Hardwood Installation Tools

Follow these tips about the tools needed for installing engineered and hardwood floors.
engineered flooring made of thin pieces of plywood

engineered flooring made of thin pieces of plywood

Figure A

Some engineered flooring is made of thin pieces of plywood. It comes pre-finished so all you have to do is install it. The pieces fit together in a tongue-and-groove pattern. Both the widths and the lengths of the flooring fit together via tongues and grooves.

Make sure to measure the room accurately. Use a miter saw to cut the flooring to fit, making sure to cut the end of the piece that lines up against a wall. (Tongue and groove is not needed on that piece.) Stagger the strips of flooring so that all the end seams don’t line up in a row.

When laying out the flooring, press a scrap piece of flooring against the edge of piece to be installed. Tap the scrap piece with a hammer. This will push the flooring tight against the next piece. Then use a pneumatic stapler to fasten the flooring. With this tool, staples are fired at an angle through the tongue and into the floor below. Put a couple of staples into one end of the piece, then remove the scrap piece of flooring and move on to the next section. Make sure to tie in near the joints.

True hardwood flooring is a little trickier to install. The wood is a lot thicker. Large L-shaped nails are used to hold hardwood flooring down. Compare the size of the hardwood flooring nails on the left to the engineered flooring staples on the right.

This hardwood flooring fits together with the tongue and groove method and needs to be tapped into place, just like the pre-finished flooring. But, a different tool is used to fasten it to the floor. This manual tool has to be hit with a mallet several times to drive in the large nails.

The tool releases when the nail is driven in. If some nails are left slightly proud, use a nail set and hammer to tap them the rest of the way down.

There is also a pneumatic version of the manual hardwood floor installing tool. This tool takes just one hit with a mallet to drive the nail into the wood. That makes the job much quicker and easier.

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