Step 7: Nail down the floor

Nailing down the floor
Photo: Kindra Clineff
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If any of the first few courses are too close to the wall to use a pneumatic staple gun, then toenail them with a hammer and 1 1/2-inch ring-shank nails. Don't facenail them.

Lay out the next five courses on the floor and fit the ends together. The goal of this process, called racking, is to stagger the end joints randomly across the floor's field.

Offset the end joints in adjacent courses at least 12 inches, and the joints of every third course at least an inch.

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    Tools List

    • straightedge guide
      Straightedge
    • hand saw
      Handsaw
      for trimming door casing
    • pneumatic brad nailer
      Pneumatic brad nailer
      for fastening the first courses of flooring
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
      for cutting flooring strips to length(alternative: backsaw with a miter box
    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw
      for trimming pieaces to fit around vents and other obstacles (alternative: coping saw)
    • pneumatic staple gun
      Pnuematic staple gun
      for securing flooring to subfloor (alternative: hammer stapler)
    • notched trowel
      Notched trowel
      for spreading adhesive for glue-down installations
    • plaster trowel
      Plaster trowel
      for spreading filler to level subfloor
    • combination square
      Combination square
    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • mallet
      Mallet
    • pull bar
      Pull bar
    • tapping block
      Plastic tapping block
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • tacker hammer
      Hammer tacker
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • drill
      Drill
    • air compressor
      Air compresor

    Shopping List

    1. ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORS

    2. MASKING TAPE

    for holding together glued-down boards until the adhesive sets



    3. PATCHING COMPOUND

    used to fill low spots in subfloor



    4. 15-POUND BUILDER'S FELT

    for use as an underlayment



    5. RING-SHANK NAILS OR PHILLIPS-HEAD SCREWS

    for securing subfloor, if necessary