How to Use a Finish Nailer to Nail Down Hardwood Floor

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How to Use a Finish Nailer to Nail Down Hardwood Floor

Hardwood floors that are installed in a home come in two types. One type is called a floating floor; it is not secured with nails. The other type is secured to the subfloor using staples or nails. Nails that are used to secure the wood boards to the subfloor require using a hammer or a finish nailer. Best finish nailer can be purchased or rented.

Materials Required

  • Hammer
  • Finish nails
  • Chalk line
  • Spacers
  • Power drill
  • Finish nailer
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife


Virtually all hammers are similar in construction. This simple tool consists of a handle and head, and depending on the type of handle, one or more wedges to keep the head secured. Wood handles typically have three wedges: one wood and two metals. The wood wedge spreads the sides of the tenon to grip the head, and the metal wedges help distribute the pressure evenly.

Finish Nails

Use of finish nails are to attach trim and molding to a house. The reason for using these types of nails are for the fact that they can be sunk into the trim or molding. This leaves a hole to be filled in with putty to make the trim or molding smooth. A finish nail is small and had small heads. They range in size from 1 to 4 inches.

Chalk line

A chalk line is a tool for marking long, straight lines on relatively flat surfaces, much farther than is practical by hand or with a straightedge. Chalk line draws straight lines by the action of a taut nylon or similar string that has been previously coated with a loose dye, usually chalk. The string is then laid across the surface to be marked and pulled tight. And next, the string is then plucked or snapped sharply.

Power Drill

A power drill is one of the most versatile and commonly used power tools. This versatile tool can be used to drill holes, tighten bolts and screws, strip paint, polish or sand, among other things.


  1. Make a mark along the floor half an inch from the wall using a chalk line. The half inch is to allow for the expansion of the wood. Align the first row along the chalk line, and use a hammer and nails to secure the boards to the sub floor. The finish nailer will be too big to use until at least two rows have been installed.
  2. Open the magazine cover of the finish nailer and place strips of finish nails in a row along the length of the magazine. Make sure the heads of the nails, not the tips, are facing the handle of the nailer.
  3. Close the magazine cover when you have finished loading nails into the magazine.
  4. Set the finish nailer so that is sits flush against the tongue edge of the board.
  5. Press or strike the trigger on the finish nailer to drive the nail diagonally through the base of the tongue on the board.
  6. Place nails along the row about every 10 to 12 inches. Make sure you place at least two nails in each board of the hardwood flooring.
  7. Repeat the previous three steps until you have finished installing the floor.
  8. Place additional strips of nails into the finish nailer as it runs out. You may need to install the last row of boards by hand with a hammer and nails if the remaining space does not permit full functioning of the finish nailer.

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