how to keep hardwood floor nails from coming up

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I have oak floors. Nail heads come up, I push them down, and they come up again. I won't even ask why they come up, but just how do I keep them from doing it.
Pull them and put in larger nails (thicker, longer?)? Some sort of glue? Move?
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Replace them. Pull a few (you can use a shim to prevent the pliers or claw-hammer from marring the floor). Take them to a good hardware store. They can sell you replacements.
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You have face-nailed oak floors? Odd. Replace the nails that are coming up with spiral-shank nails. That should keep them from coming out again.
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wrote:

floors much; how is it normally done?
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Toller wrote:

Blind nailed if tongue and groove material or screwed and plugged if square edged material. Face nailing is pretty unusual.
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Its square edged and face nailed. The house is about 25 years old, and while it is not much by today's standards, when it was built it was considered to be a premium house. Guess they cut a few corners.
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Toller wrote:

There's nothing that can be done to make those nails bite if they're not biting now. Face nailing puts the fastener perpendicular to the direction of wood movement. Wood floors move - a lot - and the installation has to be designed to accommodate that movement. Your installation can't. As the wood expands and contracts with the changes of season and humidity, the nails essentially sway back and forth and enlarge the holes in the subfloor, decreasing the holding power of the nails. The seasonal changes also cause the wood flooring to expand and contract vertically, so the nail pops the same way a drywall nail would.
I really am at a loss as to what could be done to fix it short of pulling all of the nails and using counterbored screws and plugs. http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/flooring/hardwood/plugs/sanded.htm
That's a hell of a lot of work and unless there's not a lot of flooring with the problem or it's really expensive flooring it's probably not worth the time to try and salvage the bad installation. Looking on the bright side, you could reclaim the yanked planks for other woodworking projects.
R
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Depends. Face-nailing plank floor isn't WRONG, it's just way more common on older pine floors than modern oak ones. (using box nails to do it, however, *IS* wrong.)
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Goedjn wrote:

Actually, face nailing is wrong. It's never a good idea. The only time it is done is when someone doesn't have T&G flooring available - either because they got a "deal" on square edged board or don't understand how a wood floor moves - or because they don't understand the need for more expensive and slower-to-install screws. The "wrongness" of face nailing can be somewhat offset by using cut nails or, better yet, deformed shank nails such as ring shanks and the like. Cut nails sever the wood fibers and provide better holding power. And obviously screws are better than nails - as long as you use the right sort of screws.
The holding power of a nail is based on a bunch of factors - type of nail, coatings, shank size, type of wood and depth of embedment. For any given nail and framing situation, the depth of embedment is of primary importance. A face nail's maximum embedment is the thickness of the subfloor (joists only occupy ~15% of the floor). A nail that's driven at a 45 degree angle, like the typical nail in a T&G installation, has an embedment 1.4 times greater than the thickness of the subfloor. Which means it will have 40% more holding power. And that's not even taking into account the difference in force the floor exerts on an angled nail as opposed to a face nail.
R
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wrote:

Old-style plank floors are usually laid over diagonal 2x dimension lumber subfloors. Given that the ones in my grandmother's house have lasted for 200 years or so, I gotta conclude that the technique works. I'll admit that it probably won't work as well over pressboard, but those should have less movement in the first place. It's also not the look that most people think of when they hear "oak floors".
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replying to Toller, Joan wrote:

I have the same problem, did you ever get an answer?
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Joan wrote:

Are they just planks not T&G type? I'd replace nails with screws counter sunk and cover the screw head with wood filler. Or pull the nail all the way out, dip it in epoxy and renail it down, wipe clean epoxy residue B4 it sets.
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| > I have oak floors. Nail heads come up, I push them down, and they come up | > again. | > I won't even ask why they come up
Probably expansion and contraction. Do you perhaps have temperture extremes in the area? No central heat, or an uninsulated area below the floor?
I've never seen it occur as a major problem, but sometimes in old houses, nails need to be tapped down occasionally.
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replying to Toller, Joan wrote:

Brand new house, repurposed old boards, radiant heat below, nervous about longer nails....right now I simply have a community hammer and everyone knows what to do with it and nobody is allowed to go barefoot! Will try a little glue in the hole. Thanks
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Joan wrote:

Huh?! brand new house? Building inspector did not mind about the way loor boards are fastened? Big safety hazard. Hope you don't have small kids in the house. Only Oak plank floor was in my first house built in 1970. T&G planks nailed with impact hammer one by one, so no nails are exposed. Even my poor cabin built in 1997 has yellow pine floor with T&G planks. Looks like they installed the floor like building a fence?, LOL!
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On 6/26/2014 2:44 PM, Joan wrote:

The old-fashioned trick I've read about is to drive nails at an angle; usually two on the end of a board are driven at slightly different angles. Good if you know where the radiant heat is.
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On Thu, 26 Jun 2014 13:44:02 +0000, Joan

"almost exclusively) tounge and groof - with the nails, cleats, or staples totally hidden by the next board.
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On Thu, 26 Jun 2014 10:03:30 -0400, "Mayayana"

with nails loosening it is almost always because something is "giving". Insufficient support in the sub-structure the floors are fastened to. If nothing moves, nails won't pop.
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On Thu, 26 Jun 2014 18:44:01 +0000, Joan

problem. Doesn't matter what you do with those face nails - they WILL come out. Contersink screws and plug with glued in plugs, sanded smooth will give you a fighting chance - depending how the radiant heating is implemented.
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On Thu, 26 Jun 2014 18:44:01 +0000, Joan

For sure. Some of them might not come up, but renailing the ones that do is not going to help them***. They will probably come up again and if they've come up twice, then for sure, they'll keep coming up.
What kind of nails are you using?

Why nervous about longer nails? What's wrong with longer nails? Can you look to see how close to the radiant heat the current nails are. You may need one person upstairs and the other downstairs.
Are you sure these nails are long enough to reach wood underneath? Or something underneath? What are they nailed into and are you sure the nails reach?

Some of the other ideas -- countersunk screws with wood plugs for example -- are probably better than this, but if you are sure your nails are reaching wood underneath, and not just a quarter inch in. More like 3/4", then I might.
***I might pull out every nail that comes out at all and renail it at an angle, along with another nail very close by at the opposite angle. Using a nail set to put the heads below the surface of the wood.
By being at opposite angles, when the wood pushes up, it can't go up, because one nail insists it to goes up and to the right, and the other insists it goes up and to the left (for example) . If the wood stays down, it's not able to push the nails up. If one can come up on its own anyhow, I think is much less likely.
And don't use smooth nails. use nails with ridges that keep them from coming back up, or spiral nails (I forget what they are called, but they're like square nails that were twisted.) Depending on how tightly they fit into the holes that are already there, and depending on what the wood is like now -- maybe it's so old that it doesn't grip well, even spiral nails or nails with ridges == they may not come up like your current nails do. Put in two for each nail there now, at opposing angles.
They make these nails in large size, for decks, and in small size for fence pickets. You can probably get them in medium too. Try construction supply, and if not that online. Talk to others in the trade about how likely these two nails and/or opposing angles are to work
It's not just about not walking barefoot. Someone's going to trip on something and his or her face will land on a nail head, her cheek, lips,
Or a kid will be playing and roll over or fall and hit the nail head, with her face, maybe her eye?
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