How to Use a Floor Nailer in 7 Easy Steps

You should have a floor nailer whenever you planned to install a hardwood floor in your home. Because without a floor nailer you can’t complete the process.

But yet it is not easier to use it without knowing how to use a floor nailer.

After all, it is a hardware tool that needs some basic instructions and steps before using it.

Now the question is why do you need a floor nailer?

A flooring nailer is a nailing tool that allows you to insert the nails while installing the hardwood floor in your home or anywhere else. You can insert nails even at 45 degrees angle using it.

But it is still not enough to know about the usage of a floor nailer, you also should know about the other hardwood flooring installations steps to completing the process.

So, the first three steps are related to the hardwood flooring installation, and the other four steps are directly dealing with how to use a floor nailer.

How to Use a Floor Nailer?

Before we start, you should know about the other tools that you must need with a floor nailer to use it. If you don’t you won’t complete the nailing process at all.

There are four extra tools you should have:

  • Nails
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Measuring tape to measure the floor thickness
  • Air compressor

Let’s begin with how to use a floor nailer!

Step 1- Determining the Flooring Direction

What is the flooring direction? How does it will look at the end? All these questions come to mind when you start installing a hardwood floor in your home.

Aligning the planks parallel to the longest wall is the best and most common way while installing hardwood flooring. This is so because it technically provides the best look at the end.

You can still choose any other direction, you liked the most. And you think it looks better than the other one.

How to Use a Floor Nailer

Step 2- Place a Vapor Barrier

If you want to achieve professional results it is important to place a vapor barrier on the side of the walls. This will help and fight against moisture in the winter and fight against heat in the summer.

Often the vapor barrier is composed of a thin film such as polyethylene that protects the wall and the floor from water vapor diffusion.

So, to get better and long-lasting results from hardwood flooring you have to place it before starting the installation.

Step 3- Establish a Perimeter

Establishing a baseline and perimeter is an important and crucial step to ensure that your floor surface looks straight and stable. You should leave a gap around the perimeter of your room.

If you don’t leave this gap, your flooring will buckle because it does not have a capacity contract to expand.

Leave a 1/2 inch gap when installing flooring that is solid wood throughout.

And for an engineered hardwood floor installation you should leave a gap of 1/4 inch.

Step 4- Selecting the correct size of adapter plate

Measuring the thickness of your hardwood floor is the very first step you have to do. And here you need measuring tape for an accurate measure.

Remember, you can’t do it using a rough estimate because you need to select an accurate size of the adapter plate.

Using rough estimates can affect your hardwood flooring installation badly and change the final look of the floor.

So, avoid rough estimates and always use the measuring tools to maintain accuracy.

The other reason for measuring a hardwood floor thickness is when you bought hardwood floorings they sold you in square feet of your home.

So, to accurately install the hardwood flooring, you need to multiply your all rooms lengths to their width.

When you are done with measuring you have to use the same measurements to selecting the accurate adapter size and nails in the floor nailer.

After that, attach the adapter plate with the nailer and load the appropriate size nails in the nailer magazine.

You are done with the first step!

Step 5- Connecting air compressor with the Nailer

You need an air compressor with an accurate size that should produce adequate air volume and also suitable air pressure for the nailer.

There are multiple types of air compressors available in the market but you have to choose according to your need.

An ideal air compressor for a nailer should have a 90 psi setting for a nailer gun, 2 horsepower electric supply, and 6-gallon tank capacity.

The weight of the air compressor should be less than 80 pounds so it will be easy to carry and lift while nailing a hardwood floor.

Before connecting the floor nailer to the air compressor you have to use compression fittings on the air hose and check that connections settings are tightly secured or not.

Step 6- Setting the Air Pressure

When it comes to setting an air pressure on the air compressor you need to read the instructions manual given with the nailer.

The psi (pound per square inches) could be different for every air compressor according to their stats.

But you need to select an accurate psi that should be suitable to use with your air compressor. So, adjust the pressure gauge wisely in this step.

Step 7- Start using the Floor Nailer

To insert the nails accurately in the flooring you need to strike the actuator with a rubber mallet. But first, you need to place the adapter plate to the head side of the floor.

You can easily insert the nails even at 45 degrees angle without damaging the floor.

Wrap up on How to use a Floor Nailer

I hope you got the solution to your query about how to use a floor nailer for hardwood flooring. And I am pretty sure now you are able to use a floor nailer by yourself without damaging your floor.

At the last, the thing you need to do is follow the given steps in the given sequence and use the tools as well. Don’t believe in rough estimations.


Is it better to use a nail gun to install a hardwood floor?

Nail guns are quick and automated that saves your time. But still, it is not a recommended way because it varies to nail size and configuration. So, it is not a suitable option. Using a floor nailer always would be better than a nail gun.

Can I use a nail gun or floor nailer on a laminate floor?

There is no need for a floor nailer or nail gun while installing laminate flooring. To install laminate flooring you only need a hammer or a rubber mallet from tools.

What size of nails should I use for hardwood floor nailing?

The basic and ideal rule of using the nails for hardwood floor nailing is 1-1/2 inch nails for a floor with 1/2 inches thickness and 1-3/4 inch nails used for a floor with 3/4 thickness. It may vary according to the flooring manufacturer’s recommendations.

How do I choose a floor nailer?

The type of floor nailer is depended on the type of your floor. As you can choose a manual floor nailer for hardwood floor nailing because they are ideal for nailing a large area and the floorings with more thickness.

Is it necessary to clean the floor surface before installing hardwood flooring?

Yes, you should clean the surface from the dust, dirt, and grime before installing a hardwood floor because if you don’t it remains under the hardwood floor surface and can damage from the inner side. To clean the surface you can use a steam mop or microfiber mop.

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6 thoughts on “How to Use a Floor Nailer in 7 Easy Steps”

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