A floor installer has just finished installing new unfinished hardwood
on the floor of our apartment. The floor has been sanded, but no
polyurethane has been put down yet.
The base floor is concrete.
Due to concerns about the total height of the floor, we used 5/8''
plywood as the subfloor instead of 3/4''. The flooring is 3/4''
The problem is that, on the boards that were face nailed, the nail
heads are right at the surface of the wood. So in the midst of our
nice cherry floors, silver nail heads gleam in the light. We're told
this is because the floor is not thick enough to do anything else.
We'd like to ask the installer "why didn't you mention this before?"
But that's not exactly constructive.
So the question is: what now? It's not the nail heads that bother
us, it's that they are silver and shiny. Can we color them? If so,
with what? It seems like it would be tough to punch the nails
deeper. But is that possible? How should it have been done? Screws
and plugs? If so, can the nails be pulled out at this point?
Thanks in advance!
On Jul 22, 9:34 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Don't worry about how it should have been done. Your concern now is
having the mistake corrected. Do not allow any finish work on the
floor until the nails are gone and the holes filled to your
satisfaction. Read over your contract, and if possible withhold any
further payment until it is done right. Contact a lawyer , BBB,
whoever you feel can assist if there is reluctance to make it right.
The installer must have used 1 1/2" nails and he could have as easily
used a shorter nail or screw or snipped off what he had with side
cutters given the small number needed. Sounds like an inexperienced
box store job to me.
ask the installer what he can do. It may very well be possible to punch them
down lower. & fill the holes. that would be my first choice. it also would
be pretty simple to color them, A black or red sharpie would do a nice job.
> The problem is that, on the boards that were face nailed, the nail
So it's just a few boards. Normally these are at the edge of a room of
Ask him if he can punch the heads below the surface and fill the holes. Fill
ONE hole and check what you think of the colour match. Be prepared to pay
for a few different pots of filler and consider mixing to get the right
Contacting a lawyer because a floor installer didn't set his nails?
Would it be a criminal case or a civil case?
Are you having the floor professionally sanded/finished? Call the
installer back to set the nails if you want--seems easier to me to
just buy a 2 dollar nail set at the hardware store and do it
yourself. Less frustrating. Then, your finisher should be able to
putty the holes. You tend to look at new work with a microscope.
Once your furniture is moved back in etc, are these nails even going
to be an issue?
On Jul 22, 10:34 pm, email@example.com wrote:
The nails are more of a problem than simply cosmetic. When you go to
refinish the floor the nails will tear up the sandpaper on the floor
machine. That's the reason that all nails, whether through the tongue
or face-nailed should be set as deep as the top of the tongue.
You could color the nail head, after doing some tests to make sure
that the floor finish doesn't cause the paint or whatever you use to
streak and discolor the floor. Coloring the nail heads only deals
with the cosmetic issue and not the long term one.
The nails will probably hit the concrete and bend which would cause
the nail set to slide off the head. If that happens it'll leave some
larger than necessary holes and the nails might not be set deep enough
anyway. A mangled head also won't look better than a uniform one.
Setting the nails would probably be difficult, but it's probably worth
Pulling the nails would leave some nasty scars. I don't see any
reason why you should have scars in a brand new floor. It is possible
to use a pull the nail, use a Forstner bit to drill a counterbore and
then use screws and plugs. That's a crap load of work and it would
probably be just as easy to just install new boards and sand them
down. Cherry wood darkens with age quite a bit, so if the putty looks
perfect when first installed, it will look too light down the road.
The thin plywood underlayment is the problem. If the floor installer
put it down, the whole thing is his puppy. If you had the plywood
installed by someone else, and the installer wasn't aware of the
problem, then it's yours. Such thin underlayment doesn't give much
leeway for fasteners. A solid wood floor will move a fair bit -
you're lucky that you have cherry which moves less than oak - and
shorter fasteners can work loose more easily.
All great responses, thank you everyone.
The floor installer put the subfloor down. We knew it was a little
thin, but we were told there was enough room to secure the boards
The most important thing I've learned is that the nails can not stay
the way they are due to problems when refinishing in the future.
Sounds like screw and plugs might be the way to go. We have extra
I'll report back on the outcome.
IF you choose to set the nailheads and putty them DO NOT putty the holes
until at least the first coat of sealer/finish has been applied. If
you fill nail holes on raw wood, the area surrounding every single one
of them will show up as light splotches.
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