Face Nail Engineered Hardwood question

Hi,
I'm starting to lay down 3/8 inch engineered hardwood (3 inch wide plank) onto a 1 inch underlayment. Instructions say to face nail the first row of wood. Asking around, I'm told I should use 1 1/2 inch nails to face nail the first few rows of wood.
As I shop around for a finish nailer or a brad nailer, I see gauges of 16 and 18. What gauge should I use for the face nailing? Will an 1 1/2 inch 18 gauge nail be strong enough for my purpose?
Any help would be much appreciated.
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The 18 gauge brads have very little holding power. They are meant for tacking light trim or holding two pieces while the glue dries.
Get a 15 ga. or 16 ga. finish nailer. You can also use it to put the baseboards back when you are done with the floor. You did take them off didn't you? Ed
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I used real nails which I predrilled the holes first. I think the real nails are thicker which I felt meant stronger. Pounding the next few strips against flimsy nails did not sound like a formula for success.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (ksanny) wrote:

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I'll echo Jim's statement. A few years ago, I put down 3/4" solid oak strip flooring and, like you, had to face nail the first few courses. The nails I used at first were undersized and when the subsequent courses went down via the impact angle nailer (powered by my arm and a mallet), the first courses moved. I solved it in part by putting in a temporary strip of wood to take up the space between the floor and the wall that was left for expansion.
todd
(ksanny) wrote:

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I'm going to assume that this is T&G flooring, and that you are laying baseboard (or at least base shoe) over the top of that first row? If that's the case, the 18g nail is plenty adequate. It's mainly done to prevent lateral movement and hold the first row on your straight line, so the following rows stay even. The up/down movement where one might think 18g is too small is mitigated by placing the baseboard (or shoe) on top.If it's not T&G I guess you'd be face nailing everything, and I'd use at least 14g.
--Mike

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that's
is
not
No way an 18 gauge nail will hold for this application. I have a 18 gauge nailer, and they are just about useless! No holding power at all. It is fine for pining on some small trim boards or holding small pieces of wood togather while glue drys, but that is about all. I sometimes use it in glue ups to keep pieces lined up. I would question if a 15 or 16 gauge nailer would do in his application. I would predrill holes and use some real 1-1/2 finish nails. Greg
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I'm not going to argue, I'm just speaking from personal experience. He said he's laying 3/8" flooring, not 3/4". For the former, I find an 18g nail just fine for the 1st course, with a much less visible hole to fill. In his application he's likely using staples to blind nail the flooring not 2" cleat nails, as you would with 3/4" plank.
--Mike

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