hardwood floor - installation questions

Hi,
I am thinking of installing pre-finished hardwood floor in my WHOLE house. In order to be able to afford that I want to install it myself. My concern is expansion and contraction of wood in different seasons, how do you prevent the wood from warping.
The book I read said all I need is to leave a gap the thinkness of the wood floor around the perimeter of the room, and that's all that is needed. Then just nail one piece of wood after another, without leaving gap between the pieces, until the whole room is done.
My question being : how can a space left at the margin of the room prevent warping due to temperature and humidity change. how come you don't need a slight gap here and there between the pieces ? If every single piece of wood is being nailed to the subfloor, it won't be able to expand and contract much anyway (due to the four of five nails holding it in place), what is the point of leaving gaps near the baseboards ?
Thanks in advance for someone who can explain this to me.
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Ever been inside a gymnasium? No gaps are needed anywhere, ever, never.
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On 11 Nov 2003 15:29:13 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (JW) wrote:

What you probably want is a "floating floor." The edges are glued to each section--nothing attached to the substrate and no nails are used. Wood changes across the grain much more than with the grain. If the wood sections have plywood under them, then they will be essentially stable. Nails will tend to give a little, that's why nails are often used in making blanket chests where there is a cross-grain situation.
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end grain is what will expand and contract. if the board is tight to the wall when it expands it will warp the middle from pressure against the walls. 3/8" gap on all ends is more than sufficient.
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Chief wrote:

until you need to have a chip repaired.
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