in one direction all along the chalk line. Then removed the plywood and either continue in the same direction or reverse it with the splines you mentioned----I had a red oak board about 6 foot long----planned it down to the width of the spline and then just cut them on either the band saw or table saw----you may ask at the store, however, if they sell the splining ready-made. Anyway, no need for screws and plugs in this method----you'll just face nail the last couple of planks as you approach the wall.
              Dave

              Comment


              • #8
                I put down a laminate so it may not apply but in floor prep I have a real "sweaky" floor so I went around adn screwed it down whereever ther was a noise... I had my family help by standing in the area while I put down LOTS of screws in some sections... NO regrets!

                I also put down a 1/4 inch pad to deaden the sound since I had a bedroom underneath... It increased the fllor height slighly but it has made a tremendous difference in the noise factor...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Steelewoodworker,

                  The nailer is not designed to drive the boards closer together before driving the nail! Use the mallet rubber face to hit the nailer to drive the nail and use the metal face and a tapping block to drive boards closer together. If you hit the nailer on the base to drive boards together it destroys the base and costs you $75 minimum to replace the shoe.

                  As a recommendation, I would use a finish gun (step the air up to 90-100 psi)on the first two courses because the hardwood nailer will not be able to do them. First, face-nail the first course along the wall where it will be covered by a baseboard or quarter round. Then, nail through the tongue with the finsih nailer. Set and tap the second course into place and finish nail into the tongue. Then set the third course and nail with hardwood nailer (set at 90 psi)that you rent from your local Home Depot. You should be able to continue this way until you get to the other side of the room. When you can't use the hardwood nailer any more. Use the finish gun in the tongue and then face-nail the last course along the wall where it will be covered by baseboard or quarter round. If you don't use the finish gun, you will need to pre-drill all nail holes and hand-set finish nails by hand. When the floor is finished, you shouldn't be able to see any nail holes at all.

                  Hope this help!

                  Bob

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    BobR: "The nailer is not designed to drive the boards closer together before driving the nail! Use the mallet rubber face to hit the nailer to drive the nail and use the metal face and a tapping block to drive boards closer together. If you hit the nailer on the base to drive boards together it destroys the base and costs you $75 minimum to replace the shoe."
                    I agree with you, but the nailer I was refering to is a manual nailer, not a Pneumatic one. The force of the blow to drive the nail also forces the flooring tight. I agree, the flooring should be driven together before you nail. Jim

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for all the advice folks, we are on our way to becoming hardwood floor "pros" .

                      Jerry
                      It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

                      Comment

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