Laying Nailed Tongue-and-Groove Flooring
If you plan to cover a large floor area with strip flooring, the job will be much faster, and easier on the knees and hands, if you use a pneumatic flooring nailer, which is available for rent at most home improvement stores. When selecting a floor nailer, review the safety features.
Remove baseboard, loosening it with a pry bar before pulling it from the wall. Sweep away debris. Apply self-leveling compound if required (Image 1).
Lay vapor barrier, with an overlap of 6 inches up the wall. Fold it in the corners to allow it to sit flush on the floor (Image 2).
Attach furring strips around the room with 4-in (100-mm) concrete screws. Fix furring strips every 16 in (400 mm) at a right angle to the new boards (Image 3).
If furring strips do not lie level, use shims or offcuts to pack out any indents and level the furring strips (Image 4).
Start laying boards, and attach with toe nailing into the furring strips. This is done by securing a nail at a 45-degree angle into the tongue (Image 5).
Drive the nail through the board and into the furring strip, so the head is just beneath the board’s surface.
Continue laying boards. Once the floor is complete, apply any finish (e.g., wax or varnish) that may be required. Trim off the membrane overlap with a utility knife. Replace the baseboard to cover the expansion gap.