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How to Install Hardwood Floor Panels With the Nail Down Method
There are various methods for installing hardwood floors. The nail technique for laying hard floors has become very popular. For those learning how to install hardwood flooring, there is no more simple or straightforward technique than the nail technique.
Unlike other methods that essentially require you to be an amateur carpenter or even a professional carpenter, the nail method of how to install hardwood flooring can be accomplished by anyone who can swing a hammer. Well, that’s not all it takes. You also need to be persistent, patient and willing to try new things if you want to learn how to install hardwood flooring. Also, you must be willing to read the safety instructions that come with the tools you will be using.
Tools You’ll Need as Your Learn How to Install Hardwood Floors
Broom and Dust Pan – You need to clean constantly while learning how to install hardwood flooring to ensure that no dirt, saw dust or other debris gets caught between the cracks or under the boards.
Carpenter’s Crayon – Use this to create guidelines on your subfloor. You will also need it to draw lines where you will cut your hardwood panels.
Claw Hammer – Any areas near obstacles or walls where you can’t get enough space to swing a rubber mallet will need to be reached with your claw hammer.
Utility Knife – Use this frequently for unforeseen activities as you learn how to install hardwood flooring. But the main purpose of this device will be to cut out any excess wood when it is necessary to make adjustments of only a millimeter or two.
Power Drill and 3/32″ Drill Bit – Use this to drill your pilot holes, which should be slightly smaller in length and circumference than your nails. This will prevent your floor panels from splitting when you put the nails in them.
Hardwood Floor Nails (2″) – These nails are important because they will be what will hold your floor in place.
Nailer – This can be either a hammer or a pneumatic nail gun. The pneumatic nail gun is obviously faster and easier, but you have to adjust it correctly so that the nails don’t go too far into the wood and destroy your hardwood panels.
Rubber Mallet – This is your chance to take out your frustrations while learning how to install hardwood flooring. Actually, you should gently hammer them to join the surfaces of the two panels perfectly. You don’t want to space them too far apart or your floor will have cracks. But if you hit them together too hard, you can damage them or push them so far together to bend them.
Circular Saw – At the end of each row of boards as you go into the corner, you will need to cut your floor panels to fit. All appliances in the room will also need to be cut around.
Preparing to Install Hardwood Floors
Although the nailing method for installing hardwood floor panels is quite simple, it still needs to be done carefully, as the hardwood floor must last for many years in whatever form you finish it.
All furniture and obstacles that can be removed from the room should be removed while you are installing your hardwood floor panels. This applies even if it requires manual disassembly and reassembly. For those fixtures built into the floor of the room, you’ll just need to panel around them. It’s not the easiest way, but you have to do what you have to do to install your hardwood floor. If you have thresholds, old hardwood flooring, baseboards, or carpet, remove them before you start as well.
If the surface under where you will be flooring is cement or any other loose material, use felt flooring to cover this surface. Then install a plywood subfloor over it. Once set, you should be ready to start installing the hardwood floor.
Steps on How to Install Hardwood Floors
1. Place your first floor panel in the corner of the room you’ve decided to start your floor in. The slots should be towards the wall and the tongues should be towards the room.
2. Start adding panels to make a row. The last panel doesn’t quite fit, so you’ll need to use that carpenter’s pencil to mark where to cut it. Use your circular saw to cut it. Be very careful not to cut it too small. The setting should be almost perfect.
3. Use your drill to make your little pilot holes. Place the nails to fasten your floor down. Although it will take longer, you’ll be thankful when you’re done if you used pilot holes when learning how to install hardwood flooring.
4. Take the other half of the panel that you cut off the row you just completed and use it as the starting point for the next row. This will seem strange at first, but when the floor is completed, the offset of the boards will look really nice. In addition, if all your boards are matched, the floor will have no bond strength.
5. Continue this as you go through the rest of the rows. Use the rubber mallet as needed to keep the boards and rows nice and snug. When the rubber mallet does not fit, use the claw hammer to tighten the boards. The last things you need are any giant cracks between your boards when you’ve finished your new hardwood floor.
6. The last panel is the hardest to lay, but your floor will look really terrible if you rush this step. You need to patiently measure, cut and fit your final panel.
7. Clean the floor you just laid.
Cleaning After You Install Hardwood Floors
In the process of how to install hardwood floors, cleaning is important and overlooked enough to warrant its own next section. But unlike other nail method guides on how to install hardwood floor panels, we want to make sure you understand this step.
Cleaning is important because there are small chips and saw dust everywhere after the typical hardwood floor installation. Use your broom and dustpan to pick up any debris on the floor. These particles, when walked on and rubbed by furniture, can make your brand new floor look like a scratched old floor pretty quickly.
Unless you’ve gone over the instructions on how to install hardwood floors and used glue on your hardwood panels, there’s no need to wet your floor before it’s had a chance to settle. This is because you don’t want it to swell before you’ve moved the furniture back and given it a few days to settle into its final arrangement.
Special Tips Attachment on How to Install Hardwood Floors
Don’t be too aggressive when laying your hardwood floor. It is very easy to ruin the surface of floor panels when they are free floating and you place them and hit them. Be especially careful when fixing a row that looks a little off.
If your rubber mallet is sturdy enough, it will be the best thing to put nails on because it won’t damage the surface of your floor panels as much.
Your nailed floor probably won’t be as beautiful as one installed by a professional. On the other hand, it will look pretty nice on its own. It’s probably the best looking job an inexperienced hardwood floor installer can do. And if you change your mind about the floor, it’s one of the easiest installation methods to undo.
But in addition to being easy to install and uninstall, nailed hardwood flooring has some practical advantages over other types. The main advantage to keep in mind is that a glued down floor is rigid; once a floor panel is dried in place, it’s there for good whether it’s comfortable to the next panel over or not. The loose floor is not attached to anything and can be crackly, bubbly and move. So enjoy your new well-fixed hardwood floor.
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